Images of the upcoming refreshed electric Mini Cooper have leaked, showing significant exterior and interior changes including redesigned taillights and a rimless center screen.
The images were taken at a facility in China and posted to Chinese social media. In the photos, the undisguised Mini is accompanied by several other camouflaged models parked nearby. It has no visible tailpipe and a limited amount of air intake on the front end, which suggests that this is an electric model.
The pictured model is badged with Mini’s “S” badging, designating that this is a higher-performance model. The other camouflaged Minis nearby all have the typical hood scoop of Mini’s S models, but the uncamouflaged version does not. These scoops are used for air intake, but electric cars need less air intake than ICE cars do, so the scoop is somewhat superfluous for an EV. The current Mini Cooper SE electric does have a hood scoop, however.
The biggest exterior change is the rear taillights, which change in shape and pattern compared to previous models. They’re also connected by a horizontal black stripe across the whole rear of the vehicle.
Current Mini models have patterns reminiscent of the Union Jack, the British flag, imprinted in their taillights. In the photos, it looks like a similar pattern might still be there but is obscured by vertical black lines covering it and by the triangular shape of the taillights.
On the interior, the dashboard is a significant departure from current Minis. Minis have traditionally had a circular center display, which started off as analog and has become more digital over time. Current Minis have a driver display through the steering wheel and a large center screen display embedded in the dash with buttons and switches around it and encircled by LED accents:
This new Mini seems to throw nearly all of that out the window and start over fresh. It has a flat, bare dash, no driver display, and a floating circular center screen as the main focal point of the car’s infotainment system. The dash has significantly fewer buttons, knobs, and switches than current models, though there are physical controls on the steering wheel and a few (stereotypically-Mini) switches underneath the screen. This lack of physical controls suggests that the circular screen will be a touchscreen.
The small screen in front of the driver is a heads-up display, which is carried over from the current Minis. In current Minis this display pops out of the dash when the car is turned on – so either the photos were taken of a running vehicle, or the HUD just always stays in the operational position in this new Mini model.
Hilariously, the only few inches of camouflage on the vehicle are over the center of the steering wheel, so I guess we’ll have to wait for the full reveal to see what secrets Mini has in store for us there.
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