Early last year, while sitting in the passenger seat of cab on the Las Vegas strip, I caught a brief glimpse of a mutant MINI in the adjacent lane. The 'lil hatch had undergone serious suspension surgery, having been jacked up a few inches and then outfitted with a set of aftermarket wheels, wrapped in knobby rubber. While enduring both the cab ride over and a performance of "O", daydreams of the owner relentlessly flogging the MINI, far away from the neon halo of Sin City, bounced around in my mind.

The idea of an off-roading MINI was a novelty then, but back in November, AutoExpress caught wind of a rumor that BMW was currently developing some manner of all-wheel-drive system to fit within the tight confines of their retro-hatch.

Now, Gabe over at MotoringFile has revealed that such a beast is under development and is being referred to internally as the Colorado.

This next spin-off of the brand will likely be based off an SUV version of the 1-series and may be manufactured at BMW's highly flexible Spartanburg, SC plant or Magna Steyr, since BMW's other production centers are at capacity.

Although the MINI faithful will surely view this as a dilution of the marque, if the Colorado can combine some light off-road capabilities, while still maintaining the MINI's iconic chuckability, we're all for it.

[Source: Motoring File]