A Mini will forever have to look like a Mini as that’s what makes it so popular and charming, which is why you shouldn’t be expecting any drastic styling changes from one generation to the other, let alone from a mid-cycle refresh like this one. The light amount of camouflage indicates the cosmetic updates will be kept down to a minimum for the facelifted version slated to debut most likely in the first half of 2018.

Our spies have caught on camera a barely disguised prototype of the Cooper S with the black and yellow swirly pattern applied on and around the lights. You will likely have a hard time identifying the changes made to those LED headlights, but it seems the inner circle will be replaced by an oval light signature. Pretty exciting, isn’t it?

It’s a different story at the back where the taillights will be revamped by getting the Union Jack motif that has been available for quite some time for other different parts of the body, such as the roof and side mirror caps. To get an idea about the design of the rear lights, then look no further than the John Cooper Works GP concept introduced in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Of course, these won’t have the exact same look, but should be similar.

Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept live in Frankfurt
2018 Mini Cooper S spy photo

More camouflage was applied onto the rear bumper in line with parking sensors and you can also see it on the plastic trim for the tailgate handle, but it seems unlikely there are actually some important changes hiding underneath.

Some fresh alloy wheel designs along with a few new colors will round off the changes on the inside. As for the interior, the modifications should be discreet and could include new trim and upholstery options, along with an updated infotainment system. According to a report coming from Motoring File, the engines won't gain any extra power, but will run smoother and will generate lower CO2 emissions. These will be hooked up to an eight-speed automatic transmission as well as a new seven-speed dual clutch gearbox, depending on engine choice.

We will likely get to see the updated four-door Mini Hardtop at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2018.

Photos: CarPix

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Gallery: 2018 Mini Cooper S spy photos

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