The first Mini, built in 1959, definitely lived up to its name. It measured in at 10-feet long (120.25 inches) long. Compare that to the current Mini Cooper, which stretches out to 13.1-feet long (with a four-door configuration), and that's a serious growth spurt for a brand that prided itself on building small cars. But don't expect anything to change.
In an interview with the Australian publication CarAdvice, Florian Nissl, head of exterior design, said that Mini cars could get bigger, making for the ultimate oxymoron. "Being a customer of cars myself I have these memories of the cars I used to drive, like 15 maybe almost 20 years ago, and [I don't] necessarily want to have this experience again," said Nissli in the interview. "[Today] those cars are bigger and also much more safe."
The 2019 Countryman – the most expansive Mini to date – is 14.1-feet (169.2 inches) long and 5.1 feet (61.2 inches) tall. It's a whole three inches longer than the previous generation, and part of its marketing included the slogan, "our biggest Mini yet." But fans of small cars shouldn't be discouraged; though Mini might be growing its lineup of, its look will stay iconic.
"Then I also think that once you get familiar with the idea that Mini is a brand that doesn't necessarily offer cars that are 'mini' because the name says 'Mini', then I think you start to realize, at least that's it for me, that you can do a lot with the brand really because it's very strong from a design point of view. It's very flexible and so on and that's very exciting really," said Nissl.
Part of that growth can be contributed, in part, to new forms of energy. The 2019 Countryman is the first Mini to have a plug-in hybrid option, and an electric three-door is on the way. No doubt that model will stretch out more than the current model, too.