Apart from introducing more crossovers and electric models in the future, the next-generation 3-door Mini is coming in 2023 and its design is expected to be thoroughly modernised.
Car designers have a tough job, particularly those tasked with taking a brands heritage, such as Mini, into the future. The classic, boxy shape of the 3-door Mini is widely recognised and much-loved around the world, but how does one preserve that design heritage and take the model into the future in a meaningful way?
Mini will be grappling with this challenge as it works on the next-generation 3-door Mini. In an Autocar interview with Mini brand boss, Bernd Körber, stated that “What’s important is that the entire portfolio needs to have the DNA of Mini. After more than 60 years, it’s necessary that Mini makes a bold step ahead, but it also has to stay true to its core, and that’s the three-door hatch. What you’ll see in 2023 is that we’ve clearly modernised it by taking a big step – the biggest step in the last 20 years – but it will be unmistakably a Mini.”
There’s no doubt that the process needs to be negotiated carefully to achieve the right balance. The approach to the design is an important one as Körber highlights by using the Porsche 911 as a reference, “Don’t screw with an icon” he says, “The 911 has to be carefully developed over time because it’s what Porsche stands for. It’s similar for us, and similar in that at one point Porsche had to make a step beyond what it was associated with, and now they have a much broader portfolio.”
Earlier this year, we reported that Mini was in the process of realigning its model range with electromobility being at the core of the brand’s transition. As such, we will see at least 2 new crossovers, including the all-new Countryman, and a steady rollout of electrification across its range with a major focus on the Chinese market.
However, when it comes to the iconic 3-door Mini hatch, designers need to proceed with more caution.
Mini design chief, Oliver Heilmer, sums it up, “The closer we’re coming to the next generation of what Mini is known for – the three-door hatch – the more careful we need to be to not change too many things in a single step. We’ll keep what is well known for being a Mini: that’s not just design features but the proportions, compact feel and friendly personality.”
We will keep you updated as more details become available.