A proposal for the next-generation Mini, according to reports, is about to be given the go signal for production. The car, which is expected to be released early in 2011, has received a new exterior modification, although it is patterned after the current Mini. The design team of BMW has determined to bring the design architecture of the Mini up a generation, providing the car with a wedge-like appearance and giving the flanks a more sculptured look.
In the interior, the Mini receives a transformation, even though a lot of the switchgear will surely be carried over from the current model. There are other reports suggesting that the interior mods will first be added to the Mini Crossover for next year. From the available spy photos one can see that the body of the Mini has been reengineered at no small cost to BMW.
The car appears to have a clamshell tailgate together with a new front section with a lot shorter hood and a one-piece bumper molding. The most remarkable revision, however, is the higher waistline, which, when merged with the sloping roof, provides the Mini with a highly dynamic and coupe-like exterior.
The shut line of the clamshell is pointed out to have a direct reference to the original Austin Mini's rear body seam. The new Mini, which follows the design philosophy of Gert Hildebrand, the company CEO, comes with more bearing than the current model.
The trapezoidal rear lamps were modified by Hildebrand, providing another acknowledgement of the original Austin Mini. The Mini's front section receives a set of more menacing headlights which are slightly four-sided in contrast to the round in the original model. The hood was shortened as a result of pedestrian protection regulations.
A softer one-piece molding for the nose will be used in the future. The car comes with a larger grill and lower air intake vent, pointing to the possibility that the Mini 3 will be coming with the Valvetronic powerplants from BMW, together with bigger engines compared to the 1.6-liter engine of the current model.
In the interior, the car has a new dashboard appearance including a new upper and lower molding with a different central speedometer. The lower portion of the center console, including the climate control, gearstick surround, and even the steering and circular vents, however, remain unchanged.
Customers will probably see the latest Mini as less of a compact hatch and more of a sporting three-door coupe. By targeting the Audi TT, with a tag of £10,000 less, the carmaker is attempting to guarantee higher showroom transaction prices. [via autocar]