The next-generation Mini hatch due in 2023 will be “unmistakably” a Mini despite taking the “biggest step in the last 20 years”, says the brand’s boss.

Bernd Körber, head of Mini, told Autocar the company’s approach when developing the new three-door model was to not “screw with an icon”, drawing parallels to how Porsche evolves its 911.

“The 911 has to be carefully developed over time because it’s what Porsche stands for,” Körber told the UK-based publication.

“It’s similar for us, and similar in that at one point Porsche had to make a step beyond what it was associated with, and now they have a much broader portfolio,” he added.

“What’s important is that the entire portfolio needs to have the DNA of Mini. After more than 60 years, it’s necessary that Mini makes a bold step ahead, but it also has to stay true to its core, and that’s the three-door hatch.

“What you’ll see in 2023 is that we’ve clearly modernised it by taking a big step – the biggest step in the last 20 years – but it will be unmistakably a Mini.”

Autocar reports while the new Mini hatch is expected to be smaller than the current model and be offered with both petrol and electric powertrain options, the broader range will include the successor to the Countryman (built in Germany) as well as a new compact crossover likely to revive the Traveller badge.