Our first look at the gas-powered Mini reveals that the electric model will be almost indistinguishable.
Our spy photographers have been very active as the winter testing season picks up, and they've just sent us our first look at the production-bound Mini Cooper Hardtop. We've already seen sporty versions of the hatchback, as well as its electric iteration, but this is our first look at the regular combustion-powered model with its production lights. We are also afforded a clearer view of the new hatch shape, which comes as a result of those new taillights, and the differences between this and the EV are more apparent in these images. So, let's take a closer look at what's new.
According to our sources, the ICE and electric Mini models will look almost identical. However, the door handles on the combustion model will be pronounced traditional units, while those on the EV will be flush with the body. The other big difference lies in the front grille, which in this case, is a grille rather than a blanking plate. We can also see that the wing mirrors have swelled in size, but thankfully, that trait has not been taken on by the headlights, which appear to be of a similar size to those on the existing model. The taillights, on the other hand, seem to be a little larger. It's difficult to say for sure, though, as the final design is obscured by heavy camouflage. That being said, the Union Jack graphics will remain.
As carefully hidden as the new taillight design is, their larger footprint has necessitated a change in the shape of the hatch, but we doubt that the new Cooper will be any less practical than the current model as the car appears to be slightly larger overall. Other changes include a differently shaped fuel filler cap.
Speaking of the powertrain, a 48-volt mild-hybrid system is expected to feature on most models. The Cooper and its sporty Cooper S sibling are expected to launch first, with the John Cooper Works variant to follow. As for when exactly, we don't yet know, but a reveal towards the middle of 2023 seems likely.