Still heavily cloaked but fully identifiable, the all-new 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop has been spotted on public roads during shakedown runs in Germany. Due to go on sale here early next year, the 3-door hatch appears to be slightly longer and wider than the current iteration. Sharing its basic architecture with several next-gen BMW front-drive models, the new Mini Hardtop looks to have a more prominently raked windshield and rear hatch glass as well as a smaller grille, larger headlamps, thinner A-pillars and more prominent wheel arches. Mini ultimately will incorporate this new platform and similar exterior cues into all of its upcoming models but the Hardtop and its Cooper S variants will be the first -- and for a while, the only - vehicle in the lineup to feature these sweeping revisions.
The cabin of the 2014 Mini is due a similar kind of focused remake that will maintain a direct connection with its classic heritage but reflect a definite step into the future. Best information indicates that the most significant change takes place in its center dash layout. While it carries over the large round shape, the long-vestigial supplemental speedometer finally gets broomed in favor of a new BMW-designed infotainment/climate control interface. In a corollary move, the existing instrument cluster is being revamped to accommodate that change, and improved switchgear and control layouts also are being introduced.
There's still no final word on what powetrains will be used in the 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop line. BMW's new family of lightweight, small-displacement (1.0-1.5-liter) turbocharged 3-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines are strongly rumored to have the inside line as prime motivators in most if not all markets. However, the existing 4-cylinder engines reportedly will fit underhood and are virtually certain to remain in the new Mini Hardtop's carryover siblings. At some point down the line, we might also see a Mini Hybrid roll onto the scene.
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