Usually, when manufacturers test the new generation of a model, they fit it with a camouflage suit to hide as many details as possible. And usually, spy photographers are on hand somewhere in the vicinity to snap shots of the models when they’re out and about. The images are then sold to those media wanting to be the first with a scoop.
Mini has cut to the chase this time – cutting out the middleman, if you will – by releasing the first images of the next generation of its Cooper... with its camouflage suit on. As a strategy, it's quite original.
So what do these pictures show us?
Immediately apparent is that the model keeps its unique style – and that’s just fine. Anything else would have been shocking. However, the camo does its job, and when it comes to details many elements are still under wraps. That said, some shots are revealing enough to give an idea of what we'll be getting - or not getting - with this fourth generation of the British icon.
First of all, we can see that the Mini's typical styling features, such as its round headlights, almost flat roof and vertical lights, have been retained. Then, interestingly, the headlights are no longer integrated into the hood. In fact, that hood looks more conventional, which removes an interesting touch from the design. The door handles also seem to be more integrated to the body. For the rest, what could be different from before remains well hidden.
Last December, Mini's top boss, Bernd Körber, summed up the work that would be done with the new generation of the model:
“What you'll see in 2023 is that we've clearly modernized it by taking a big step — the biggest step in the last 20 years — but it will be unmistakably a Mini.”
- Bernd Körber
He added that internally, the motto of the project was "don't screw with an icon."
As for the brand's future, like everywhere else it seems, Mini plans to become an all-electric vehicle maker by the early 2030s. Of course, we'll have to see how quickly that happens and what the different timelines will be across the different markets in which the company sells its wares.
More information on the next generation of the Mini Hardtop will be revealed in the coming months. The coupe is expected to debut next year as a 2023 product.
The next-generation Countryman is also expected to enter production in 2023, as is a high-performance electric version of the John Cooper Works. The division also promised to launch an SUV that it described as “small” and will be offered exclusively with an electric drivetrain.