With development of the next-generation Mini Hatch and Convertible delayed due to Brexit-related uncertainty, Mini is preparing another facelift to tide the current car over until its replacement comes.
CocheSpias photographed this Mini Cooper completely undisguised, revealing the extent of the updates.
These include the substitution of chrome exterior accents for gloss black, tinted headlight elements, and new, vertically-oriented cutouts in the front bumper in place of the current car’s circular fog lights.
The next-generation Mini has been delayed until 2023 per a report earlier this year from Reuters.
“The lifespan of this platform has been extended,” BMW spokesman Maximilian Schoeberl told Reuters. “For cost reasons and because of Brexit.”
BMW is looking to find €12 billion (A$19.5 billion) in savings by the end of 2022. As part of that, it’s cutting the number of powertrain combinations it offers, and reducing vehicle development costs.
With no Brexit deal in place yet, there’s also a significant amount of uncertainty for the German automaker, particularly for a product in a traditionally less profitable segment and against a backdrop of emissions standards forcing automakers to invest in electrification.
The current, third-generation iterations of the Mini Hatch and Convertible were introduced in 2014 and 2015, respectively, though they received a mid-life update in 2018.
That means the current car will have been on sale for almost a decade when it’s replaced, longer than the six-seven year spans of its BMW-engineered predecessors, albeit nothing compared to the 41-year run of the original.
Our spy photographers recently captured a Convertible undergoing testing and, though it’s partially camouflaged, we can see the updated cars should also receive a new rear bumper.
The current cars are the only vehicles on BMW’s UKL1 platform. The larger UKL2 architecture, in contrast, is host to a wide variety of models, from the Mini Clubman and Countryman to the new BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe.
Year-to-date, the Mini Hatch – the brand’s best seller locally – is down 26.8 per cent and the Convertible is down 12.4 per cent.
While all vehicles in the Convertible’s segment have posted year-to-date declines, the Hatch’s tiny segment – consisting of two discontinued models plus the Citroen C3 and Audi A1 –has one model that’s bucking the declining trend. That’s the A1, which is up 78.6 per cent year-to-date.