Mini has vowed to become a purely electric brand by the early 2030s, shortly after another brand from the BMW Group, Rolls-Royce, will pull the plug on its V12 engine. Between now and then, the British manufacturer will sell vehicles with both types of propulsion. For this reason, it shouldn't come as a surprise our spies have now spotted prototypes with and without an exhaust tip.
Although they're both Cooper Hardtop models, the cars sit on different platforms and have substantially different designs. Teased in November 2021 before revealing spy shots from China emerged about a month later, the EV hides its new design quite well under camouflage. The leaked photos depicted the hotter S version with completely redesigned taillights while the official images provided by Mini showed the big and round headlights.
Gallery: 2023 Mini EV spy photos
With the Mini Electric Pacesetter serving as the Formula E Safety Car, the automaker might have hinted the zero-emissions hatchback will be getting the John Cooper Works treatment. An older video of the BMW iNext included design sketches of what looked like an electric JCW, which would make sense as the company is gradually switching to EVs.
Speaking of the JCW, the combustion-engined model has been spotted looking more of the same. It gives us the impression it will be more along the lines of a facelift rather than a truly next-gen car. You can tell it's the amped-up version by its roof-mounted rear spoiler and the center exhaust, although it has only one, large tip instead of two smaller ones.
Gallery: 2023 Mini JCW spy photos
Aside from testing the next-gen Cooper S E and an updated JCW, Mini is also preparing the revamped Countryman. It’ll be mechanically twinned with the BMX iX1 and both will be built in Leipzig at the first plant to assemble both Minis and BMWs. Elsewhere, the BMW Group has reached an agreement with Great Wall Motor to form the Spotlight Automotive Limited joint venture and put together electric Minis in China. These will be made at a new factory in the People's Republic where up to 160,000 cars will be assembled annually, some of which will represent GWM's models.
Next-gen Mini models will be pushed upmarket and lose leather from the interiors. Further down the line, an electric convertible will arrive in 2025 and we've heard rumors of a minivan molded after the Urbanaut concept.
Sources: Automedia, CarPix