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New Mini to emerge soon at LA show

Shirts off: A replacement for the popular Mini hatchback will take on the world after its launch at the Los Angeles motor show.

Los Angeles debut in November for all-new Mini hatch, due in Australia mid-2014

Mini logo16 Jul 2013

By MIKE COSTELLO

BMW’S third-generation ‘new Mini’ will make its world debut in the glitzy shadow of Hollywood at the Los Angeles motor show in November.

The replacement for the now six-year-old current-generation Mini staple will hit European showrooms at the start of 2014, with an Australian launch locked in for the second-quarter.

As reported, the new model will share its ‘UKL’ underpinnings with the first of a new generation of city-friendly, front-wheel-drive BMW models – recently previewed by a pair of Compact Active Tourer concepts – as well as the all-new X1 compact SUV.

Rumour also suggests the modern-day Mini will abandon its traditional four-cylinder engine line-up in favour of a new family of 1.5-litre petrol and diesel three-cylinder engines that will include the traditional split between normally aspirated and turbocharged versions.

Petrol versions of these engines will form the ‘traditional’ half of BMW’s forthcoming petrol-electric plug-in hybrid i3 and i8 models, however there is no word on a possible hybrid Mini.

Mini released a cheeky official ‘spy’ picture of a partially covered car two weeks ago in response to leaked images of the real deal that had run the online gamut.

Predictably, these images confirm the Oxford-based brand will not stray too far from its core, with evolutionary styling staying true to the retro ethos of the brand. Dimensions are expected to grow slightly to accommodate more rear space.

Precious little else is known at this stage. However, we do know that one Mini trademark is set for the scrapheap – the big, centrally mounted speedo that has defined the car since its inception.

Despite its greying hairs, the current-generation Mini is selling better than ever in Australia, up 22.4 per cent this year when paired with its Clubman derivative (the two models are not separated in industry VFACTS data).

It remains far and away the brand’s top seller here, accounting for more than half of total brand sales this year (Mini now offers seven different model lines).

The strong hatch sales are part of a wider trend across its total line-up. Earlier this month, the company announced its highest quarterly and half-yearly sales figures since its relaunch in 2001.

It sold 282 cars in June (up 34.9 per cent), and 1295 to the end of June (up 10.7 per cent year-to-date).

“With a strong line-up of Mini vehicles catering to a broad audience, coupled with a consistent demand for the brand, we expect these results to be an ongoing trend,” said Mini Australia general manager Kai Bruesewitz.

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