Internal combustion isn’t dead in the Mini just yet.
A petrol version of the 2023 Mini Hatch has been spied during road testing.
Don’t get this Mini Hatch prototype confused with the Chinese Mini Hatch prototype that was spied earlier this week, as they’re entirely different vehicles under the skin.
This spied prototype with its swirly yellow camouflage is built on a heavily modified version of the existing car’s UKL1 platform as previously reported.
It’ll be built at Mini’s Oxford plant in the UK as well, like the existing Mini Hatch.
The camouflage-free Mini prototype was an all-electric Mini Hatch, which is slightly shorter than its petrol-powered counterpart.
It’ll be built as part of a joint venture between BMW and Great Wall Motor (GWM) at a plant in Jiangsu province, China.
The ICE-powered Mini prototype retains the fundamental F56-generation Mini Hatch styling with its bubbly, rounded hatchback silhouette and familiar tail lights with its Union Jack lighting signature.
Our spy photographers noted the petrol-powered Mini Hatch prototype appears to have a slightly shorter front overhang than the current model.
They also commented that its front bumper, grille, headlights and side mirrors seem to be very similar to the spied Chinese Mini Electric prototype.
This is backed up by Mini itself as it revealed official imagery of its upcoming Mini Electric Hatch in camouflaged prototype form in early November.
Pictured: Chinese Mini Electric Hatch spied prototype
It’s not yet confirmed, but the powertrains are expected to carry over from the current generation Mini.
Currently, the Mini Hatch powertrain lineup consists of a selection of turbocharged three- and four-cylinder engines.
Some powertrains could receive some modifications to meet the latest safety emissions although it’s uncertain which ones will.
We are yet to see the interior of the next-generation ICE-powered Mini Hatch, although it could take aspects from the Chinese Mini Electric Hatch.
The Chinese Mini electric Hatch prototype has a strikingly minimalist dashboard with a fabric cover and a leatherette strap on the passenger’s side.
Its steering wheel has just two spokes, and ahead of the driver is a head-up display instead of the digital binnacle.
It’s uncertain if the petrol-powered Mini Hatch will receive this head-up display, as a digital driver’s binnacle only recently became standard across the range.
In the centre of the dashboard is a large free-standing circular slab for the infotainment system with edge-to-edge glass. Underneath there’s a small elliptical pod with a line of physical knobs and switches.
Our spy photographer apparently has intel suggesting the gear selector for the petrol-powered Mini Hatch will move just under the round infotainment display.
Mini has confirmed the three-door Hatch will launch in time for the 2023 model year. It’ll be followed by a convertible, a larger Countryman crossover, and a smaller crossover to bridge the size gap.
Come 2030, every single Mini will be electric. That includes the performance-oriented John Cooper Works brand, which will live on with electric power.
The new-generation Mini Hatch is will remain a staple for the brand. Until the end of November 2021, Mini sold a total of 1743 Hatch models according to VFACTS.
It dominates the luxury light car segment of which it boasts a 70.1 per cent share of sales.
In the background of a couple of spy photographs are a couple of camouflaged BMW prototypes that appear to be for mid-life updates.
There’s a BMW 2 Series prototype with visible camouflage on the rear, as well as a BMW X7 prototype with camouflage on both the front and rear bumpers.