Could Mini be looking at a move into the mid-engine world? That’s quite a step for a brand synonymous with small, nimble, front-wheel-drive hatchbacks that can almost fit into your pocket. On the other hand, small and nimble are attributes synonymous with mid-engine cars, so perhaps it’s not such a crazy idea. In fact, some might say it’s long overdue.
Earlier this year we reported on an interview with Andreas Lampka, Mini’s head of communications. In that interview, he suggested that Mini engineers would develop a mid-engine car if given the time and resources to do so. It’s by no means a full-on confirmation that such a vehicle is coming, but the candid discussion certainly suggests Mini executives are at least thinking about it. That got us thinking about it, and our Motor1.com design pros whipped up this exclusive rendering to bring a mid-engine Mini to life.
There’s certainly no mistaking this car for anything other than a Mini. Instead of taking a radical approach with something completely new, we’ve preserved Mini’s iconic face in JCW trim. The difference obviously comes behind the A-pillar with a lower roof and a two-seat greenhouse. Reshaped doors merge into a widened backside fitted with only modest side vents. Mini design language generally trends on the conservative side, and we preserve that here by not going bonkers with wings or complex body lines.
As for the mill resting behind the seats, it must be a turbocharged four-cylinder. As such, power must go to the rear wheels through a manually shifted transaxle. Sure, we could opt for a paddle-shifted dual-clutch box driving all four wheels, but this isn’t a supercar. This is a Mini mid-engine sports car, designed specifically for the sheer joy of driving. That means three pedals and a lever in the middle, with no compromises.
Will Mini actually build something like this? Honestly, it’s doubtful despite the optimistic musings spoken by Lampka. Still, the world is sorely lacking when it comes to simple mid-engine sports cars like this. There could be a niche if Mini has the guts to explore it.