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Mini Cooper S (2013) iDrive spied in Death Valley

Published: 10 July 2012

Spotted testing in Death Valley, USA, these spy shots reveal key details about 2013's new third-generation Mini hatchback.

A BMW iDrive-style multi-controller is clearly visible inside the new Mini's cabin and it's also a good chance to compare a standard Cooper with a Cooper S range topper. 

The 2013 Mini gets iDrive?

So it would seem. Clearly on display in these test mules is the centre console-mounted rotary/button control from Mini's parent BMW, used in everything from the 1-series to 6-series Gran Coupe. It's Munich's solution for navigating through a modern car's extensive infotainment and dynamic options.

Minis can currently be specced with a BMW-derived rotary-controlled interface: Mini Connected, which allows drivers to update their social network profiles from inside the car, as well as the usual sat-nav and radio functions.

It's unclear whether iDrive will be lifted straight into the Mini untouched, or if its functionality will be slimmed down. Surely the controller will be restyled for something a little more in keeping with the Mini's retro-pastiche theme.

Are these spy photos of the new Mini Cooper S?

These spyshots show both the standard, cooking hatch and the hot hatch version of 2013's new Mini clan. Whereas standard cars get the nearside single exhaust outlet, the Cooper S mule we see here has a centre dual-pipe exhaust, as per the current Mini Cooper S.

Sportier, fatter multispoke wheels are the other giveaway to the Cooper S's identity.

Any other Minis in a bigger size?

Oh yes - the 2013 Mini hatch is just the start of a huge range expansion for the Anglo-German brand. In the next few years we'll see a four-door Clubman estate, an expanded five-door hatch to challenge premium family cars like the Audi A3 Sportback and Mercedes A-class, and even a low-roof, long-wheelbase MPV designed to appeal to style-conscious families who shun tall, mumsy people-carriers.

The five-door 'Sportvan' will emerge in 2016, but you won't have to wait that long for Mini to go niche-hunting once again - the Countryman Coupe (supposedly inspired the the BMW X6 high-riding coupe) will arrive in early 2013, six months before the classic Mini hatch debuts.

There'll be a lot more Mini in your future BMWs as well: the next 1-series and X1 are set to go front-wheel drive in order to part share more efficiently with BMW's British-based brand.

Does yesterday's announcement of a £250m investment in Mini Oxford make sense now? BMW is spending big time on its smallest brand, as it plans a big increase in the range and, it hopes, future sales of Minis.

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel

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