Back in the early aughts, BMW relaunched the Mini brand to much acclaim and customer interest, and that makes total sense. That car in Cooper and Cooper S trim was much smaller than other cars on sale at the time, and it exuded a kind of fun minimalism that added personality while keeping the car lightweight.
In the time since then, the cars have gotten bigger, heavier, more complex and luxurious, but that might be a trend that's set to turn around with the introduction of the next-generation Cooper Hardtop, which Mini is showing off -- albeit in a heavily camouflaged form -- in an announcement made on Wednesday.
While we don't have any actual specs, and indeed, don't really know anything about the car, the photos do seem to show off a smaller three-door electric Cooper, akin to the current-gen Mini Cooper SE that we have as a long-term test vehicle, and the car that seems to best harken back to the original new Mini's mission.
Any guesses we take about this next-generation car's specs would be wild speculation, but since that's our favorite pastime, let's try. First, we'd expect the car to see a range increase over the SE's somewhat lackluster EPA numbers. This is partly because of the maturation of technology, etc., but also because Mini is going hard into electrification, with the goal of being an all-electric brand as soon as the early 2030s.
Next, we'd expect Mini to try and get some weight out of the car compared with the current generation. More weight means less range and performance, and we wouldn't be surprised to see the company take a page out of the Mini Strip concept's book by making the cars more minimal again and using more sustainable materials.
Beyond that, it's anyone's guess as to what this car will be like, but we hope it'll keep the SE's grin-inducing power delivery and handling because those are what make it our favorite car in Mini's lineup right now.