Posted: 12/11/07 01:21 PM
Yup, MINI is coming out with a compact cuv called the Monte, due in 2009 and it will be the first MINI to be produced in the US.
This is the brand’s first foray into US car production, but it could lead to sales doubling for the British legend. While the news is still top secret, it’s thought MINI will join BMW at its factory in Spartanburg, North Carolina, where the X5 SUV is built. Production of the macho MINI has been confirmed for late 2008, and it could be on sale in the UK the following year. The newcomer, due to be called the Monte, will use the MINI’s front-wheel-drive layout. To improve its off-road credentials, though, it will have a raised ride height and wider track.
These changes should enhance the car’s versatility and ride quality significantly. And by repositioning the suspension mounting points, there should be more room inside as well.
Power will come from a range of 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines, including the 175bhp turbo unit from the Cooper S. BMW has hinted there could be a new 1.4-litre oil-burner, too. Buyers will get a choice of manual and automatic transmissions, while the Efficient Dynamics package seen elsewhere in the range will feature, to cut emissions and boost economy.