After 41 years, the original and classic-in-its-own-lifetime Mini was replaced with a brand new car. It was designed and engineered in the UK, after BMW insisted Rover went in the new-age Cooper direction, rather than the ‘Spiritual’ direction the British really wanted.
A few post-launch wobbles, but now in its second generation, and a huge global success that has re-affirmed MINI as the builder of desirable small cars. The R50 code demotes the first generation from 2001-2006, the second generation was known as the R56 – and was pretty much a BMW-engineered version of the original car – while the third generation was known as the F56.
It’s this car that brought BMW and MINI closer together, and away from its Rover heritage, being underpinned by a brand new German-engineered platform, known as UKL1. It’s this that spawned the Countryman and Clubman versions, and which are shared with the BMW 2-Series Active Touring.
Reviews, blogs and news stories
The MINI’s development story is a tale of politics, Anglo-German disagreements, and a brilliant end product.
The 2017 MINI Countryman has been revealed, and just like its predecessor, it moves very much into the Austin Maxi way of thinking by being bigger, better equipped, and more distant from the original entry-level hatchback.
The R50- and onwards-generation of MINI rather neatly dovetails AROnline in many ways. It appeared in 2001, started out with good intentions, and has grown beyond all recognition from the original idea. Well, something like that. That maybe why I now seem to have two very early MINIs in my possession right now.
Serious investigation into replacing the Mini begun in earnest in 1993, when Design Director Gordon Sked asked his design team to come up with some concept ideas for a new Mini. He was clear that they needed to think outside of the box, not to worry about carry-overs, and to try and recreate the spirit […]
Here it is then – the proof that the MINI is no longer mini… After a series of more unusual body styles cueing people up for the era of change, BMW has revealed the first images of the new MINI 5-Door Hatch ahead of its debut at the Paris Motor Show next week. The wheelbase of […]
MINI’s rather unusual Superleggera Vision Concept, which was first unveiled at the world famous Concours d’Elegance at Villa d’Este last May, will make its UK debut during Salon Privé, which is being held at Syon House in London this week. Handcrafted, with stretched aluminium panels, there’s no doubt at all that the fit and finish is exquisite, but we’re […]
Keith Adams The latest member of the MINI family has been unveiled. The 5-Door Hatch is expected to add significant volume to the MINI’s production output from its Cowley factory, while extending the appeal of the range to growing families who don’t want to go for the larger Countryman model. Prices for the entry-level Cooper […]
The year of 1997 brought the arrival of two new MINI concept cars on the scene – first the ACV30 (for Anniversary Concept Vehicle – 30 years on from the ’67 Monte win for Mini), which was fittingly announced at the Monte Carlo rally. This coupe-like model sat on an MGF chassis, making it an unusual […]
The MINI Superleggera Vision Concept has made its debut at the world-famous Concours d’Elegance at Villa d’Este – a classic car event that, during recent years, has become a popular venue for car manufacturers to unveil their latest supercars. MINI follows its parent company in choosing the high-brow Italian show to reveal its latest concept […]
MINI can’t be accused of not knowing what it’s doing. Nor can you say that the company doesn’t know its customer base – so when you see that the latest incarnation of the Cooper S has a rather evolutionary look, you can be sure it’s for a very good reason. But for 2014, the Cooper […]
The MINI evolves into its fourth generation and is bigger, more efficient and driver-focused than ever. Question is, will it be good enough to continue the success story? Keith Adams drives the super-economical 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbodiesel Cooper D to see how the latest chapter shapes up. Since its launch in 2001, more than 1.8 million […]
Keith Adams Okay, so it’s not often that I’ll sit down halfway through a new car launch and commit my thoughts on it so early in the proceedings but, in the case of the F56 MINI, I’ll make an exception. A full review will follow, both here and on AROnline‘s sister site, Honest John, but […]
The entry-level MINI One and One D made their world debut at the Geneva Motor Show. The new cars, which see the appeal of the latest generation of the Hatch widen, feature less chrome and smaller wheels and look all the more appealing for being dressed down from the Cooper and Cooper S versions. The […]
John Slavin The MINI Clubman Concept has been shown at the Geneva Motor Show. The show concept features production-ready styling that chimes perfectly with the new F56 hatch. A production version of it will replace the outgoing Clubman, and it is a more conventional five-door design, rather than an the existing quirky three-plus-Clubdoor arrangement. There are […]
Keith Adams The John Cooper Works Concept will be unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show, and previews how the next-generation go-faster MINI is going to look, even before the standard F56 goes on sale. But then, the JCW sub-brand will be pushed even harder with the next generation MINI, becoming what will be effectively the […]
It’s interesting to revisit this decision almost four years on – especially as the F56-generation MINI has just been launched. Will we be saying the same thing in 2020? Okay, so MG Rover petered out in 2005, but it didn’t mean we couldn’t select the first BMW-built MINI as AROnline’s Car of the Decade for the ‘Noughties’. In fact, we still reckon that […]
The last R56 MINI has driven off the production line at Cowley. No less than 1,041,412 of the outgoing MINI have been produced at the high-tech facility, which has built more than 2.4 million MINIs since 2001. 14% of all cars built in the UK last year were MINIs, accounting for 14% of all UK […]
Keith Adams MINI has produced a series of interesting images which, by way of introduction, put the new F56 alongside the previous three generations of cars to wear the Mini nameplate. There’s plenty of discussion about the growth of the MINI by AROnline readers and, when the four cars are placed side-by-side, it’s all too […]
Keith Adams MINI has unveiled its all-new, fourth-generation hatchback in Cooper and Cooper S form and both versions are scheduled to go on sale early in 2014. The new car is available with two modular TwinPower Turbo Technology Valvetronic petrol engines in 1.5-litre three-cylinder and 2.0-litre four-cylinder forms and a three-cylinder 1.5-litre diesel. The new […]
Keith Adams Ahead of its arrival here next year, we’re reporting LIVE from the official unveiling of the next-generation MINI at Cowley today, bringing you all the key information about the new car along with pictures and our first impressions. We’ll also be on hand to answer any questions you have – so drop them […]
Keith Adams Here’s the best visual indication so far that the next generation MINI will be dropping its centre-mounted speedometer in favour of a more conventional item. These new images, which have originated in China reveal a few more secrets of the upcoming car. The new MINI, which will be launched in November, is vitally […]
Keith Adams MINI has announced that the launch date for the F56-generation model will be 18 November, 107 years after Sir Alec Issigonis was born in Smyrna, or Turkish Izmir as it’s now known. The company is playing up the significance of this date by passing on a world reveal at next month’s Frankfurt Motor […]