BMW’s Mini hatchbacks have evolved slowly since the launch of the first one—inspired by the 1959 BMC original—back in 2001. The three generations of the two-door hatchback have all shared similar dimensions and closely related design, and these official pictures of a prototype version of the next hatchback make it clear that the pattern is set to continue.
While the images keep the car’s details under a disguised wrap, it’s clear that the dinky proportions and bug-eyed headlights are set to continue. We’d also be surprised if there weren’t Union Flag taillights under the test mule’s covers. Mini has confirmed that both combustion-engine and electric powertrains will be offered, although with the bulk of global production set to be emission-free very quickly; the company says it anticipates 50 percent of sales will be EVs as soon as 2027.
The successor to the Countryman SUV will also arrive in 2023 and is set to be produced by BMW’s Leipzig Plant alongside the X1. It will also offering both ICE and EV powertrains. The company says its last combustion model will be launched in 2025 and could possibly be the cabriolet version of the next hatchback.
BMW has also confirmed it will be producing two pure electric models in China, this presumably part of the joint venture it previously announced with Chinese automaker Great Wall. Reports in the U.K. suggest these will be an ultra-compact model positioned under the Mini hatchback—which seems unlikely to make it to the U.S.—as well as a crossover positioned between the hatch and the next Countryman.
There’s also some good news for fans of Mini’s performance models, as the company confirmed that it is working on ideas for future generation of electric John Cooper Works models. Those are the ones we’re looking forward to most.