Pick your flavour: Queen or Pink Floyd; either way, the British have stated more than once that the show must go on. Though Mini hasn’t been a British-owned marque for over 25 years – the brand has been part of BMW Group since 1994 – it remains a British icon to this day, and that same theme around perseverance is emerging as upcoming facelifts for Mini’s 3 Door, 5 Door, and Convertible are announced.
This is a second facelift for Mini’s core models, which have been holding fast in their third generation since 2014. Is this round of updates meant to keep these products fresh long enough for the brand to complete its transition to electrification? The only official hint we have – though it’s quite a solid one – is that in October Mini announced a plan to build battery electric vehicles in China on a new vehicle architecture beginning in 2023.
Either way, there are no powertrain or structural updates here for now, so most of the important changes are visual. Here’s a look at what Mini fans can expect to see in the upcoming refresh.
The most significant update is the addition of what Mini is calling a multi-tone roof, which will be available with the 3 Door and 5 Door. Rather than being applied as a single colour, the paint transitions from a darker San Marino Blue through to a lighter Pearly Aqua blue and finally to Jet Black. Mini says the painting technique produces a slightly different result with each application.
Available Active Damping
A new active damping system being offered on Mini for the first time adjusts the damping response within 50 to 100 milliseconds and can reduce the damping forces by up to 50 per cent. This system will be available on most variants, but it’s notably not offered on the Mini Cooper SE electric vehicle.
While Mini’s signature round headlight design remains, all models now come with LED headlights as standard equipment.
The grille has been updated to make it slightly larger and to add a thicker gloss black surround and a body colour insert. To the sides of the front fascia, two small vents have been added to create an air curtain around the front wheels for improved aerodynamics.
At the rear, LED Union Jack–styled taillights are now standard on all Minis. A redesigned rear apron repeats the grille’s mesh pattern and adds a body-colour insert.
Three new colours are available: Rooftop Grey and Island Blue are new, and Zesty Yellow has been extended from being exclusive to the convertible and is now offered on all models. On the Piano Black exterior, additional gloss black accents are being added. Five new wheel designs are available in 17- and 18-inch diameters.
The interior design has been simplified with reworked inserts and fewer buttons and switches on the centre console.
A new 8.8-inch infotainment screen sits within a redesigned surround and is driven by a widget-style interface. The surround and other interior lighting now apply two colour schemes, dubbed Lounge in shades of blue and Sport in red. When drive modes are equipped, the lighting adjusts to match the drive mode that has been selected. A new five-inch digital gauge cluster is also available.
The steering wheel has been updated with a simplified design integrating flat buttons in a high-gloss black finish. This is good news for Canadian Mini fans: with this refresh, a heated steering wheel is being offered for the first time.
Newly available features include an electronic parking brake, lane-departure warning, and a stop-and-go function for the active cruise control system.
In a roundtable for Canadian media, Mini head of design Oliver Heilmer explained his design vision and direction for Mini as being one centred around reduction, a principle that was first implemented in the redesigned Countryman first shown in May 2020.
“The inspiration comes from many perspectives in terms of reduction,” Heilmer said. “Everything is getting more intense in terms of information, [yet] devices are becoming more and more simple. There’s no [home] button anymore on an iPhone, for instance. … I try to reduce our Minis exactly for that reason. These elements that are still there, they need to stay important. We need to pay much more attention on those details in order to enhance this impression of what we want to have as Mini.”
Arriving This Spring
The refreshed Mini 3 Door, 5 Door, and Convertible models are due to arrive in Canada in spring 2021. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.