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Mini: the next generation is set to debut in 2014

The next generation of Mini will arrive in 2014, but it already promises improved handling, target performance and high construction quality, thanks to the adoption of BMW UKL1 front-wheel drive architecture. It seems that the same platform will also be used to build future BMW front-wheel drive cars, in order to increase economies of scale. Up to 23 different models of BMW and Mini will be based on the UKL1, which will guarantee alone sales figures of about 980,000 cars a year by 2020.

Besides the whole current range, the new platform will underpin an additional three new Mini models, including a mini-MPV and a hatchback that will be marketed in Asia. These cars have been influenced by the stylistic language of the Rocketman concept. Among the new 2014 Minis, the eagerly expected is a unique 5-door hatchback that features foreshortened rear doors, designed to facilitate children access to the car.

The new UKL1 platform, provided with greater flexibility in terms of architecture, will enable Mini to build both a Coupé and a Roadster with dimensions and proportions similar to the Mazda MX-5. The Countryman might become a SUV, while the Clubman is expected to grow in length and width to resemble more a sports estate, dropping the current (uncomfortable) door layout.

The entire Mini line-up will be powered - with the exception of high-performance versions - by a BMW 1-Series sourced 3-cylinder 1.5-litre engine, available in petrol and diesel and producing various power outputs. The transmission will be a 6-speed manual gearbox or a high efficiency 8-speed automatic. The popular four-wheel drive variants will also be offered.

Still uncertain the arrival of a Mini hybrid, which although interesting and potentially attractive for the U.S. market, may have a production price too high to be approved by the BMW Group management. The launch of these new models could increase current sales figures from 150,000 to 300,000 units a year, to meet these needs Mini's Oxford manufacturing plant will soon be expanded with a new production line.

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