The next generation MINI is currently undergoing early cold weather testing where spy photos caught it in fully camouflaged form recently. The all electric variant will be the core of the range when it debuts in late 2023 and will be followed by petrol powered variants both big and small.
Since we don’t own the rights to the photos head over to Autoblog for a full look. Then head back here to hear our inside scoop on what to expect from MINI.
Ok back? Good lets talk details of this revolutionary evolution. Flush door handles? Charging port on the left side? Angular mirrors? Yeah lots of details here that deserve some dissection. But we’re going to hold-off on getting into the details until we have a bit more information from sources. In the meantime lets talk about what we do know for certain.
MINI is planning to offer several new electric MINIs including the MINI 3-Door Hatch, a new crossover around the size of the current four door F55 and an all electric crossover (likely a variant of the next generation Countryman). The larger MINIs will be built in mainland Europe while the smaller cars will be built in China (for the Asian market) and Oxford) for the rest of the world.
The End of Internal Combustion MINIs
Crucially MINI intends to still offer conventional internal combustion engines in both it’s small car range and in at least one crossover – likely the next generation Countryman. This move is in response to the differing customer needs seen in North America and elsewhere. MINI is on track to introduce it’s last new petrol variant in 2025. From that point on it’ll be all about transitioning to an all electric line-up which should happen just after 2030.
More Crossovers Are Coming
MINI is going to add another crossover to the line-up in the form of a small electric offering. The move is intended to likely appeal to the European and Chinese and offer MINI an entry into what will likely be a high growth area. Rumors point to the size being similar to the current generation F55 four door hatch. This will be the one Chinese built MINI that is planned to be sold globally.
Additionally MINI will be redesigning the Countryman from the grown-up to offer internal combustion, hybrid and full electric options. Also worth noting that there have been several sources that have pointed to MINI increasing the size of the Countryman to better appeal to the North American market – the product’s largest.
Not mentioned here but previously hinted at is a third, larger crossover powered by an internal combustion engine and based on an existing BMW platform. It’s unclear whether that’s the front wheel drive FAAR or the rear wheel drive CLAAR platform but the latter has been rumored. To give you an idea of size of a CLAAR based crossover, that’s the platform that underpins the X3. As a larger rear wheel drive based platform, it would be the biggest departure yet from MINI’s original concept. Whatever platform is used, the expectation is that this product (potentially to be called the Traveler) will be several feet longer than the Countryman and could even seat seven.
How could anything so large be called a MINI? Like the Countryman, MINI is looking to retain its brand identity by always being the smallest product in each category.
Next Generation MINI Hatch & Convertible
The big news that is finally confirmed here is that BMW is indeed moving forward with a petrol powered 4th generation MINI. Rumors point to the follow-up to the F56 being more compact while losing none of the interior volume of the current car. Even better MINI is going on record in saying the interior experience will be totally different than anything we’ve ever see from the brand.
The G56 (likely code-name) will reach UK showrooms towards the end of 2022, nine years after the F56 was introduced. Under the hood will be a variety of powertrains including a new 48v mild-hybrid petrol engine with a particulate filter and functions such as automatic engine shutdown, coasting and brake energy recuperation. It will form the basis of the One, Cooper and Cooper S drivetrains.
According to rumors the new hatch will be more evolutionary than revolutionary on the outside but will include several key changes. First and foremost the wheelbase will grow and the front overhang will shrink to the delight of MINI fans worldwide. There will be an evolution of MINI’s traditional design elements including the hexagonal grille, round headlights and ‘floating’ roof.
But it’s the shortened overhang that will be the biggest change giving the car a more traditional MINI-like appearance.
The interior will move away from the retro look of all recent models and instead will offer a much more modern approach.
According to Oliver Heilmer, head of Mini design, “A central issue here is interaction and this is something we have to shape. One approach for Mini would be to push the technology required into the background. There is a big opportunity but also a major challenge.”
Previously MINI had confirmed there will be a 4th generation convertible and five door, mirroring the current line-up.
Look for the next generation MINI Cooper to debut sometime in the second half of 2022 with an on sale date of Q4 2022 for Europe and Q1 2023 in North America.
Emphasis on China
MINI is still on track to shift some production to China via a collaboration with Great Wall Motors. So important is this market that MINI has co-developed a new vehicle architecture with GWM designed from the ground-up to be electric only. The expectation is that these vehicles will be designed for China and built in China only.