MINI has announced its plans for the coming decade, including a range of electrified models that should make up a significant amount of the company’s sales within the next few years. Front and centre of this plan is a new MINI 3-door hatchback that is being teased in prototype form to give buyers something tangible to look forward to.

As you can see, the car is camouflaged here to keep some surprises for the full reveal, which is only expected to happen in 2023. However, we can still glean some insights into what the next generation of MINI’s most recognisable model will look like.

Befitting such an iconic car, the new 3-door retains many of the signature styling cues, including the round headlights, large hexagonal grille, wraparound windscreen design, floating roof and vertical taillights. But the proportions have been tweaked a little, with the new hatch reported to be slightly smaller than today’s F56, taking some inspiration from the diminutive Rocketman concept.

According to Auto Express, MINI boss Bernd Körber said at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show that he intended to shrink the 3-door, reversing the car’s massive growth spurt since the first-generation BMW-built model entered the scene 20 years ago. “When I say small, I mean I want to make a small three-door hatch again. Today there are some restrictions for pedestrian safety, but we would like to, in terms of design and exterior, make the three-door hatch as small as possible,” he told the publication last year.

From these images, the new 3-door appears to have shorter front and rear overhangs, further emphasising the MINI’s trademark squat wheel-at-each-corner stance – although it’s hard to say for certain without looking at the actual dimensions. What is certain is that the front windscreen has a far faster rake, again aping the Rocketman, making the car more aerodynamic and efficient.

Elsewhere, the disguise includes silver rings that make the headlights look ginormous, but the lamps themselves are likely smaller and they appear to feature a light bar running across. Other fake bits include the bonnet scoop and side scuttles, which will likely be removed on the final product in line with MINI’s latest reductive design language.

The new 3-door also looks to be cheaper to build than the previous model. Gone is the usual (costly) clamshell bonnet, with new shutlines cutting through the headlights and going across the front end above the grille. The side mirrors have also shifted from stalks on the doors and are now affixed to the A-pillar – exactly the opposite of what other carmakers are gravitating towards.

This likely has something to do with the electric version (note the “Electric Test Vehicle” stickers on the doors and rear bumper) reportedly moving onto a new platform co-developed by BMW and Great Wall Motor (GWM). The latter will build the car at a new plant in Zhangjiagang, China alongside a smaller electric crossover that will sit below the Countryman.

MINI will continue to sell a 3-door powered by internal combustion engines, but Auto Express says that the car will instead continue to be based on BMW underpinnings, likely the FAAR front-wheel-drive platform also used by the 1 Series, 2 Series Gran Coupé and new 2 Series Active Tourer. It will be built at the usual Oxford plant, with the Convertible also moving back from the Netherlands with the next-generation model, reportedly due to enter production in 2025.

As for the Countryman, a new one will make its debut in 2023 with ICE and electric powertrains, both built at BMW’s Leipzig plant – making the SUV the first MINI made in Germany. The company also has plans to electrify its high-performance John Cooper Works brand and enter a new market segment with a vehicle inspired by the Vision Urbanaut concept, which should make it an MPV of sorts.

All this feeds into MINI’s vision of becoming a fully-electric brand by the early 2030s, with the company also planning to stop launching new ICE models after 2025. It is estimated that electrified vehicles will make up 50% of MINI’s total sales by 2027.