Some will love it, some will hate it.
We've been wondering what Mini plans to do with the next generation of its popular Cooper Hardtop. A couple of months ago, Mini's design chief Oliver Heilmer revealed that the Cooper would not be changing very much, although the platform would be revised to better accommodate an electric powertrain. Then in early November, Mini revealed its first teaser of the new hatch, complete with cheeky fake taillight housings.
We talk about those taillights specifically because Greg Kable, an automotive journalist based in Germany, has just leaked the full design, and the rear is where the greatest change has taken place. Take a look at the photos below, where you'll see that the new Mini is both different and traditional all at once.
UPDATE: Our spy photographers have caught Mini testing the next generation combustion-engined hardtop coupe. We've added these photos below. As you can see, the overall styling appears to be very similar to that of the EV version. Size-wise, our sources claim the new Mini isn't any larger than the current model. Expect the next Mini hardtop ICE and EV variants to debut in 2023 as 2024 models.
Although this new generation will be the last to offer internal combustion, the design already looks very much like what you'd expect to find on an electric vehicle, particularly since there isn't much area taken up in the front by intake grilles. The angle from which the shot of the rear is taken doesn't show us the tailpipes, but one thing is very different compared to the camouflaged cars, namely that the hood intake seen on the Cooper S (which is the model seen in these leaked photos) is not carrying over to the production car's design.
This could suggest that the new Cooper S will be hybridized, but some form of combustion is guaranteed by the fuel filler door. While you're checking that out, note the classy, flush-fitting door handles.
As for the design's aesthetic quality, we've seen both love and hate for the new look, both on social media and around our office. Those new taillights are certainly polarizing and a fairly radical departure from what we've seen in the past, but recent spy shots indicate that the new model will retain the Union Jack design in the taillight clusters. Elsewhere, it's a modernization of existing design cues like a floating roof, round headlights, and a three-door body.
We also get our first look at the cabin, which is once again a tech-laden take on a traditional look. A head-up display looks as if it will replace the driver info display, while a massive, circular media screen ties in with toggle switches on the dash. On the whole, we think this looks fantastic and could very well attract new buyers to the brand.