• Jan 25th 2011 at 11:29AM
  • 31
Mini Paceman Concept - Click above for high-res image gallery

The minds at Mini may be itching to stretch their design legs with the next generation Cooper. According to Autocar, BMW design guru Adrian van Hooydonk said that the third-generation hatchback will be a bigger design leap than the current generation, though he wasn't exactly willing to dive into more detail on the look of the vehicle. Hooydonk did say that his army of artists is approaching the car with a clean sheet of paper, with a special focus on the interior and its central-mounted speedo. Still, we'd be surprised if the company decided to walk too far away from the brand's core image.

The original Cooper soldiered on with nary a design change for 40 years before finally getting the axe. To some degree, Mini has chained itself to that legacy, and while the addition of new models like the Clubman and Countryman have helped the brand distance itself from the Mini mold, we're guessing that future iterations of the Cooper will still be easily identifiable as members of the pint-sized family.

[Source: Autocar]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      uh-oh, i hope it isn't as radical as they make it sound, i love the current mini. if they make it a little less cutesy then fine, but anything other than that will be a disappointment. i wanted my first car to be an 'Italian Job' style mini cooper...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Actually, the Paceman concept is looking oddly good to me.

      I am not a proponent of CUV vehicles. I like sporty coupes, and sedans for the most part.

      However, this vehicle with 2 side doors, a rear hatch, AWD, and a manual gearbox... seems like an activity sport coupe, much more apt than using that descriptor on the house-sized X6, which is neither sporty nor a coupe.

      IF the Paceman has decent cargo space, and decent AWD, and decent power from the Cooper S turbo engine, and 6MT... I would be very tempted to have that as a 4-season driver, if it could open the door for me to have a special-occaision/project car tucked in the garage.

      My wife once joked about the Countryman being a mini that looks like it could use a brush-bar on the front, and how that is uncharacteristic of a mini.

      I would put a small brush/auxiliary light bar on the front of a Countryman or Paceman. And some really good snow tires in the winter. It sounds kind of like a nice all-weather runabout.

      I hope the next Mini Cooper and Clubman have a compelling design, and simultaneously get better, but not further away from the spirit of the original. If Countryman and Paceman do well for the larger-size mini, maybe the Mini Cooper and Clubman can stay smaller, and maybe even smaller than they currently are, sort of like the first generation of the BMW-owned Minis.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "the third-generation hatchback will be a bigger design leap than the current generation"

      I could maybe be onboard a bigger design leap, as long as it isn't a bigger design physically.

      Keep it small, keep it fun. Oh, and for the love of god, get rid of that awful center-mounted speedo. Its terrible... put it infront of the driver like its intended to be.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @B&B: Just because MINI did something completely stupid for decades doesn't mean that BMW can't fix it next year.

        - GM used their stupid "wonder stick" for decades - the morons at Benz still do...
        - Ford used to have the high-beams on the floor.
        - Volvo used to have a manual overdrive.

        But with the wonders of technology, ergonomics got a lot better.

        And now you want to go back to the celebrate the worst of British car design?

        Maybe BMW can use amateur electronics that never seem to work quite right. Or an engine that falls out of tune within months, requiring frequent tuning and rebuilds. Or just have the cars built by drunkards so the thing falls to pieces within 50,000 miles.

        Some things should stay dead and buried.

        Center-stack gauges are one of them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Black&Blue

        Yes, I understand that the center-mounted speedo is a continuation from the original car, but soooo many other things have changed, that I simply can not agree with them keeping that one design element going forward since so many people hate the location. After all, Mini even offers a steering column-mounted Tach as an option since so many people hate the center instrument cluster... you would think that that would tell them something.

        Sometimes traditions are made to be broken.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ^ was it as asinine as their one-sided keys?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Black&Blue

        Maybe they weren't the only ones that had one-sided keys, but I am fairly sure they were the last to switch over.

        I know that my uncle's 90's era Olds still had one-sided keys while all the other cars in the family (Ford, Nissan, Dodge etc) had by that time switched to two-sided. I vaguely even remember reading ages ago some article in C&D ribbing GM about these one-sided keys.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Do any of you actually drive a MINI? The center-speedo is pretty much just there for MINI-ness. You actually use the digital speedo incorporated into the tach, right-in-front-of-you...
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ jsim

        So why even put it in the middle. its a vestigial location when it was probably too expensive to engineer a LH drive and a RH drive car... Toyota tried that with the low-cost Yaris (or Echo and I believe in some Scion) and everyone hated it in those cars as well. God forbid you have the most important info in front of your eyes.

        @ John H

        I am rather reluctant to Google Image Search what GM's "wonder stick" is... I am afraid of what might show up. Was that some fancy dipstick or possibly a gear shifter?
      • 4 Years Ago
      @JohnH - The important gauge *is* in front of the driver.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't care what they do to it. They will NEVER sell me another one.
      • 4 Years Ago
      No design is so good that it can't be mucked up. Sooner or later, the desire to improve the Mini will certainly ruin it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have always preferred 1959–2000 Mini and do not consider BMW's design a Mini.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I like the CENTER speeo
      • 4 Years Ago
      I love the first generation of Mini (model R50/53) from the early 2000's (2001-2006) ... timeless look and I love the central speedo ... so unconventional. 90% of interior designs are so boring and after a few years only it gets so dated, so out of fashion when the Mini still looks great and so unique.

      Speaking of the new Paceman concept, front looks fine but the rear is just plain awful. It looks like any other car when a Mini needs to look like ... a Mini, something you cannot miss from other cars ... like too many Japanese cars (look at Toyota, Subaru, Mitsubishi etc ... how can they design such boring looking cars). Look at Renault ... plain awful cars, all of them.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Don't like the sounds of that! Hopefully they just mean addressing some of it's shortcomings and ergonomics. They've been losing some of their following of enthusiasts... which are easy to dismiss, but they sell cars for them... going too askew because they are itchy to be creative is a bad idea.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why is nobody commenting on the guy's name? This is just Hooydonkulous.
      • 4 Years Ago
      How about making the 3rd generation a remake of the 1st generation, but with fat-reduction and clever packaging? I own a 2004 Cooper S, and despite how much I love it, I can't help but think that cars like Yaris' and Fiat 500s are packaged a little better. What I mean is that these cars to have more usable interior space in a physically smaller car.

      I'm hoping that BMW keeps the MINI, mini! If they continue on their current trend of going larger, I'll be jumping the MINI ship and going with a Fiat 500 (despite all the Fiat reliability jokes).

      As far as the center speedo is concerned - doesn't bother me too much...kind of reminds me of a Jeep CJ-5 I had back in HS. Do they not offer a column mounted tach/speedo on the current model like they did with the 1st gen?

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