The newly born Mini is set to expand into a family of models, including a cabriolet, an estate and even a pick-up. BMW, which retained ownership of the brand in the wake of the Rover crisis, is giving visitors to the Paris Motor Show a preview of how the new models could look by showing a computer-generated film of each of them.
The German firm is known to be working on expanding the Mini into a brand all of its own, rather than being merely a stand-alone model. Bosses are said to be keeping a close eye on public reaction to the three variants. Of the trio, it's the cabrio that's likely to make production first. The structure of the new Mini is said to be far stiffer than that of any other small car, ensuring it's ideal as a base for a convertible to challenge roadsters such as the Mazda MX-5 and Toyota's MR2.
Unlike the short-lived drop-top version of the last Mini, however, the new cabrio features a neat hood cover which conceals the folded roof. The interior is identical to the standard car's, except for slightly smaller rear seats to accommodate the hood mechanism.
Company chiefs are also keen to put the estate model – dubbed the Clubman – into production. Designed to offer greater practicality than the hatch, the wheelbase has been lengthened to increase interior accommodation. This same longer chassis would be used as a base for the pick-up variant, which is designed for leisure use rather than as an everyday workhorse. With the new Mini going on sale in the US, a pick-up version could be a top seller.
Written By: Autoexpress
Article Date: Oct 06, 2000