“We really started out with a clear assignment that we are doing a successor to a successful design. And we referred to it as the hero,” says head of design Anders Warming, who joined Mini shortly after the initial sketch phase in late 2010.
Taking elements from Frank Stephenson’s first design and the second generation developed under the direction of Gert Hildebrand, the design team set off “to build on the icons,” and create the next phase in Mini’s design story.
“I always refer to designing a Mini as 50 per cent, heritage and 50 per cent innovation,” says Warming. “If I were to have an over-proportion of innovation, we would probably upset a lot of diehard Mini fans. Contrary, if we did smaller steps and did mainly 60-70 per cent heritage and just a little bit innovation, then we wouldn’t be doing our job right.”
Following this premise, essential Mini-typical design elements such as the hexagonal grille and round headlamps were modernised.
As expected, the new Mini has increased in every dimension. It is 98mm longer, 44mm wider and 7mm higher than the car it replaces, yet has retained its short front and rear overhangs. With a 28mm longer wheelbase and larger front (+42mm) and rear (+34 mm) track width over its predecessor, there is more knee, head, shoulder and cargo space than ever before.