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Mini Ray returning

Mini for less: New 'Ray' variant brings the diminutive Mini within more budgets than ever before in Oz.

New entry-level Mini arriving in Q3 2016 with the sub-$30,000 driveaway Ray hatch

Mini logo22 Apr 2016

By DANIEL GARDNER

MINI'S most affordable model will make a return to the Australian line-up in the second half of this year, with the new Mini Ray hatch slotting in under the current entry-level One, with a sub-$30,000 driveaway price tag.

Exact pricing, specification and launch timing will be released at a later date, but the German-owned British brand has confirmed the Ray will be powered by a three-cylinder engine, and that both three- and five-door versions will be available.

The three-pot produces 75kW and 180Nm with 1.2-litres in the One trim and 100kW/220Nm in 1.5-litre Cooper form, but it is not known if the Ray will get the smaller unit or a detuned version of the larger three-cylinder.

A manual gearbox is also likely to be standard fitment with an optional auto to minimise cost.

Speaking at the launch of the new Mini Convertible this week, Mini Australia national manager Tony Sesto highlighted some of the range additions coming in 2016, including the performance champion John Cooper Works and Ray.

“I'm pleased to say that we are also bringing back the Mini Ray,” he said.

The original Ray launched in 2011 and brought a simplified package for a more affordable price of $25,500 before on-road costs, undercutting the next variant up by $6000, but Mr Sesto said the new driveaway pricing would be more attractive.

“The plan at the moment is that it is going to be sub-$30,000 driveaway, the $25,000 wasn't driveaway. It was plus on-road costs.

“Hopefully beginning of the second half of this year we will be able to confirm that price.”

Mr Sesto went on to explain that the Ray would be offered alongside the Mini One, which starts from $24,950 as a three-door hatchback and $26,050 with five doors, but would appeal to a different type of buyer.

“It's something that we kind of have available in the market now as the Mini One but this is taking a different direction though. When we previously had the Mini Ray in the market place it was well accepted, hence the reason why we want to try and bring it back.”

Despite going to market with a price-driven variant, Mr Sesto said the Mini Ray still fitted within the company's premium brand.

“It is a premium brand but it's also targeting a different segment as well so it's an entry-level price point for us.”

In the previous generation, the Ray targeted the younger end of the market with playful customisation options such as customisable mirror caps and side scuttles, which will also return with the new version.

The 2011 version also cut costs with the use of steel wheels dressed in hubcaps in the place of alloy rims, while cloth interiors are also expected to make a comeback along with a number of other vibrant colour customisation choices.

With its sub-$30,000 proposition, the Ray will bump gloves with other affordable style-marketed models Down Under, including the Citroen DS3, Audi A1 and higher-end Fiat 500, Renault Clio and Peugeot 208 variants.

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