Mini Reveals Updated Retro-Futuristic Interior for the New Cooper
Mini has released interior images of its next-generation Cooper hatchback. While the model is technically called the “Mini Hatch,” with variations of Cooper denoting the trim, the new car will do away with all that and get back to basics.
Everything else is throwing the model well into the future with one important caveat. Tomorrow’s Cooper will boast the brand’s latest technology and a dashboard that’s supposed to draw inspiration from the 1959 original with all the hallmarks of the digital era.
The very first Mini boasted an austere cabin with instrumentation limited to a singular speedometer located in the center of the dashboard. While the company would eventually place a few other gauges on either side, the original was about as minimalist as an automobile gets.
Starting with the 2025 Cooper Electric, Mini will begin offering a modernized version of the concept. Based on the images shared by the manufacturer, future models will have a rounded center screen taking care of most of the vehicle’s functions. While there does appear to be some physical switchgear located beneath it, controls seem to be limited to the hazard lights, driving modes, and a couple other items (perhaps climate control). The steering wheel also appears to yield a few physical buttons of its own.
Mini is clearly keeping simplicity at the top of its list. There’s a small head-up display in front of the driver that’s likely to indicate the vehicle’s present speed and fuel status. But that’s it. With the exception of a handful of models (e.g. Tesla Model 3) this is probably one of the most minimalist interior designs we’ve seen.
We’ve seen this backfire before. When Volkswagen launched the Mk8 Golf, the broad consensus was that the vehicle itself was excellent. But swapping analog controls to rely on the infotainment screen, touch-sensitive panels, and haptic feedback sensors on the steering wheel effectively spoiled the car. While some didn’t mind the changes, others claimed it was enough to cross the GTI off their wish list entirely.
Having driven one myself, it’s not quite as bad as some reviewers made it out to be. But it does indeed harm an otherwise stellar performance hatchback. My guess was that VW assumed it could snatch some cool points by digitizing the interior and save itself some money by not having to lean on suppliers providing it with a bunch of buttons and knobs. Unfortunately, retaining them would have resulted in a better product.
This may also be what’s in store for the Mini Cooper. But its clientele may not mind as much as VW fans and BMW Group could ultimately end up implementing it a little better that Volkswagen did. At the very least, it can be said that the Mini’s new interior looks incredibly novel. Based on the people I know who have a hankering for Mini products, that’s probably going to appeal to them.
Mini has said the car will play host to various “experience modes” that change the interior. This includes the knitted dashboard that’s actually incorporated into the vehicle’s ambient lighting themes. Your author would assume those themes change depending on what driving mode you’re in, with the instrumentation following suit.
From the sound of things, this is going to be how most Mini products look on the inside in the coming years. While the electrified Cooper gets the updated interior first, the gasoline-powered model will likewise be affected. Word on the street is that the Countryman will see a similar dashboard layout and the company has said it plans to totally revamp its lineup starting in 2025.
[Image: BMW Group]
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