Currently reading: Mini to explore more body styles beyond five ‘superheroes’
Design boss tells Autocar the introduction of a Mini EV could kick-start a new era for future Mini design
Richard Bremner Autocar
2 mins read
17 October 2017

Mini design chief Oliver Heilmer said his team will investigate the scope for new models beyond the five so-called ‘superheroes’ that constitute today’s range, which will be completed in 2019 with the arrival of the Mini EV.

Although Mini is committed to this strategy for the medium term, Heilmer believes it is vital to explore other options: “I’m not saying it’s wrong, but it’s good to ask if it’s going to last.”

Heilmer is no stranger to exploring Mini variations, having helped produce the virtual body variations displayed at the 2000 Paris motor show (below), including a pickup, a cabriolet and the Clubman. For this exploration, Heilmer plans to use the same thought process that yielded the original 1959 Mini.

He said: “The first Mini was built out of a need. I would like to understand what the needs in the next five to six years will be. We want to look at customers who are 13, 14, 15 years old now. What is their aesthetic approach? It’s obviously influenced by smartphones. But if we understand it right, we can bring this into the future.”

Insight: how Mini is growing up as a brand

Heilmer doesn’t plan to abandon Mini’s distinctive design features, such as the floating roof and wheel-at each-corner stance. Although he agrees these can be “limiting and challenging”, he said: “I love to deal with that challenge. You need to be experimental but can’t lose what it is.”

For the next-generation Mini hatch, due in 2021, Heilmer will try to reduce the excessive front overhang of the current model. In the nearer term, his team will be working on the Mini EV. He said: “It’s based on the three-door hatch. We are looking at various design features, including a colour concept and new wheels, but haven’t decided yet.” Heilmer also said the firm is still looking at the aerodynamic sills and air curtains: “We’ve got to see if it works. It doesn’t work on all cars.”


Find an Autocar review

Read our review

Car review
Mini Cooper S

Now in its third generation, we find out if the bigger, cleverer and more mature Mini can still entertain like it predecessors did

Back to top

Yet to be confirmed is the third-generation Mini GP, which was revealed as a concept at the Frankfurt motor show last month. “There’s a big jump with this GP,” Heilmer said. It runs on a wider track, prompting the unusual vertical vane wing extensions, which are as yet untested. “We’re getting feedback,” he said.

More content:

Join the debate


17 October 2017
I wish the return of Mini Coupe.
It was like New Era's Mini Coupe and I liked it.
It is unfortunate that they are not currently offering that fun variation.

17 October 2017

The Superleggera, it looked amazing.

17 October 2017

Instead of talking to kids they should focus on making authentic and pretty designs that are true to the ethos of Mini. Simple, leightweight, fun, compact anda little cheeky.

Something that brings a smile to your face and your journey. The last Minis are all bloated, heavy, with to many creases and lines, and just somewhat fuzzy designs. Keep it simple please.

17 October 2017

The latest ones look hideous. In fact I'd go further than that, they are an embarrassment to the Mini marquee.

17 October 2017

The rear lights look horrendous on new model and the 4 door design around the windows looks as though it was designed with a meccano set mentality looks cheap and nasty compared to the frameless 2 door  version.My daughter likes the pre 14 models put the petrol no good as too polluting hence the ved tax compared to her Yaris which is miniscule.will she go for a 14 diesel ?? probably FIAT 500.

17 October 2017
Cobnapint wrote:

The latest ones look hideous. In fact I'd go further than that, they are an embarrassment to the Mini marquee.


Couldn't agree more.

17 October 2017

Build a Mini Mini. Find a way!

17 October 2017

Just looking at all the comments so far....'Keep it simple'....'Find a way'.....Admirable for their enthusiam but very thin of substance ...on the 'how'. Why ?  Because BMW is stuck with Mini. Frank Stephenson et al 're-imagined' it a while back and we've had Alex Warmer and a host of other designers making heavy use of the photocopier 'enlarge' key ever since. If BMW doesn't go back to the first principles of Issigonis, then I can see no way other than maintaining the current (and sometimes borderline preposterous) "variations on a Mini G string".....  Let's face it: if BMW hadn't branched out into FWD and AWD at the lowest end of its range the development costs for the Mini would now be deeply uneconomic.   At the moment, I see no other option than the "same old, same old" approach: ie. well-built, tech-laden and expensive alternatives for people who wouldn't be seen dead in the sham Fiat 500 (Panda in a party-frock), oddly proportioned and expensive 'new' Beetle or the endless cheapo run-arounds from PSA and Renaults....   Mini is, in effect, the 'bauble-end' of the BMW range: good marketing, cheeky style but, ultimately,  not great design.

17 October 2017

I am sure you mean Anders Warming, the Danish designer?


17 October 2017

The latest Minis are bloated and ugly. Back to the future please Mini, with a clean and taut lines.


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review