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by Jay Traugott
Taking some styling cues from the larger Countryman, we're beginning to get a better idea some of the minor styling updates in store for the next-gen Mini hatchback.
Cars like the Mini Cooper are not known for receiving radical redesigns. Due to the nature of the car itself, BMW's Mini division was careful not to mess too much with a good thing when it launched its second-gen Cooper hatchback in 2006. For those with an untrained eye, it was hard to spot the difference. With the third-gen model's debut just around the corner, Mini isn't any more likely than it has been in the past to alter the formula, but a few stylistic changes are apparently in order.
This latest batch of pictures from our intrepid spy photographers clearly show the new model's front and rear light designs. Unlike the current model's round headlights, the new model's reshaped lenses take their cue from the larger Countryman crossover. Although the daytime running lamps weren't installed on this test mule, it's still possible to see the ring around the headlights where the turn signal indicator is located. The rear lights, meanwhile, are noticeably larger than the outgoing model's. Still, the car can't be mistaken for anything other than a Mini Cooper. Look for the new model to debut in three- and five-door forms sometime next year.