New Mini Electric’s Interior Is a Fitting and Futuristic Throwback to the OG
Mini has long leaned on its heritage, and this feels like its best attempt yet.
Ever since BMW bought Mini in 1999 and kicked off the R50 generation, it's enjoyed the same retro-cute styling from the original Mini of the '50s and '60s. However, since then, Minis have grown in size and weight and gained much more technology. Now, Mini has revealed the cabin of its upcoming electric hatchback and, despite its fancy new infotainment tech, it's refreshingly simple and far closer to the original Mini.
The classic Alec Issigonis-designed car had among the simplest, most minimalistic cabins of any car, with nothing but a concave dashboard and a single, center-mounted speedometer. Recent Minis feel tight and almost claustrophobic compared to the open, airy original. But the new Mini Electric borrows the original's same open-air feeling, just with a modern twist.
Just like the original, there really isn't much on the dashboard of this new Mini EV. The only two things on the dash are the center-mounted infotainment screen and a strip of passenger air vents. In today's age of tech-focused cabins, this is as simple as it gets. However, despite its visual simplicity, there's more to the dashboard than meets the eye.
Rather than leather or soft-touch plastics, the Mini Electric dash is covered in textiles with LEDs under the surface that can display all sorts of light patterns. It has welcome lights, drive mode lights, and various other fun functions.
That center screen is circular, like the classic Mini, but it's large and features an ultra-thin bezel to maximize screen space. You might imagine that displaying all of that on one screen would make it feel cluttered but, just looking at it in this new photo, it seems pretty well laid out. We'll have to see for ourselves when we actually get to test it.
For some reason, Mini is still using its flip-up head-up display, which never really looked good and just felt/looked clunky. But, aside from that, the dash cowl is low and there seems to be a decent greenhouse, at least a better one than in the current Mini cabin. I wish the steering wheel rim was thinner, as the BMW Group's current steering wheel thickness is bordering on parody at this point. There seem to be more buttons on it than a Texas Instruments calculator.
But those are minor gripes, as this seems like it could be the best Mini interior since the BMW takeover. The classic Mini is still in my top three cars I've ever driven and this new design does actually seem like a proper throwback. Mini has long leaned on its heritage but this seems like the most authentic tribute to it yet.
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