Report: Volkswagen plans rear-engine Mini competitor

Report: Volkswagen plans rear-engine Mini competitor

Volkswagen is planning a rear-engine compact car to compete with BMW's Mini Cooper, according to a report by German car magazine Auto Bild. Few details are available, but such an engine layout would dictate a rear-wheel-drive system -- a rarity in the world of modern compact cars.

Aside from the Porsche 911, few modern cars have their engine over the back wheels. Most modern super cars use a mid-engine configuration, and the rest of the vehicles on the road typically have the powerplant up front. Even the Volkswagen Beetle -- once an iconic rear-engine car -- now has its engine in front of the the passengers.

The reasons for designing such a vehicle are not known, but VW might be trying to create a new niche for an ultra-sporty low-cost compact car. Earlier this month, we told you how Volkswagen's new CEO Martin Winterkorn intends to fill "lucrative market niches" with new models over the coming years. His goal is to transform VW into a maker of high-profit niche cars.

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