New 2024 Mini Electric hatch shows its skin ahead of big reveal
The new-generation 2024 Mini Cooper electric hatch has surfaced online this week, captured in California as it undergoes filming and photography for the coming onslaught of marketing.
The new-look Mini, posted to Instagram, looks set to enter as the biggest styling revolution the brand has seen in decades – as far as a Mini goes.
The round headlights and huge grille are still present, but both elements are bigger than ever before, surrounded by a more streamlined bumper design than past generations.
This variant, clearly marked as a sporting Cooper S, shows its badges in the usual positions.
The profile or side view is instantly recognisable as a Mini, but again there's a new level of simplicity and minimalism in its character. Never has a car looked more like the silhouette it'd cut on a dark night.
The rear is where the most standout change can be found, with new triangular tail lamps replacing the familiar rectangles of previous models. And, while we have only one photo to work from, it looks as if the Union Jack will continue as the key LED light signature.
The new tail lamps are connected through the centre by a simple black bar, with the Cooper and S badges sitting prominently beneath the familiar Mini logo.
As an all-electric model, this Cooper also has no exhaust pipe to be seen at the rear, with only a smooth grey plastic insert along the bottom of the bumper.
In 2021, BMW confirmed all future electric Mini models will be built in China by GWM.
Announced as part of a larger event discussing the group's future, Mini's move to pure electrification is described as "absolutely ideal" for the "urban brand".
The Mini brand's very last combustion engine will be introduced by around 2025, the group says, with only electric models to be launched from that point.
Mini's range of fully-electric models will account for "at least" 50 per cent of all sales, with every single Mini model available only as an EV "by the early 2030s".
It remains to be seen what this will mean for Mini pricing in Australia, although without a revolution in battery costs, buyers can undoubtedly expect the point of entry to become markedly more expensive.
Right now, the Mini Electric Classic is priced from $55,650 before on-road costs in Australia.
It seems like most European compact EVs in Australia will stick around that $50k price point. The recently announced Fiat 500e will start from $52,500 while the larger but still Qashqai-sized Renault Megane E-Tech will enter from around $70,000.
The new Mini is expected to make its official debut later this month.
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March 23, 2022: New Cooper showcased in cold-weather testing
The 2023 Mini Cooper Hatch is being tested in the Arctic Circle at BMW’s test centre in Arjeplog, Sweden.
While snow and ice driving isn’t relevant to the vast majority of Australians, there’s an important reason for the extreme winter testing. The next generation of Mini Cooper is completely electric, and battery and charging capabilities can suffer in near-freezing weather.
More importantly for the likes of northern Europe and Alpine-like regions in Australia, Mini is also testing the chassis, steering, and general dynamic behaviour of the fourth-gen (since BMW’s takeover) Cooper Hatch.
Mini says the EV tech in the prototypes has already proven itself with a "high degree of maturity at extreme temperatures below freezing".
“Mini is on a path of growth and heading towards a fully-electric future,” said head of Mini, Stefanie Wurst.
“Our iconic Mini three-door maximises the experience for our customers through its electrified go-kart feeling, combined with digitalised touchpoints - and a clear focus on sustainability with a minimal environmental footprint."
Previous teasers and leaked images have shown the next Mini to be more closely following the original car’s ethos of minimalism, with wheels right at the corners of the car and the continuation of its simple design language.
Images from China, however, show a dramatically different rear, with sharp triangular tail-lights replacing the rounded designs of previous generations. It’s not yet completely clear if these are Chinese-market-only versions.
In a conversation with Wheels, previous Mini boss Bernd Korber said the next five years of Mini are “pretty much buttoned up.”
After the new three-door EV, a five-door EV crossover will follow in 2024. Simultaneously, the next Mini Countryman will be built in the BMW Leipzig plant with EV and ICE powertrains available, similar to BMW’s X1 and iX1.
“The plan is to market the compact utility vehicle as a small electric-only crossover, and to position the bigger third-generation Countryman SUV about half a notch above the current model,” Kerber said.