Mini Reveals Updated Retro-Futuristic Interior for the New Cooper

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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2 of 26 comments
  • VoGhost VoGhost on Jul 21, 2023

    I'm convinced the big round screen is just to troll TTAC curmudgeons.

  • Downunder Downunder on Sep 05, 2023

    Do you want a minimalist mini? 1965 Morris Mini 850. Round mechanical central speedo, fuel gauge at the bottom with three idiot lights, left indicator, generator warning, and right indicator. 😁 Radio was a 3-transistor radio stuck into the parcel shelf in front!

  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys dudes off the rails on drugs and full of hate and retribution. so is musky.
  • Big Al from Oz Musk and Trump are of the same ilk, except Musk's IQ is a damn site higher than Trumps. Musk like Trump is only into himself. Musk doesn't care about Trump only Musk. Musk sees more dollars if Trump wins.Hey, I'm Big Al again!3
  • Rover Sig We have a car with two fake exhausts in the bumper, but a large shiny muffler visible hanging down on one side, not aligned with the fake exhaust exits. Horrendous. I had to paint the shiny muffler with high-temp black paint to make it less visible. Exhaust pipes were meant to be round and hang below the bumper, and they can be made quiet or loud as the engineers like. But fake exhausts rank down there with fake intake vents on the side of that old Buick.
  • EBFlex Of course it does. What a silly question
  • Buickman Elon is a phony.