Based on previous spy photos, we know the next-generation Mini Cooper won't stray far from its familiar shape. Now, we don't have to speculate about what's underneath the camouflage, because spy images from a recent photo shoot leave nothing to the imagination. And we mean nothing.
This is the new Mini Cooper in EV form, believed to be an SE trim. Our spy photographer in Los Angeles managed to capture several images of the blue Mini that was apparently being used for photo and video work. Indeed, one photo shows a black Porsche Cayenne camera rig parked behind it, while another catches the Cooper in traffic following the blacked-out SUV. Through it all, we see absolutely no camouflage, not even covering up badges. At this point, all that's left is for Mini to make it official.
While the overall shape is immediately recognizable as a Mini, there are notable changes to the next-gen version. New oval headlights are larger with dual horizontal elements inside. They sit atop a front fascia that is smoother overall, lacking corner vents but brandishing a slightly larger grille surround with squared corners. There are no fender adornments, but we do see curious white circles near the fenders. Are they related to filming?
At the back, we finally have a clear look at the new taillights. They are much smaller overall, switching from a rectangle to a triangle shape with the Union Jack still displayed when lights and brakes are activated. The lights are connected by a prominent strip of black trim across the rear hatch, and below, a new rear fascia incorporates vertically oriented reflectors in scallops on the edges. This is an electric model, so you won't find exhaust outlets.
At this point, it's worth noting that electric and internal-combustion next-gen Minis will co-exist, and they will carry some unique styling cues to set them apart. Among other things, we expect to see fender emblems for combustion-powered models, and of course, the grille will have openings for air to enter. Combustion engines will incorporate a 48-volt mild hybrid system for added efficiency.
As for the Mini seen here, reports say there will be two EVs offered with different battery packs. The starting point will be a 40-kWh pack, with the up-spec SE model wielding a 54-kWh pack. That should give the new Cooper a range of around 240 miles under WLTP testing, which tends to be generous. Buyers will have a choice between 181 or 215 horsepower.
It's surprising to catch this model fully exposed in public. Such sightings often mean a debut is imminent, but we don't expect an official event until later this year. Once that happens, it should go on sale in the summer of 2024. Depending on the timing, it could be a 2024 or 2025 model-year vehicle.