As the months go by we're slowly getting a better picture of the next generation MINI. And as we've said previously on MotoringFile it will certainly be more of a evolution rather than a revolution. Rest assured there will be no Mercedes like twin integrated headlamps or ditching of the famous z-link rear suspension. In fact it's our belief that the majority of current MINI owners worried about the future of the marque will breathe a collective sigh of relief when the new car is finally officially exposed to the public in two and a half years.

This week's Autocar (where the above pic comes from) has more on the next generation MINI due to possibly debut at the Geneva Auto Show in 2007. Here's an excerpt:

A new Mini will go on sale in 2007, with more powerful high-tech engines, smooth new looks and myriad detail changes that should ensure it remains one of Britain's most desirable small cars.

Based on today's chassis with its front strut and rear multi-link Z-axle suspension, the new Mini will be a similar size to today's car, growing just a few millimetres in length, width, wheelbase and height That will keep it at 3.6m long with a 2.4m long wheelbase, ensuring that the wheel-at-each-corner proportions remain.

Designers will also resist the temptation to extend the rear overhang to create a bigger boot. There are always pressures to make a new car bigger, but the Mini has to be small, otherwise it isnt a Mini, said a source.

As a result the interior package will be very similar to the current car's, with detail changes to components like seats and interior trim squeezing an extra few millimetres of leg, head and shoulder room.

The overall feeling of the cabin will still be a cosy, sporty environment, with design themes such as the central speedo remaining. Interior plastics will be of a much higher grade, however. The windscreen will also stay upright and relatively close to the driver. After exploring new styling directions, including a taller, more conventional supermini-type package, Mini has decided to keep the exterior close to today?s model.

You can read the entire article here.

top and bottom left image courtesy of Autocar.