11 November 2004

Although it’s wearing a disguise over the new nose, it’s easy to see the changes to the next-generation Mini. Looks similar to current car, but there’s a conventional lift-up bonnet and fixed- position headlamps.

Look closely at the shape of the much bigger grille and the bonnet’s leading edge. In order to meet next autumn’s pedestrian safety regs, the bonnet has been placed well above the engine bay’s hard points.

Codenamed Prince, the new engine range is being developed with Peugeot, to be built in the UK at BMW’s Hams Hall plant. 1.4- (88- and 104bhp) and 1.6-litre (140bhp) are designated VVT — a Toyota link, maybe?

The new Mini will get a much modified frontal understructure, including bigger wheel wells to accommodate 18in wheels and allow more suspension travel. The wipers have also changed sides.

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