Mini

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MINI has begun testing its all-electric fifth-generation 3-door at BMW Group’s winter testing in Arjeplog, Sweden.

According to its maker, the compact hatch is “now completing a major chapter in its series development” as components including the electric driveline, high-voltage battery pack, charging technology and associated electronics are put through their paces in below freezing temperatures.

As well as demonstrating their ability to ensure extreme temperatures, the prototype models are being assessed for drive, steering and braking performance in frozen environs where Mini says it is best able to evaluate the sensitivity of various driveline and chassis components and harmonise their relationships with one another.

The 3-door hatch will be the first new member of the fifth-generation Mini family to go on sale next year with as yet unnamed successor of the Countryman crossover – which will be offered with both thermal and electric drivetrains – to follow shortly thereafter.

“Mini is on a path of growth and (is) heading towards a fully electric future,” said Mini head of brand Stefanie Wurst.

“Our iconic Mini 3-door maximises the experience for our customers through its electrified go-kart feeling combined with digitalised touchpoints, and a clear focus on sustainability with minimal environmental footprint.”

Ms Wurst said electrification of the Mini 3-door allowed designers the opportunity to think “fundamentally differently”, focussing on style, attentional to detail, a sense of tradition and a passion for innovation.

The new model is said to combine many of the hallmark styling cues of the traditional Mini range, while introducing the latest technology and “inspiring driving characteristics”.

Earlier last year, Mini design chief Oliver Heilmer said the electric Mini range will usher in an entirely new design language which recaptures the simplicity of earlier models.

“We are always reflecting on the 1959 (Morris) Mini… We look at what’s ornamental and what we could take out, (but) the footprint is most crucial with the hatch,” he explained.

“Size is less of a problem with the other models. I want each model to be the smallest in the segment, or visually the smallest (even if) small may not be helpful for sales.”

The next-gen Mini range will feature five body styles in all. The model will ride on the group’s FAAR front-drive architecture with combustion engines expected to carryover from the current range.

Mini has said previously that the 2023 Mini range will be the last to feature internal combustion power with the brand moving to offer pure electric motivation from 2025 – the same year the next Mini Convertible is slated for release.

By 2027, the brand aims to have at least half of all models sold powered by electricity with a completely electric range on sale by the end of the decade.

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