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Mini To The Maxi

Mini To The Maxi

In the 1970’s there was a terrible car from the British Leyland stable. It was called the Austin Maxi and was about as sleek and desirable as a Thames refuse barge and about as big. Fans of the Austin Maxi (both of them!) should not be upset about this historical reference. This is a news blog not a critique. BL released this car on the basis that, as they had the hugely successful Mini, they might as well make a big version.

BMW now own the Mini brand and seem to have gone barking mad. So far we’ve had the basic Mini hatch and its Cooper variants. This has been rapidly followed over the last few years by – are you ready? – the Coupé , the Roadster, the Convertible, the Clubman, the Clubvan, the four-door Countryman, the John Cooper Works (the best one) and sundry limited editions. Phew.

Even the very many fans of this car – and demand is huge – would think that these versions would be sufficient, but BMW are having none of it. This iconic British name isn’t done yet. They will, probably just because they can, be launching even more models onto an unsuspecting public until 2016, when presumably the madness will stop.

Prepare to be amazed. They clearly feel there is more mileage to be had from this brand. BMW already sell the Mini in over 100 countries and plan to attack the market with yet more models. First up for next year will be the Paceman (pictured). This is a coupé version of a Countryman powered by the 1.6 litre turbocharged power plant from the JCW. With over two hundred brake horse power this vehicle will be marketed as a Sports Activity Coupé . No, we don’t know what that is either.

Next for the list will be something secretly codenamed F54. Word has it that it will be a five-door on a longer wheelbase designed to compete with cars in the Merc A Class sector. For some reason there will also be a longer variation on the Clubman. This will be a four-door based on the same platform as the F54. The burning question is: why?

The F58, still some two or three years away will be even longer and called, so rumour has it, the Sportvan – some form of people carrier. Last but not least, a year later, a saloon version is mooted. Maybe they’ll call it the Maxi.

Where will it all end? What happens when all car makers get in on the act? How many versions of one car can there be? Thank goodness there isn’t a motor manufacturer called Heinz. Their namesake has already produced 57 varieties!

This post was written by:

- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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