And it will be joined by other body styles too.
Mini is one of those brands, much like Lexus and BMW, that loves to bring out a special edition. There have been numerous just this year already, with the most recent being rather confusing. But is Mini doing this to hide the fact that the Cooper Hardtop is aging, hoping that we just won't notice? Maybe, but that's okay because the British brand is set to completely overhaul its range so that the next Cooper is right up there with the very best. According to Autocar in the UK, Mini confirmed that over the next five years, the company's model range "will undergo rationalization and a big push towards electric powertrains."
What does that mean, exactly?
As you may know, there is already a Mini EV, namely the Cooper Electric. But this car was developed on a platform that wasn't originally intended to support electrification. Therefore, the next electric Hardtop will ride on the Spotlight EV platform but will still feel like "a real Mini." This will be a dedicated model rather than a modified version of the regular Cooper and could offer around 185 miles of range from a 40-kilowatt-hour battery that produces 181 horsepower. A Cooper S version of the EV will come with 221 hp and a 50-kWh battery with a range of around 250 miles.
As for the regular Hardtop, Autocar reports that Mini will be making the core Cooper a little shorter, particularly at the front overhang, with this intended to bring the overall design closer to that of the original from 1959 and the revival model we were first introduced to at the turn of the millennium. Ornamental elements like the clamshell hood and black plastic wheel arch cladding will be dropped to achieve a simpler design, but the two-door convertible and five-door hatchback will return with a "much improved" design.
These gasoline and electric Hardtops will be developed alongside each other, with the gas cars to ride on an evolution of the existing FAAR (Frontantriebsarchitektur) platform. The powertrain lineup is expected to be similar to what it is today, but diesel versions won't be offered in parts of the world that used to gain access. Mild-hybrid assistance won't be a surprise, but a plug-in hybrid powertrain has been ruled out. As before, the suspension will utilize MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link setup at the rear. Most other vehicles in this class use a cheaper torsion beam, but Mini believes that the feel you get from the more complex setup is worth the expense, as this helps a Mini handle as a Mini should.
The electric model should drive great too, ultimately weighing less than the current model despite a bigger battery and offering a lower center of gravity along with slightly rear-biased weight distribution.
The new Mini models are around 18 months out from production, but the wait will certainly be worth it.