Mini Cooper: Third-generation hatch not so mini

A prototype of the all-new Mini Cooper hatch has been spied undergoing testing on public roads in Europe.
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Due to hit showrooms before the end of 2013, the third-generation Mini Cooper hatch – codenamed F56 – will be longer and wider than the current hatch, creating a more spacious cabin better equipped to accommodate rear-seat passengers.

It will ride on a new front-wheel-drive platform with a longer wheelbase that should improve the car’s stability and dynamic performance.

From these spy shots we can see the headlights of Mini III have a bulbous, three-dimensional shape while the grille is thinner and longer, adding width to the new front end.

The bonnet has a more dramatic slope than the current model, and the bumper will also get a new look, seemingly creating a longer front overhang.

The flared plastic wheel arches remain, as does the floating roof design, although it will be perched above front and rear windows that are more heavily raked than before.

The angled back window creates a more prominent boot panel and rear bumper, injecting a character reminiscent of the original Mini.

Reports suggest the third-generation Mini will continue to be powered by a range of turbocharged four-cylinder engines but will also offer a new family of highly efficient three-cylinder units.

The Cooper hatch will be the first model to launch, followed by the rest of the Mini family from 2014.