MINI considering a brand new roadster to take on the Mazda MX-5

Article by Christian A., on September 25, 2012

Mini chief Kay Segler said that in the upcoming decade, three or more new models will be released after the new Mini Paceman. The Paceman, a coupé variant of the Countryman, is the seventh version to be released of the modern Mini. The automaker is also planning a compact saloon and an MPV. It’s also possible that it will build a roadster that takes inspiration from the original Mazda MX-5.

Segler said that the decisions on what models will be added to the current lineup will depend on the untapped sales potential in the two biggest auto markets in the world, China and North America. When interviewed by Autocar, Segler said that Mini is considering a plan for 10 individual Mini models by 2022.

Segler estimates that there may be at least three new models aside from the Paceman. Mini officials share the opinion that a compact saloon will be vital to improving Mini’s profile in China, where the 10 top-selling cars are all saloons. Segler said that the company knows that saloons have the highest sales in China and so they’re monitoring developments.

He admits that India as well as other markets with a lot of potential may have a significant role in its plans to create a saloon, which may share its platform with the Clubman replacement. A five-seat MPV is another new model that will compete with models like the Ford B-max.

It will soon be coupled with the future versions of the Countryman and will likely come with a Clubman-style rear-hinged coach door. Mini officials have not said much about whether there will be a third new model. However, there are rumors that there will be a junior roadster similar to the original MX-5.

The new Mazda MX-5 facelift is now more enjoyable to drive, thanks to its more responsive acceleration and braking. These improved attributes are complemented by its more aggressive front end and higher levels of pedestrian safety.

Acceleration management programs of manual versions of the Mazda MX-5 facelift have been refined and retuned in order to enhance acceleration control as well as to improve linear response to throttle input at lower speeds.

Mazda also optimized the roaster’s vacuum brake booster, thereby improving brake return control. Additionally, the new Mazda MX-5 facelift boasts of superior front-rear load distribution, which helps the roadster achieve better handling. All of these enhancements are better felt such as when the new Mazda MX-5 facelift is decelerating into or accelerating from a corner.

In terms of pedestrian safety, the new Mazda MX-5 facelift also offers a new advancement. This comes in the form of a new active bonnet system that – upon hitting a pedestrian – would automatically raise the hood, thereby enlarging the crumple zone in order to avert or mitigate severity of injuries, especially on the head. Likewise, Mazda has reinforced the lower part of the front bumper to enhance the protection of a pedestrian’s legs. These upgrades have allowed the Mazda MX-5 to be all ready to comply with stiff EU pedestrian safety standards.

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