How does an automaker like Mini, which has built its brand on its boxy compact footprint, adapt to a world dominated by crossovers and SUVs? Very carefully. The automaker announced in October that it’d launch two new crossovers while focusing on electrification. One of those will be the next-generation Mini Countryman, but the company’s 3-Door Cooper hatch will also undergo a thorough redesign. And it could be revolutionary.
Mini boss Bernd Körber told Autocar that the company likens the hatch to the Porsche 911 – a brand icon. That makes fiddling with the design a complicated matter for the automaker, though Körber isn’t sugarcoating what the next-gen model could look like when it debuts in 2023. According to the boss, it’ll take “a big step – the biggest step in the last 20 years” regarding design, though it’ll stay true to Mini’s design philosophy. Mini design chief Oliver Heilmer told the publication that the team expressed caution in changing too much all at once.
Gallery: Mini Hardtop refresh spy shots
Previous reports have suggested that the next-gen Mini hatch will shrink in size while gaining electrified powertrains as the company focuses on its successes in China. They will still offer petrol-powered ones, too. The new 3-Door Hatch and Countryman crossover are but two new models the automaker is prepping. A new compact crossover is coming along with other models that’ll further expand the brand lineup. Just last month, Mini revealed the Vision Urbanaut EV concept that looks more like a VW Microbus than a Mini. It’s concepts like the Urbanaut that preview Mini’s design direction.
The next-gen Mini Cooper hatch won’t arrive until 2023. That’s likely when we’ll begin to see the rest of the revamped lineup rolling out with reveals and teasers. That’s also the year the company will start producing all of its all-electric models In China.