When we last saw the 2019 MINI electric it was testing in the Arctic Circle covered in snow and camouflage. Now it would appear (thanks to Autocar) that the testing world tour has stopped in the Alps for some testing at altitude. Gone are some of the bits of camoflauge and in their place production wheels (16s?) and a cleaner look at what will likely be a non-functional grille.
Those wheels are pretty interesting in that they harken back to an 80’s aesthetic that MINI has played with on and off for the past few years. The outer edges feature a wind-cheating inner lip that likely is intended to reduce drag and improve efficiency. They are in fact the exact asymmetrical wheels MINI previewed for us earlier this week. What’s particularly interesting for wheel nerds is that the typical plastic piece covering the lug nuts is covering a giant portion of the wheel due to the design. In these photos we can see that this is intact a production intended design.
Given the details here, it’s clear that the final design has been signed off and what we will likely see in showrooms will be much less different from a standard F56 than the concept might have suggested.
MINI brand boss told Autocar earlier this year that the look will be toned down from the earlier concept because “Mini doesn’t need to make a big statement saying we want to be cool and electric any more”. Instead, the final production car’s design will mix the updated look of the 2018 Mini models with aerodynamic features of the concept.
Perhaps even more interesting is what we can see inside. We had assumed MINI would not make the trade-off for a larger batter pack by ditching the rear seats but we didn’t know for sure until these photos. You can clearly see rear seats in a few of these photos which means that MINI will be positioning this car as a fully featured MINI with all the utility you’d find in a normal F56.
The MINI Electric (final name TBD) will debut in about a year and will go on-sale in late 2019.