Friday, May 27, 2011

A Perfect Mini

If anyone at BMW cares to hear my opinion (and I doubt they do), here's an addition I'd love to see in the Mini line-up.

Some stupid faux sport utility like the Countryman
Some silly and less useful coupe
Something even smaller like the Rocketman concept

Rather, something along the lines of the BMW 1600/2002.  Or the Lotus/Ford Cortina.  Or the Datsun 510.  Or the Alfa Romeo Giulia.  In short, a Mini Cooper with a trunk!  In two or four doors, too.

Here's what I'd like:
A skosh more wheelbase/legroom like the Clubman, but no more than those two inches or so
Equipment levels consistent with the Cooper
Regular, supple tires, rather than wooden run-flats
A weight target 2500 lbs for the base model
The chassis rigidity and suspension tuning of the Cooper
The general shape of the Cooper greenhouse
Some interesting lines to the trunk and rear fenders
The four from the R56, in N/A and turbocharged guises (I hear they're going to a triple for the next mini, which kind of sucks, IMO)
Base and S forms offered

Nothing original about taking a hatch and adding a trunk/boot to it, of course -- Jetta, anyone? (Actually the Jetta GLI should be on the list above, too.)  But the Mini doesn't have to be as practical as the VW, because the line-up is about character.

My main point, here, is that some of us need our car to be useful, but don't want or need it to be large or dull.  I'm sure car companies tire of hearing this, but I'd so totally buy one.  As I said, I'd love to pick Allyson's mini up, but I just can't make it work.  And though there seems to be little appetite for a stripped and fun sedan in the BMW model range, there should be plenty of room for that kind of car in the Mini line-up.

Maybe I don't get the product strategy, but it seems like they want the line to have more reach by adding useless coupes and (does anyone really care?) micro-SUV things.  Blech.  How about adding a model that keeps the fun, makes it more useful, and doesn't bloat it up or dumb it down?

All for now,


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