Not long after our own spy photographers snapped the new Mini 3-door undergoing winter tests in Europe, the car manufacturer itself has detailed the testing regime of the hatch.
The automaker is currently testing the 3-door EV at BMW Group’s winter test center in Arjeplog, Sweden, an area where the electric powertrain can really be put through its paces. Mini notes that driving on snow-covered roads and frozen lakes allow it to refine the steering and chassis feel. Engineers are also tuning the power delivery of the electric drivetrain, the control systems for optimizing traction, and the suspension and damping characteristics.
While the new-generation Mini has been developed to offer an electric variant from the outset, it will also be offered with an internal combustion engine, as will the successor to the current Mini Countryman. Interestingly, the electric models will be underpinned by a completely distinct architecture from the combustion engine variants. Mini’s new electric Hatch will be built in China through its Spotlight Automotive joint venture with Great Wall whereas the combustion models will use an updated version of BMW’s current FAAR platform.
“MINI is on a path of growth and heading towards a fully electric future,” head of the Mini brand, Stefanie Wurst said in a statement. “Our iconic MINI 3-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.”
Visually, a number of changes differentiate the new hatch from the outgoing model with the most evident being the shorter front overhang that reminds of the reborn MINI of the 2000s. Other key updates made are newly-designed taillights that have a triangular shape and will look quite edgy. Found up front will continue to be round headlights, although they will be updated and include LED daytime running lights.
The British automaker has also overhauled the interior of the Mini and installed a large circular infotainment display in the center of the dash. The hatch is also expected to feature a small head-up display.
The new hatch will enter production in the first half of 2023, though we could see a near production study in typical BMW Group fashion making it’s appearance as early as this year to tease the next generation model.