When spy photos of a new Mini appear, there is really no way to miss that it is a Mini. The brand design direction has evolved very slowly over the years, which brings us to this five-door Cooper. Like the three-door, the Mini gets minor pinch and kink. However, we think this one might have something else in store. More on that in a bit.
We just saw three-door test vehicles on June 29, even though a vehicle in this fleet was a five-door. The shot was from the front, not giving a good profile overview (and no glance at the back), so this is our first real taste of the changes. Expect a modified front fascia with a larger grille and vertical vents in the corners, possibly housing LED high beams. At the rear, the familiar central outlet exhaust remains but the mesh insert moves higher on the fairing. The reflectors are moved, and that’s it.
Of course, these changes are specific to the Cooper S model, but is it a Cooper S? On the tailgate, we can clearly see Cooper S badge hidden under black tape, but our spy sources believe that something else is happening under the skin. Rather than boast of the 189-horsepower (141-kilowatt) turbocharged four-cylinder, this prototype could have the same slightly larger Countryman SE plug-in hybrid powertrain. Thus, 220 hp (164 kW) of gasoline and electricity could be under the hood.
With that being our first observation, we don’t have much else to do for the probability of the hybrid powertrain. Offering this electrified configuration in a performance package could help Mini meet strict WLTP regulations, and the five-door could offer a little more convenience to efficiency-conscious buyers. It’s also possible that the PHEV could keep a Cooper S designation as seen on the tailgate, or it could be a typical Cooper S.
In any case, Mini may be able to release its updated range later this year.