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Frankfurt: Mini electric and extreme concepts debut

Concept also hints at future Mini styling direction.

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Unveiled at Frankfurt is the Mini Electric Concept, which as well as previewing the production Mini EV expected to go on sale in 2019, gives a strong hint to the brand’s future styling direction.

The BMW-owned brand’s personnel insist that the Mini Electric Concept is just that, a concept, and not necessarily any clue to how the production model will look. But it is clear from its exterior design that the fourth generation of the reborn 1950s classic could go for a more sporty look, sharper, cleaner and more minimalist.

Many of the details on the current generation have been smoothed out on the new model, though Mini insists this is to aid aerodynamics and the range of the electric powertrain.

Details of that powertrain are yet to be revealed, the only statement being that it will “always (be) quick off the mark.” Similarly, the concept does not have an interior, that is for future versions ahead of the production model.

The production version of the Mini Electric Concept will be built at the brand’s Oxford, UK plant from 2019 and will form a major element of the ‘Number One – Next’ strategy of Mini’s parent BMW Group.

It won’t be the first electric Mini – 10 years ago the Mini E was built as a purely experimental model on the 10th anniversary of the brand’s revival, and only 600 were made. Earlier in 2017, a plug-in hybrid version of the Countryman SUV was launched.

Works for the track

Also debuting on Mini’s Frankfurt stand is the most radical version of the top performance model yet. The John Cooper Works GP Concept is described as ‘the ultimate in sporting agility on the race track and the road.’

Its styling is certainly extreme, with large front and rear bumper units, side skirts and a not very subtle roof spoiler. It sits on 19-inch wheels and boasts a full roll cage and bucket seats.

Mini is not stating any performance figures for the concept – the previous GP model launched in 2012 offered 219hp and the current John Cooper Works model produces 230hp, so the GP is likely to be above this figure.

Similarly there is no confirmation that the concept will make it to production – however, such a car was launched as one of the final models in both the first and second generation versions of the Mini.

MIN I JCW GP Concept The Car Expert
MINI John Cooper Works GP is extreme concept.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.