GoAuto spent some time with Gert Hildebrand on the 2007 MINI and how the MINI design team went about creating the follow-up to the R50. It’s a fantastic article for anyone interested in automotive design and the MINI’s design evolution. Here’s an excerpt:

>Mr Hildebrand and his team were not given “… any concrete orders” or directives from BMW as far as the R56’s design outcome was concerned.

>However, he did not want to stamp his personality or ego on the car at all — quite the contrary, his major concern was to preserve the very essence of what the Mini stood for.

>”This is not my design,” he told GoAuto, describing his role as a sort of torchbearer for the original. As a result, Mr Hildebrand jokes, the hardest part of the job had already been done for him. The new Mini ended up being the work of stylist Marcus Syring, under Mr Hildebrand’s direction.

>The design chief was wary of the fine line between preserving the classic Mini looks and proportions, while making it fresh enough for people to update to. “People want to see evolution (in design),” Mr Hildebrand said.

One of the more interesting quotes comes towards the end of the article:

>So what does the outgoing R50 Mini’s designer, Frank Stephenson (now head of Fiat Design) think of the new model? “At the Paris show Frank went up to me and said: “What have you done to my headlights! “But, jokes aside, he said he loved it,” Mr Hildebrand said.

Certainly one of the better into the MINI design department we at MotoringFile have read. You can read more below:

[ New Mini a visual icon like Porsche 911 ] GoAuto