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MINI planning "bigger changes" for next Hardtop

by Ronan Glon

We expect to see the fourth-gen model in 2020 or 2021.

It's difficult to describe MINI's design language as anything but evolutionary. Stylists have honed the Hardtop over the course of three generations but it has never drastically changed. The BMW-owned brand is taking a different approach as it develops the next-generation model.

"Our thoughts about the Mini brand are the same as for the BMW brand. We're going to pick up the speed of change," Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Group's design boss, told Canadian website Driving. "Bigger changes are around the corner, but it will still be a little bit retro," he added.

He stopped short of describing what the model will look like, though he pointed out he doesn't feel the least bit constrained by the heritage-laced lines that have characterized the model since its BMW relaunched it. In some ways, the Hardtop will evolve; it will be more tech-focused, for example, and electrification is a must. In other ways, it will go back to its roots.

"MINI started out as a brand that was very clean in terms of design. There were only four switches and one dial [on the dashboard]. Let's say that would be our goal, to arrive back at something that would be as clean and simple as the original but offer the modern technology and safety features of today's cars," said van Hooydonk.

MINI just gave the Hardtop a mid-cycle face-lift so it won't replace the model right away. The line-up will grow next year with the addition of an all-electric model, and we don't expect the fourth-generation car to arrive in showrooms until 2021 at the earliest.

Photo by Ronan Glon.

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