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Next-Gen, 3-Cyl MINI Hatchback To Debut At 2013 Frankfurt Show?

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MINI Rocketman Concept MkII

MINI Rocketman Concept MkII

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You only need to take a look at the current MINI range--with its hatchbacks, convertibles, coupes, roadsters, crossovers and more--to see that it's quite a challenge designing a range of cars based on a small, 1959 minicar.

It's sure to make the job of updating the MINI quite a challenge--and one we'll be able to judge the success of when the model is unveiled.

That's expected to take place at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show, according to German site Bimmertoday (via BMW Blog). More exciting than the styling though is the new engine range, likely to include small-capacity, 3-cylinder units.

Under the skin, the MINI will share a platform with BMW's upcoming range of new, front-wheel drive small cars.

That's set to include a replacement for today's rear-drive 1-Series, but it also opens the door to a range of BMW three-cylinder engines under the MINI's hood.

While higher-performance Cooper S and John Cooper Works models will likely stick with four-bangers, the entry-level (in the U.S.) Cooper is expected to debut a three-cylinder producing around 130-horsepower.

It's too early to judge fuel efficiency figures at the moment, but unlike the Fiat group's TwinAir twin-cylinder engine, MINI has no historical precedent of producing three-cylinder models--making this a clear indication of efficiency-biased downsizing.

But will it look like a MINI? Well, whaddya think?...

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