The fifth member of the MINI lineup might be a sedan, a new report finds.
The four-door sedan could revive the heritage-laced Riley nameplate. The idea of a MINI-badged sedan is controversial today, but executives believe that launching a three-box model will help the BMW-owned brand sell more cars in key markets like China and North America, where the demand for small hatchbacks like the Hardtop is low at best.
The MINI Riley will ride on the same front-wheel drive UKL platform as the Hardtop, the Clubman, as well as BMW’s 2 Series and X1, among others. It will allegedly stretch roughly 170 inches from bumper to bumper, and it will use the same three- and four-cylinder engines as other members of the MINI lineup. Front-wheel drive will come standard, and all-wheel drive will be offered at an extra cost.
When we can expect to see the MINI Riley is anyone’s guess at this point. However, MINI made the promise to launch five core models in 2014, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see the fifth car previewed by a thinly-veiled concept in the next year or so.
What’s in a name?
Founded in 1890 as a bicycle manufacturer, Riley was an England-based car maker whose products were gradually diluted by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) until it shut down in 1969. The Riley Elf (pictured in our gallery) was essentially a more luxurious version of the original Austin Mini whose three-box design cleared up much-needed cargo space. The Elf was built primarily for its home market from 1961 to 1969.