There will be two next generation MINI hatches. We’re not talking models – we’re talking two completely different cars built in different parts of the world and different platforms. Sound bizarre? The electric revolution that’s happening in the industry is leading to this radical approach. But what this means to you depends on what flavor of MINI you want.
MINI recently released a few details on what they’re calling the next generation hatch. But that’s the full story. What they’ve been focused is the entirely new, all electric hatch which will be built in collaboration with Great Wall Motors in China. But there’s another, petrol powered hatch coming which might be just as, if not more important for the MINI fans. Today we’re going to take a closer look at the next generation MINI hatch built in Oxford and offered exclusively with an internal combustion engine (ICE). The last ICE MINI hatch might not be all new but it might just be pretty special.
The Heavily Revised 2024 F56 MINI Hatch
Yes you’re reading that correctly. MINI intends to heavily revise the F56, give it a new chassis designation and sell it as a new MINI hatch. But before the pitchforks come out, this may be the best news possible for a number of you. For one this won’t be what we would typically call a refresh – more on that in a minute. Second this will allow MINI to continue to offer petrol power with a manual transmission in a package that is tried and tested.
How much of a refresh? Most don’t realize that the 2007 R56 was a major refresh of the previous generation R50/R53 chassis. Will we see similar radical refresh of the F56? Likely not for two reasons. MINI is intending to keep the current engine line-up and refine them to meet tightening emissions standards. So no new engines but likely different tunes. MINI also doesn’t need to fix any significant issues like they did on the R50 which was never engineered to BMW quality standards. Based on this we believe that the changes we’ll see on this refresh/next generation F56 will be focused on design and technology with important tweaks to performance.
Outside expect a new crash structure upfront to slightly shorten the front overhang and for MINI to heavily revised the lighting front and back. Look for all new wheels and colors across all trim levels.
Inside MINI will likely adopt the larger screens we’ve seen previewed in the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. Along with that expect more technology relating to accident avoidance and more sophisticated radar cruise control.
We also wouldn’t be surprised to see the four door hatch revised more heavily making the rear a bit more like the current Clubman. While it’s just a guess we do know that MINI intends increase the size of the Countryman and likely kill the Clubman altogether. That could make room for the four door hatch to increase in size by simply squaring off the rear and creating a more Clubman-esque look.
2025 MINI Hatch – Engine Updates
The petrol powered range will use an evolution of the current B48 engine range with mild-hybrid added to decrease CO2 and add performance. As we detailed in our recent preview of the next generation MINI Countryman, every petrol powered engine is a revision of an existing one. So things will look familiar but we believe numbers might rise slightly. The 1.5 three cylinder could use a more powerful BMW tune that would see it rise to 137 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque. Then there’s a series of 2.0 four cylinder that could also use various BMW tunes; 170 hp and 206 ft-lbs and 218 hp and 265 ft-lbs. All petrol engines will get a 48 volt mild hybrid system and will be mated to a revised 7-speed dual clutch with an all new gear selector design. The manual transmission’s days may be numbered but we believe it will stick around through the end of the decade in most markets.
One thing that has become clear is that MINI has no plans for a plug-in hybrid for it’s smaller range of cars. While there’s mild hybrid capabilities coming, that’s minor added functionality mainly focused on smoothing out auto stop-start and reducing CO2 output in specific moments of operation.
The 2025 MINI Hatch – When Will It Be Released and Will it be Any Good?
The all electric and all new MINI hatch will arrive in late 2023 from what we’re hearing. We would expect MINI would want to separate the launch of that car and this heavily revised ICE MINI hatch. Given that the F56 hatch was just refreshed a year ago, we’d expect MINI would want to allow the current car to be on sale unchanged for at least three model years. That logic would lead us to believe we’ll see this heavily revised MINI hatch (call it the next generation if you want) around the second half of 2024 as a 2025 model.
The next question is, should you wait to buy one? As much as MINI is leaning into electrification, this revised MINI hatch will be a very important car for several key markets – notably the US. Because of that we expect that MINI would want to go out with a bang as this will be it’s last petrol powered, manual transmission small car ever made. Crucially it will also be heavily iterated and honed over its decade on the market. Those ingredients give us hope that this might be a rather special send-off for the ICE powered MINI.