The relentlessly unconventional Mini Cooper looks to be going a lot less unconventional for its third generation, at least on the inside. A glimpse of what appears to be Mini's future was snapped by KGP Photography in the Arctic Circle, and outside, there looks to be little change except for slightly larger dimensions. Inside, though, the giant-speedo-and-toggle-switch IP looks to be binned in favor of a soberly BMW-esque dash cluster and horizontally laid-out central console.

If this interior is accurate and not just an elaborate – and expensive – engineering mule bait-and-switch, then it signals a rather marked change in the Mini way of life. The theories of why it might be the real deal are, again, the testing expense, the expectation that the Mini will get a BMW 1 Series GT brother and the platform sharing necessitated more commonalities, or that designers might simply be over the still-unique first- and second-generation interior design (a retro-minded setup that both delights and enrages with its haphazard ergonomics). What's every bit as likely, however, is that this isn't a Mini at all – it's a next-gen 1 Series wrapped in a Mini mule shell.

While we all wait to find out if the Mini cabin dream is over, you can catch more high-res glimpses of this odd creature in our gallery.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 81 Comments
      zanarditypes
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm all for a retro-free Mini interior, so the headline is exciting. The pictured interior, on the other hand, is not the answer. It's retro in a 1995 BMW kind of way.
        cashsixeight
        • 2 Years Ago
        @zanarditypes
        Interiors of early 90s hondas and mid 90s german cars like BMWs and Audis were amazing. I hate new car interiors.
      Christopher
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's amazing how many times this test mule has shown up in ill researched and misinformed articles over the last year. This isn't a next gen MINI anything. This a a new FWD BMW test mule heavily disguised in current gen hacked up MINI outer garments. Move along people nothing new here to see...
      RustyShackelford
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wouldn't call that retro-free. I'd call it retro-early-90s-japanese.
      Dump
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think the swap from retro to conventional makes sense. The retro styling made poor usage of space. In a conventional design, they can include a larger nav screen and place a lot of the necessary buttons in more convenient locations --- ability to offer more access to more systems & car information on hand.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      digitalwatch
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't get all the problems people have with the Mini's interior ergonomics. I have a 2010 Mini Cooper S and I can reach everything in the car from the drivers seat and the only time I really have to move to reach something is if I want to open the passenger door or reach something in the very back when the seats are folded down. Some things are in different spots than other cars but it takes all of 20 minutes to get use to the differences. I think the speedo looks great, especially at night when you unlock the car from behind and all the lights turn on and you see that everything in the center console is designed to look like the Mini logo. Also if you are in a situation where you are so clueless that you can't see your speed on the enormous gauge and you have no idea how fast you are going with out looking at it, then you're just a terrible driver and should probably do everyone a favor and stay of the road.
      Dump
      • 2 Years Ago
      It would be nice to see the retro styling "grow up" & be developed in a more conventional design scheme that makes better use of the space they have to work with. I think that was the problem with many retro vehicles in today's market --- the automaker doesn't know when to just cut the retro stuff out and evolve the design into a more current design that fits with the other vehicles in the lineup. Cars like the PT Cruiser, New Beetle, Thunderbird, etc have all had their separate issues in the retro category. VW, I think, did very well with the newest New Beetle design --- making it look a bit more aggressive but now it more acceptable as a modern design having "grown up".
      Dante
      • 2 Years Ago
      It could be some kind of place holder, I mean it doesn't look like a Mini at all, it's like they put a BMW interior in there.
      BRKF06
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bad idea if true. As a former Mini owner the toggles and oddness made the car.
      Lachmund
      • 2 Years Ago
      the new mini and the new 1 series van will share the platform, components AND the cockpit, as it seems.
        futuramautoblog
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Lachmund
        No way. BMW won't let either BMW nor MINI to dilute their brands like that. They are not GM (old GM at least...) If you know anything about brands and the marketplace, you can instantly tell that it's really a no brainer. Oh, and I will bet my own MINI that it's only a test mule. ;)
      jamiescale
      • 2 Years Ago
      I agree w/ the below.... No way BMW would mess w/ Mini's retro, clown-car interior. Its part of the little guy's charm.
      Signe
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Looks like an interior from an 80's Honda." cause it is! bs post
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