The next generation of BMW’s Mini Cooper will retain its iconic retro look but what’s under the hood and inside the dash will be anything but retro.
Ever since BMW picked up the Mini brand in 2000, they've used German ingenuity and efficiency to turn a one-car name into a global multi-car powerhouse. In a tiny package, of course. After all, the name is still Mini.
The third generation Mini hardtop is getting a little dated since entering production in 2014 so that means it’s due for a replacement. Speaking to Driving.ca, BMW Group chief designer Adrian van Hooydonk gave his thoughts on what the upcoming redesign might just look like.
“Our thoughts about the Mini brand are the same as for the BMW brand,” van Hooydonk began. “We’re going to pick up the speed of change, and the new technologies that will become available, like electric drive or connectivity, are going to help us do that. Bigger changes are around the corner, but it will still be a little bit retro.”
Those words might come as a bit of a relief to Mini enthusiasts that were worried the brand might try to go retro-futuristic, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be changes. Mini plans to emphasize its hallmark for making the most out of a tiny package, and that means using what little space is available to the fullest.
But along with that, Mini also stood for simplicity. Van Hooydonk said that there would be a return to Mini’s roots with a cleaner, simpler cabin design.
“Mini started out as a brand that was very clean in terms of design. There were only four switches and one dial [on the dashboard]. We somehow moved away from that because so many more functionalities have entered the vehicle. Let’s say that would be our goal, to arrive back at something that would be as clean and simple as the original but offer the modern technology and safety features of today’s cars.”
As Driving notes, the only way to achieve cleanliness without losing the myriad amount of technology that people expect in cars is to add LCD screens.
Perhaps the most exciting technological boost the Mini will get is a fully electric powertrain. The Mini EV concept was shown at last year’s Frankfurt auto show, and we could be in store for a Mini EV next year.