Mini has provided the first hint of the next generation hatch, confirming that the newcomer will be the most radical since the original under BMW ownership debuted in 2001.
With it being reported in February that cost-cutting within the BMW Group and concerns about Brexit rating as the main factors behind the delayed replacement for now seven year old third generation F55 model, Mini CEO Bernd Körber, in conversation with Britain’s Autocar, assured that the new model would remain instantly recognisable as a Mini, adding that the hatch is to the marque what the 911 is to Porsche.
“The 911 has to be carefully developed over time because it’s what Porsche stands for. It’s similar for us, and similar in that at one point Porsche had to make a step beyond what it was associated with, and now they have a much broader portfolio,” Körber said, before remarking, “[we] don’t screw with an icon”.
“After more than 60 years, it’s necessary that Mini makes a bold step ahead, but it also has to stay true to its core, and that’s the three-door hatch. What you’ll see in 2023 is that we’ve clearly modernised it by taking a big step – the biggest step in the last 20 years – but it will be unmistakably a Mini.”
Poised to be offered in both three-and-five-door bodystyles again with the future of the cabriolet uncertain, the hatch will reportedly be motivated by petrol and electric power with more emphasis likely to be placed on the latter. Not expected to continue though are the diesel units in the Cooper D and the Cooper SD.
“The closer we’re coming to the next generation of what Mini is known for – the three-door hatch – the more careful we need to be to not change too many things in a single step. We’ll keep what is well known for being a Mini: that’s not just design features but the proportions, compact feel and friendly personality,” Mini Head of Design Oliver Heilmer confirmed to the publication.
Despite the shortage of details, expect more, including possible pre-production testing and therefore test mules sightings, to emerge over the next few months.