The past year has seen an onslaught of new MINI production models and concepts as the BMW-owned British carmaker has set about pushing into new segments.
While MINI has already confirmed it will reveal an electric scooter at Paris this month, reports out of Europe suggest that at least one more MINI concept may soon be upon us.
This is in the form of a city car that would utilise BMW's upcoming project i architecture - the platform that will also support the German carmaker's Megacity electric vehicle. Our preview rendering, above, offers one idea of how this 'mini MINI' might look.
Speaking with US website Autoweek, MINI insiders reportedly confirmed the project. They also conceded that meeting current crash-safety requirements make developing a front-engined, front-wheel-drive city car shorter than the 3700mm MINI Cooper a more than difficult and expensive task.
Beyond the engineering difficulties lies the question of profitability. While milestone supercars like the Veyron can justify hefty development budgets on the promise of a place in automotive history, a volume-selling city car will live or die on its sales.
“The idea to create a highly compact Mini model is one that has been on the agenda for quite a while,” a source reportedly told Autoweek.
“On the outside it would appear a natural fit for the brand, but profitability is a major concern at this end of the market. It's one thing making a good-looking small car, but it's another thing making money on it.”
The source added that the concept planned for Geneva will not only represent a new direction for MINI's growing model line, but also a new overall styling direction for the brand, as seen in the likes of the upcoming Countryman and the MINI Coupe and Roadster concepts.
If MINI is working on a new city car concept, it won't be a first for the company, with the Spiritual and Spiritual2 - measuring just 3.1 metres long - debuting at Geneva back in 1994.