Expected to enter production soon for a debut later this year as a 2014 model, the next-generation of MINI Cooper will bring with it a series of changes to kick off what will be a revamping of the entire brand.
Spy photos of the 2014 MINI Cooper already hint at some of those changes, but AutoCar reports that the car’s styling will be heavily influenced by the Rocketman concept last seen during the 2012 Summer Olympics. The raked headlights shown in AutoGuide.com’s latests spy photos would tend to confirm that.
While the wilder aspects of the concept car are, of course, not going to reach production, the production car will be a five-door hatchback with the rear seat doors more meant for children to enter and exit the car.
The car is expected to run with a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine making 120 hp or 180 for the Cooper S.
Built on BMW’s UKL1 platform, the new MINI will be one of many more to share the platform in a move that BMW says will reduce costs while improving performance, handling and quality across what’s set to be a large front-wheel drive product range. The platform will give BMW improved flexibility in its product range because it comes in at least two lengths and seat heights.
Among those new products, BMW will migrate its current 1 Series to the 2 Series name while shifting the 1 Series moniker to its future front-wheel drive models. At the same time, MINI is expected to offer a fresh product range including a car called the Traveller, which will be a small family car similar to the BMW Concept Active Tourer seen in Paris last September.
The Countryman is expected to move farther from the rest of the product line to be more of an SUV and less of a five-door supermini while the Clubman will grow longer and wider in future models.
There’s also talk of a roadster to compete more directly with the Mazda MX-5 and in total, MINI’s product family could swell with up to 11 new models.
GALLERY: 2014 MINI Cooper