The Mini brand is owned by BMW, and the next version of the Mini Cooper will show an even stronger family resemblance to its corporate parent. As these spy photos show, the 2014 Mini Cooper will have a redesigned interior that has many parts in common with BMW models.
It's no surprise that there are many BMW-sourced components, as the next-generation Mini Cooper will be based on the same platform as the next BMW 1 Series. We've already spied camouflaged versions of the 2014 Mini Cooper testing in Europe. It will be broader and a little bit bigger than the current model, with a sloping rear window.
On the inside, the new Mini retains its Frisbee-sized center speedometer, again filled with an LCD screen that will be used for the infotainment system. Speaking of which, the center console reveals a new multi-button controller that is identical to the iDrive knob used in BMWs. It looks like this more usable controller will replace the current tiny joystick that features in Mini models equipped with navigation.
The traditional Mini steering has been nixed in favor of a three-spoke design that, too, comes directly from the BMW parts bin. The one spied in this prototype Cooper has a multitude of buttons on either side, and would presumably get a Mini badge in the currently blank center.
Perhaps the most exciting change concerns the center-stack buttons. The small, fiddly button arrangement on the current Mini has been replaced by three clear climate-control knobs, a row of eight clearly labeled buttons, and just five toggle switches. All the switchgear looks to be larger and simpler than on current models, a good thing given that we dislike the awkward cabin ergonomics on current today's Mini Cooper. Instead of the existing small button near the steering wheel, the new Mini has a red engine start/stop toggle switch in the center stack.
While the automatic transmission shifter in this car doesn't look any different, it's surrounded by a rotary dial allowing drivers to switch between "Sport Mode" and "Green Mode." Minis have long offered a Sport button, and almost all car manufactures now provide an eco or fuel-saving button to improve economy. As is typical of the brand, Mini will try a slightly unique approach by using a twist-ring, rather than a normal button, to switch between engine modes.
For a close-up view of the interior of the 2014 Mini Cooper, click here to visit Motor Trend.