Mini had vowed to be a pure electric brand by the early 2030s, shortly after another brand from the BMW Group, Rolls-Royce, would drop its V12 engine. Between now and then, the British manufacturer will sell vehicles with both types of drive. For this reason, it should come as no surprise that our spies have now seen prototypes with and without exhaust tips.
Although both are Cooper Hardtop models, the cars are on different platforms and have very different designs. Teased in November 2021 before revealing spy shots from China surfaced about a month later, the EV hid its new design pretty well under camouflage. The leaked photos depict a hotter version of the S with completely redesigned taillights, while official images provided by Mini show the large, round headlights.
With Mini Electric Pacesetter functioning as a Formula E Safety Car, the automaker may hint the zero-emission hatchback will get the John Cooper Works treatment. An old BMW iNext video includes a design sketch of what looks like an electric JCW, which makes sense as the company is gradually transitioning to EVs.
Talking about the JCW, the combustion engine model looks more like it. This gives us the impression that it will be more like a facelift than the next generation car. You can tell that this is an amped-up version of the roof-mounted rear spoiler and center exhaust, although it only has one, big end instead of two smaller ones.
As well as testing the next-gen Cooper SE and updated JCW, Mini is also preparing an updated Countryman. It will be the mechanical twin of the BMX iX1 and both will be built in Leipzig at the first factory that assembles the Minis and BMWs. Elsewhere, the BMW Group has reached an agreement with Great Wall Motor to form a joint venture Spotlight Automotive Limited and assemble the electric Mini in China. It will be made at a new factory in the People’s Republic where up to 160,000 cars will be assembled annually, some of which will represent GWM models.
The next-generation Mini model will be pushed to the top and lose the skin of the interior. Further ahead, an electric convertible will arrive in 2025 and we’ve heard rumors of a minivan being formed after the Urbanaut concept.