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Mini hatch and convertible 2021: updated small car adds customisation with houndstooth fabric

John Law

Mini has revealed a significant facelift for the hatch and convertible with some creative design touches and added technology along for the ride.

The 2021 Mini hatch and convertible remain largely the same under the skin, save for some revisions to the suspension. The bulk of Mini’s time has been spent redesigning the car with a focus on individuality and simplicity.

Proportionally, the Mini remains true to the ‘new Mini’ design that appeared in the early 2000s – that means short front and rear overhangs and signature bulldog stance.

Mini Hatch 2021 Profile
In profile the updated three-door retains its famous bulldog stance.

Always fashion-forward, the Mini is a more stylish proposition than a Volkswagen Polo, while offering more practicality than the also-very-cool Fiat 500 in its class.

From the front, the updated Mini hatch and convertible appear to have taken inspiration from an 80s car salesman, donning a black plastic handlebar moustache to surround the grille. Not as divisive as the new BMW 4 Series grille, but a distinctive feature nonetheless.

There are new air curtains on the lower outside portions of the bumper replacing the fog lights and a more aggressive design language to accompany the changes.

Mini Hatch 2021 Comparo
On the left is the outgoing hatch, the right is the new design.

Mini says the changes create a more ‘minimal’ look, though in doing so they have added more details to the front bar.

Apart from the sheet metal changes, Mini has experimented with a colour gradient on the roof. Dipping from San Marino blue down to Jet Black, it’s a unique concept that will surely be popular in the luxury light car segment.

Head of Mini design Oliver Heilmer said of the refreshed Mini “all innovations follow a common mission: Purify MINI! Less complexity, more individuality”.

Mini Hatch 2021 Front
The front end has picked up some interesting new details for 2021.

Inside the option of houndstooth seats reappears for 2021, something Chasing Cars is particularly excited about.

Technology integration has improved, too, with touch-capacitive shortcut buttons beneath the 8.8-inch touchscreen that sits in a familiar round bezel which is now finished in piano black.

Ahead of the driver is a five-inch digital driver’s display that fits in with the round motif, though the funky analogue dial will be missed. Naturally, a connected Mini App allows functions to be controlled via a smartphone, and there is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

Mini Hatch 2021 houndstooth
Houndstooth fabric will return as an option adding to the Mini’s famed customisability.

There are updates under the skin, the optional adaptive suspension has been revised with an extra valve that allows the damping pressure to be altered more quickly. This system will be available on all models but the Mini Electric in Australia.

Powering the refreshed Mini line-up will be the same selection of engines. Starting with a turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder with outputs of 100kW of power and 220Nm of torque, the base Mini Cooper offers the choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch gearboxes.

The Cooper S steps power up to 141kW and torque to 280Nm courtesy of a two-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Like the Cooper, that will be available with a six-speed manual, or an eight-speed Aisin-sourced automatic transmission.

Mini Hatch 2021 Cabin
Inside the cabin is similar, but more tech-heavy that before.

These engines will be available in three and five-door hatches as well as the convertible.

The Cooper S John Cooper Works employs the same two-litre engine but with more power and torque at 170kW and 320Nm respectively. This engine will only be available in three-door or convertible body styles in Australia.

There will also be an electric option going forward which will retain the same 135kW motor and 32.6kWh battery for a total range of 233km as well as some unique alloy wheels.

Mini Hatch 2021 detail
The Mini E can be spotted by its bespoke alloy wheels.

Pricing and exact specifications of the range will be confirmed closer to the new Mini’s launch in the second half of 2021.