Given the spate of new models Mini has introduced in the past few years, from the Clubman to the Countryman to the Coupe to the Roadster, it sometimes seems like BMW has forgotten about the original model, the plain old Mini Cooper hardtop. It was last redesigned for the 2007 model year, which seems like a long time ago because, well, it is. Which is why Mini will shortly introduce an all-new hardtop Cooper, which our camera spies have captured testing in Europe.
We're told that the new model is codenamed F56, but more importantly, its underpinnings are said to be shared with the next-generation BMW 1 Series. While Mini will continue to put four-cylinder engines underhood, there's presumably a three-cylinder in the works as well, though we're not sure whether that model will make it to our shores.
While we've seen some spy shots of the 2014 Mini Cooper before, these seem to confirm that the car will grow a bit in size, both length and width. We are told that the longer hood and greater front overhang may be the result of fake front body panels, but the new front and rear glass appears to accurately represent the forthcoming production car, which will have a more raked angle to its windshield and rear window.
BMW is expected to start production of the 2014 Mini Cooper early next year.