2014 Mini photo teaser
* Official image follows online leak * New chassis allows five-door model * Official debut due before the end of 2013...
This is the 2014 Mini, teased by the manufacturer after spy footage of the car was leaked online earlier this week.
The yellow example is shown under covers, but elements of its design – including the profile and, most notably, the longer front overhangs – are clearly visible.
BMW's 2014 Mini will make its public debut before the end of this year, and production processes have already been installed at the company's factory in Oxford.
The new car's chassis parts will be shared with the next generation of BMW 1 Series, and they'll be available with two lengths of wheelbase. This will allow Mini to create not only direct replacements for the current three-door and four-door Clubman (on the shorter set-up) but also a five-door model. It will be designed as a direct rival for the Audi A3 Sportback and Mercedes A-Class.
Hopes of a 'mini Mini' appear to be ill-founded, meanwhile. The Rocketman concept car suggested that Mini could be considering an even smaller city car to sit beneath the regular three-door, but official sources say the new model's chassis can't be shortened enough to accommodate that design, so the project has been scrapped.
Mini test mules have been spied with a more conventional dashboard set-up than that of the current car, and it seems likely that the huge central speedometer will fall victim to the changes. Instead, we'd expect a regular speedo and rev-counter behind the steering wheel, and the infotainment system high up in a familiar circle in the centre of the dashboard.
The air-conditioning controls should be mounted lower down, along with toggle switches that are likely to include the ignition start/stop control. Engineers are also likely to use the shared parts with the 1 Series to introduce a version of BMW's iDrive infotainment controller on high-end models.
The engine line-up should be radically different from the current car's because the new Mini is expected to introduce a new line of BMW Group motors. These will be turbocharged three-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, with power outputs from around 115bhp.
The new chassis design can accommodate larger engines of up to 2.0 litres in size, and offer four-wheel-drive transmission as well as front-wheel drive. The hottest JCW variants – rivals for the Audi S3 and Mercedes A250 Engineered by AMG – could use these elements to feature four-wheel drive and have more than 220bhp.
The Mini will continue to be built at Oxford – although BMW expects strong demand for the model, so from 2014 it will also produce the car at a former Mitsubishi factory in the Netherlands.