The new electric Mini is among us, but internal combustion power within the iconic brand isn’t done yet. Camouflaged prototypes with exhaust pipes are still running around, and now we have our first look at the next-gen convertible, apparently in spiffy John Cooper Works trim.
We say that because of the brakes, visible behind the wheels. There are red calipers in there, a feature Mini usually reserves for the top-spec JCW. However, it’s worth noting that the identical wheel design and the center-exit exhaust have been seen previously on camouflaged Mini prototypes without the red brakes. The Cooper S also rocks a center-exit exhaust, and since we’re dealing with a prototype of a next-gen model, changes to trim levels between generations are certainly a possibility.
Either way you slice it, this isn’t the base model Cooper. And though it still wears full camouflage, we do have some idea of the styling since the Mini EV already debuted. It won’t be a carbon copy – feeding an engine requires extra air and we’re expecting larger corner vents in the lower fascia. Headlights should mimic those from the Mini EV, and the rear will obviously sport a fascia with accommodations for an exhaust tip. All indications point to a larger single finisher versus the dual tips of the current model, and the taillights won’t be the triangular design from the EV. They will be new, however, still rocking the Union Jack motif.
Inside, the prototype still has covers on the dash. However, we can clearly see the large round center screen that debuted in the electric Mini. When all the covers are lifted, we’re expecting to find a minimal layout similar to that of the EV. Sadly, that likely means no third pedal with a manual transmission lever in the console. Recent reports point to the stick shift finally going away for the next-gen runabout. As for power, the current four-cylinder range is expected to carry over, though power tweaks are always a possibility. Mild hybrid support could be in the mix, too.
2024 Mini models are already on the automaker’s website, so we’re looking at the 2025 model year for the next generation, convertible and all.