“Mini will always remain Mini,” or so says Marcus Syring, the British brand’s new chief of design.
It may seem trite, at first, but it is a question that is being asked a fair bit, lately, as Mini steadily expands its line-up. What was originally little more than a few subtle variants – like the Cooper S – off a single model will soon grow to at least seven with the addition of such nameplates as the Countryman.
That offering stretched the boundaries in a variety of ways. It was the BMW subsidiary’s first 4-door, for example; its first SUV/crossover; and the first with all-wheel-drive.
Now comes the Paceman concept, which starts with the same basic platform as Countryman. Officially just a show car, senior Mini officials don’t disguise the fact that it will soon reappear in production trim – albeit with a different name.
Making sure the resultant product fits the strict visual definition of a Mini is the challenge for Syring, who handled the exterior design together with his predecessor Gert Hildebrand and Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Group’s head of design.