A new generation is coming soon with big changes in store.
The automotive world is filled with iconic designs that stand the test of time. Ask any gearhead and they'll likely point out the Porsche 911, Mini Cooper, and Fiat 500 as three that were iconic in their day and throughout the years have been reimagined to suit a changing world. Mini might be a far cry from the British brand it once was, despite updated styling cues with Union Jack easter eggs, but that doesn't mean the brand isn't going to leverage its heritage to remain relevant. Ahead of a new, fourth-generation Mini Hardtop slated for a 2023 release, the now German-owned brand has likened its core model to the Porsche 911 and has said that the brand will fully leverage this in its entire model lineup.
In an interview with Autocar, Mini boss, Bernd Korber says the brand firmly believes in the philosophy that you "don't screw with an icon." In relation to the Porsche 911, he said "The 911 has to be carefully developed over time because it's what Porsche stands for," saying that its similar to Mini 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."
Korber goes on to say that the DNA of Mini is essential to growing the brand's portfolio, and that after 60 years, a major change must happen, but that "it also has to stay true to its core, and that's the three-door hatch."
The new Mini Hardtop 3-door is due in 2023, with Korber giving insights into the new model saying that the designers have "clearly modernized it by taking a big step - the biggest step in the last 20 years - but it will be unmistakably a Mini."
Mini design chief, Olver Heilmer, meanwhile, said that the ability to blend heritage and reinvent the brand is a balance that is dealt with daily for the brand. Evolution is important, and he suggested that production versions of the Vision Urbanaut concept unveiled recently could take the brand to new heights, but the 3-door needs to remain an icon and its design needs a more cautious approach.
"We need to not change too many things in a single step," said Heilmer, suggesting the new model will retain its iconic proportions, compact feel, and friendly personality. This correlates with previous reports that the next-gen Mini hardtop would be more compact, but it will also be equipped with both gasoline and electric powertrains. It still remains to be seen whether Mini can successfully pull off the redesign once more, but at least the brand knows it has to stay true to its heritage.