Yes the next generation MINI is coming a couple of years. And with it we should see some welcome improvements in a couple of key areas. First off the Cooper and Cooper S should get a healthy bump in power to around 140hp and 200hp respectively. Furthermore the engine should be lighter, more efficient and will be built in the England and engineered in Europe rather than Brazil and Detroit.

However the most controversial element will most certainly be the slightly longer/taller bonnet and front overhang (hinted at above) meant to meet the new EU pedestrian safety requirements that go in effect for all new cars in 2005.

All that said I would caution everyone from making judgements on the look of the next MINI at this point. The car above hints at only the shape and none of the final styling. Its meant to conceal any of the look and feel of the final product as much as possible. In this case it would seem this was done with a mixture of new and old body parts combined with others that were fabricated just for the testing mules. In the end it creates a incoherent look that should not be mistaken for anything that would be released to the public.

You can read more on the next generation MINI (or R56) here.