2023 MINI hatchback: specs, details and prototype review

The next-generation MINI hatch will be available with petrol or electric power; and we’ve sampled an electric development car

MINI Electric prototype driving
  • MINI hatchback to become more compact
  • Choice of petrol or electric powertrains
  • New MINI 5-door reportedly in the works

The next MINI hatchback is due to arrive in the second half of 2023. It will be slightly smaller than the model it replaces, but more spacious inside. The range will again consist of petrol and electric versions, and you can read about our prototype ride in a next-generation MINI Electric further down the page.

Based on recent official images of a camouflaged pre-production car, our exclusive image suggests how the car might look when it hits the road.

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Once again, the MINI is set to feature oversized headlights in a bid to make it look smaller. It’s hard to say how much smaller it’ll be but sufficient space inside for four adults will remain. It looks like the windscreen is set at a shallower angle than the current model but otherwise the styling changes are likely to be fairly minimal.

The electric versions will be built in China, with two different battery sizes available for the first time. No technical specifications have been released yet, but we understand that the entry-level version will offer around 40kWh and the flagship models around 50kWh. Range will be better than the current MINI Electric, which only manages up to 145 miles on a charge. With the all-new car, the entry model should manage 180 miles, while 250 miles seems likely from the bigger battery.

Petrol versions will be built in the UK at MINI’s Oxford plant. Initially there was no replacement planned for the current MINI 5-door hatchback, but it now appears that the brand has reversed this decision and there will be a more practical version of the hatchback.

The 2023 MINI hatchback is due to be the most efficient version yet thanks to the latest petrol and electric powertrains. Tweaks to the car's body, including curved bumpers and redesigned wing mirrors, have improved its aerodynamics too. It’s also more or less guaranteed that this will be the MINI hatch offered with an internal combustion engine, with the brand set to go completely electric by 2030.

The interior, which has not yet been revealed, is set to be suitably futuristic, with a huge screen sweeping across the majority of the dashboard containing all the necessary dials and infotainment systems. MINI has also promised all-electric John Cooper Works performance variants.

The new MINI lineup

By 2030, all models in the MINI lineup will be fully electrified. The BMW-owned brand has already announced plans for a whole new generation of sustainable, electric vehicles.

Say goodbye to the MINI Clubman with its distinct dual rear doors, as our fascination with SUVs will lead to MINI eventually replacing this model with a compact crossover similar to the Nissan Juke or Ford Puma.

The MINI Countryman is due to grow in size to compete with rivals such as the BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA. The plug-in hybrid powertrain will also be axed in favour of a choice between purely petrol or electric powertrains.

Finally, MINI has announced something of a wildcard to be entering the range: an MPV made to sit alongside the next-generation Countryman. Based on the quirky MINI Urbanaut concept car, this new model is said to channel the “original mindset of the brand” by being the “most efficient MINI in terms of physical footprint and interior room”. This is likely to be the size of a family hatchback, such as the Mazda3, and is expected to be on sale by the end of the decade.

MINI Electric prototype review by James Brodie

MINI Electric prototype driving - rear

We travelled to Sweden’s frozen lakes to sample a camouflaged MINI Electric development mule. It’ll be a little while before we actually drive an production example, but the comparison between the current car and the next-generation prototype is interesting nonetheless.

The MINI Electric is set to ride on a bespoke platform, with a longer wheelbase (the distance between front and rear wheels) than the outgoing car. Combined with the shorter overhangs front and rear, it memes there should be an improvement in passenger space. This increased room will be enhanced by the inclusion of a totally flat floor inside.

MINI’s engineers have based themselves in the Arctic Circle to ensure the car works well in cold weather, and that crucially it’s as efficient as possible to preserve range. The stability systems can also be fine-tuned on the icy surfaces, and our test car seemed adept at minimising wheelspin. Hot-weather testing and high-speed runs are yet to come, while we’ll be able to get a better grasp on the handling once we get the chance to drive the MINI Electric on a tarmac road.

Our guide, MINI engineer Klaus Bramer, explained that the new MINI Electric is slightly lighter than the car it’ll replace, and the centre of gravity is lower as well.

”We have a larger wheelbase and wider track to make it more comfortable. With the centre of gravity we can make it more agile than the last one; it feels more playful”.

”We have 18 months to go and right now it is driving pretty good. I’m pretty sure our customers will be happy with it”, he added.

Can’t wait to buy a new small electric car? Click here to see our Top 10 best small electric cars you can buy in 2021

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