MINI Design had a huge task at hand when they set out to reinvent an icon like the MINI Cooper. In talking with the designers and engineers who created the car, process took the best of the old world and married it with new tech.

BMW and MINI design is known for its use of clay models. Why clay? It’s an old-school way to design but it’s also a great way for designers to literally form their ideas in full-sized dimensionality.

But clay also slows down the process. To help solve for that MINI Design used some of the latest digital tools and virtual reality to help speed up the process and get a better feel for ideas as they took shape.

MINI Cooper design
Never-mind the wheels – this is a sneak peek at the JCW bodykit

We have a collection of images that demonstrate this process. What they show is a fascinating glimpse into not just how MINI Design goes about creating cars but also a few sneak peaks at what’s coming.

Case in point the photo above is a very early look at the forthcoming electric JCW (or at the very least a JCW bodykit. The details map directly to the JCW test mule we spotted recently in Munich.

MINI Cooper design

This photo shows a very early design prototype in a dark blue which we have yet to see in production photos. It’s a great color and looks fantastic with white mirrors pictured. It’s also interesting to see how the matte Vibrant Silver trim looks on a dark color.

MINI Cooper design

Here you can see what appears to be an early version of the Countryman headlights that has an indent on the lower side. It’s interesting to see how that correlated with some of the other design elements we see not the Countryman – specifically the front splitter.

Have a look at the gallery below for more easter eggs and let us know what you find in the comments below.