New MINI Cooper teased ahead of 2023 reveal
The new MINI Cooper will feature a step change of exterior design and fresh technology
MINI is making a change to its most popular model for 2023, replacing the MINI Hatch name with ‘Cooper’. The firm has also given us a fresh look at the new car, with a camouflaged prototype taking the stage at parent company BMW’s annual press conference.
The Cooper name has long been synonymous with sportier versions of the MINI, but starting from 2024 it’ll be a model name in its own right. The Cooper will be unveiled at the Munich Motor Show in September this year, alongside the next-generation Countryman.
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Although the model shown during BMW’s event was an all-electric SE, the Cooper will retain petrol-powered options too. The electric version will be built in China on a platform that was jointly developed between BMW and Chinese SUV maker Great Wall. The petrol-powered model will continue to be built in Oxford, but it’ll be based on BMW Group underpinnings. Despite the different technologies used for ICE and EV versions, they’ll have identical bodyshells, which will remain at around 3,800mm long.
For electric Cooper E models, there’ll be a 40kWh battery, while SE versions will have a 54kWh battery. Both will offer considerable increases in range over the current MINI Electric, with the E potentially reaching 200 miles and the SE getting close to 250 miles.
MINI has hinted that a high performance John Cooper Works (JCW) version of the new car will remain on the cards, even if it goes fully electric. Bernd Körber (MINI’s boss in 2019, succeeded by Stefanie Wurst) previously suggested: “We have to go and define JCW in an electrified context and era. But that’s possible, there’s no problem, no contradiction.”
MINI Cooper EV models will come before the new Countryman and Countryman Electric models, arriving in April 2024. The Oxford-built petrol models – again using 1.5-litre power will be coming in July 2024.
The interior of the new MINI is also on show here and it’s a clear evolution over the current model’s, with the traditional circular readout becoming a huge infotainment screen in the centre of the dashboard.
The brand’s trademark toggle switches have survived the update, but the digital gauge cluster fixed to the steering column of the current car has been swapped for a head-up display mounted on top of the dashboard. The quirky two-spoke steering wheel is new, too.
As for the exterior, we’ve seen a prototype model of the sporty MINI Cooper S testing but it’s clear the final design is pretty much ready and it’s a fairly major departure from previous models. While the MINI has grown with every new iteration, this new car has adopted a more compact design. Some of this can be attributed to MINI’s growing range of cars above the Hatch, but it should also provide closer competition to the smaller Fiat 500.
The headlights and front bumper are quite similar to the current car’s, sharing the same bulbous styling. However, the windscreen has been raked back a little further, probably to help improve aerodynamics and maximise the amount of range for the MINI Electric variant.
MINI has given the Hatch’s rear end a much more thorough overhaul. There’s a new set of trapezoidal tail lights unlike anything we’ve seen on a MINI before, connected by a fresh trim piece running across the tailgate.
The front and rear overhangs look considerably shorter than on the current model, but it’s also possible that the car’s wheelbase will be the same as its predecessor’s.
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