As advanced production methods and materials allow for new and innovative means of approaching car design, the luxury carmaker group BMW is preparing to create impressively compact versions of some of its latest models.
BMW’s big plans – or rather, small plans – include the shrinking down of both the MINI Hatch and the latest version of the BMW X1. Both of these bold new concepts are raising more than a few eyebrows in the automotive industry as there are concerns that they are flying close to the sun in terms of risking discomfort for the passengers in the pursuit of greater performance.
However, a BMW source has recently told motoring.com.au that comfort will a top consideration for the designers of the baby X1 version at every stage of the process.
“There are big hopes for the next X1 internally, but it has to have more space between it and the X3. It should be quite a bit lighter than the current one, but it will be just as large inside. We’ve focused our attention towards addressing the comfort of the cabin in the X1.” said the BMW insider.
So despite cutting approximately 100mm for its overall length, stretching the cabin to the edges (the same treatment given to the 2 Series Active Tourer) and sitting the engine across the engine bay rather than along it in order to cut away excess metal, the BMW source remains confident that the occupants’ comfort would not be adversely affected.
So what will be the reward for this substantial trimming, nipping and tucking? Considerably boosted fuel efficiency and emissions rates. Not to mention the fact that the reduced length should make parking the new X1 a breeze, without a drop in performance.
BMW’s plans for MINI remain at the concept stage as they are even more radical. The ‘micro MINI’ concept is fraught with difficulty as the ultra-compact car market is populated mostly by consumers who are very price-conscious who are looking to run their super small car on a budget. Traditionally, MINIs do not shine in the competitive price point arena and a micro MINI would suffer similarly.
MINI Product Manager, Roderik von Ostrowski himself reasoned: “In this segment, would people really appreciate a MINI? It’s quite obvious the MINI wouldn’t be the cheapest in the segment. Would people spend the extra money for a MINI?”
However, confidence in the MINI brand remains at an all-time high and its latest versions are receiving increased orders across the board. A recent Reuters news story detailed the planned expansion of MINI’s production capacity to allow them to keep up with soaring European demand for the latest versions of the iconic British small car. As international appreciation for the MINI brand increases, so does the prospect of a MINI that can compete in the ultra-compact market.
So watch this space because small is the new big thing for BMW with future plans developing to create the most compact, high-performance vehicles to grace our roads.