News : Larger, lighter, faster MINI F56 breaks cover

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 car is longer, wider, faster and cleaner than before – and, most importantly, it’s also lighter.

The new car, which was codenamed F56 during development, sits on the new UKL1 platform, which will also feature in a number of MINI and BMW variants – BMW hopes that its front-wheel drive output will be seriously boosted by the arrival of the new family. The F56 carries over many of the outgoing car’s styling features, such as its floating roof and hexagonal radiator grille (no longer split in two horizontally), but moves on in several key areas. The front overhang has been increased in length and the windscreen now set a shallower angle, blending in to narrower side windows. At the rear, larger tail lights have grown to cut into the tailgate, Paceman style.

The flanks are much more sculpted than before, too, giving the new MINI a much more solid look. It’s most defining feature is probably the new headlamp design, which incorporates ring-style daytime running first shown on the Rocketman Concept. Adaptive LED headlamps are also optionally available.

The MINI is increased in just about all dimensions – it’s 98mm longer, 44mm wider, 7mm higher and the wheelbase has been lengthened by 28mm. MINI claims the interior is more accommodating as a consequence, with increased legroom front and – more importantly – in the rear. Just as usefully, the boot is now 51 litres larger, with a total capacity of 211 litres, and the rear backrest now has a 60:40 split, rather than 50:50 as before. The new model is also vastly more aerodynamic, with a coefficient of 0.28, compared wth the brick-like 0.35 of before.

Woollarding shot of the Cooper S's 1998cc power unit.
Woollarding shot of the Cooper S’s 1998cc power unit

The new engines are a major step forward from the existing four-cylinder power units. They’ll continue to be made at MINI’s factory at Hams Hall in Birmingham, but now come in two different cylinder formations. The entry-level Cooper model develops 136bhp from its new three-cylinder petrol, while the Cooper S is powered by a 192bhp four-cylinder. The new Cooper D is now a 116bhp three-cylinder – all models feature a six-speed manual transmission, with an optional six-speed automatic.

They’re all fitted with MINIMALISM technology which comes with start/stop function and optional GREEN mode. Performance and fuel consumption figures are very impressive – the Cooper D accelerates from 0–62mph in 9.2 seconds and the maximum speed is 127mph. Combined fuel consumption is 80.7mpg, while CO2 emissions are now down to 92-95g/km, thus passing the Euro6 standard. The petrol Cooper’s numbers are 7.9 seconds, 130mph, 62.7mpg and 105-107g/km – and the range-topping Cooper S’s numbers are 6.8 seconds, 147mph, 49.6mpg and 133-136g/km.

MINI promises that the F56 will be the best-handling and most agile model yet. As well as being lighter, the new MINI has a more rigid body and its suspension set-up has been substantially revised. The suspension components are made of high-strength steel – and the new multilink rear end is lighter and takes up less space than the old Z-axle. Steering is now by Servotronic and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) and Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC) are all standard. The MINI Cooper S also includes Performance Control; new spring and damper set-up with triple-path support bearings. Dynamic Damper Control optionally available for the first time in a MINI.

MINI 2014 (12)

New features and equipment include the MINI Head-Up Display, Emergency Call and the MINI Connected XL Journey Mate with Real Time Traffic Information, as well as a new display, which retains the look and feel of the old car, while dropping the centrally-mounted speedometer, which according to internal research, few owners actually used anyway. That oversized central speedo now houses an up to 8.8-inch screen which is integrated with the iDrive-like MINI Controller in the centre console.

Smartphone users will get all the toys now expected from a new car – so MINI Connected comes with a SIM card, which can now be permanently installed in the car. This is used to establish the ‘phone connections required for the use of the optional functions Emergency Call and MINI Teleservices. MINI telematics is an interesting feature, whereby the car can now communicate with the dealer in order to send usage data about the car, thereby informing the garage of any impending problems. It can also be used to arrange a service.

There are new MINI Driving Modes which allow an individual set-up involving not just the characteristic curve of the accelerator and steering but also engine acoustics and, in the MINI Cooper S – where the relevant features are fitted – ambient lighting, the shift times of the automatic transmission and the characteristics of Dynamic Damper Control – the latter system being optionally available for the first time. The modes SPORT and GREEN can be activated in addition to the standard MID mode. In conjunction with an automatic transmission, the efficiency-oriented GREEN mode also features a coasting function with decoupled drivetrain – freewheeling to classic Rover fans…

The new MINI goes on sale early in 2014 and confirmed prices are £15,300 for the Cooper, £16,450 for the Cooper D, and the Cooper S £18,650. This is a 2% rise over the outgoing models and it leaves a vacuum at the bottom of the range to be filled by the MINI One, which follows later in 2014.

MINI 2014 (14)

Keith Adams


  1. Any car with conceited messages like “Consumption-optimised driving fun” on its dashboard has lost my interest already.

  2. I’m rather intrigued by the format of the photo issue registration numbers. Are they an abbreviation of some hidden meaning/message?

  3. @2 Isn’t it the postcodes of the car plants? The plants at which the MINI won’t be built at in a few years’ time no doubt.

  4. Not actually that bad.

    Having had experience of buying new MINIs before, when it’s fully specced with all the nice extras that you see in the photographs (big wheels / posh leather / fancy seats etc etc) this will be a very expensive car. Spec a Cooper S nicely and you’ll soon be nudging low end Jaguar XF / Range Rover Evoque money. Yes, seriously!!

  5. Since the original design MINI has been getting less curvy and more blobby. The detailing on the outside has been watered down making the current and now the new model look like bad facmilies. Trouble is BMW well sell em as there are plenty of idiots who will buy it cos its a BMW

  6. I suppose the repositioning of the speedo is an improvement, but otherwise the interior looks as big a mess as before, and the switchgear makes a 1960s Mark 2 Jaguar look a paragon of ergonomics

  7. Like a lot of BMW cars they often look better in the metal than in pictures. This car seems to be similar. Quite why it should be radically different I do not know. All German makers follow an evolution not revolution approach and this is no different.

    Instead of complaining why don’t we celebrate the skilled jobs this car and manufacturer have created.Jobs that had Rover kept the MINI would be long gone.

    I know BMW is a dirty word to many but they should be applauded for such a great job launching and developing the MINI brand. If you don’t like it don’t buy it, go and spend your money on something else.

  8. @7daveh
    Your arrogance sir is unbelievable! Are you really so conceited that you think thousands of satisfied MINI owners are idiots just because they have a different view to you?
    You’re also totally wrong! I and several others I know bought a MINI despite it being a BMW – not because of it!
    As for the rest of the comments, I note AROnline devotees continue to knock seven bells out of anything that doesn’t look like a Ford Fiesta, anything that demonstrates just a little ‘out of the box’ thinking and generally anything new (unless Nissan make it in which case it’s all wonderful).
    With regards to the new MINI, well done BMW I say. They’ve kept the good bits and improved/upgraded all the other bits to provide what people apparently want – 3 cylinders, electronic gizmos and all that.
    I (personally) am sad to see the central speedo go – I actually used it all the time but hey – it’s not a perfect world.
    We’ve had our MINI Clubman for over two years – we’ve put 50,000 miles on it so it has now done over 110,000 miles. Car and local MINI dealer faultless – and we love the interior because someone actually thought about it – unlike VW interiors that re-define the term ‘bland’ and take it to outstanding heights. I know ‘cos I ride in one every week (unfortunately). But let’s make it clear, VW owners are NOT idiots – they just have a different view to mine.

  9. @3…

    Harald Krüger, BMW board member, said to me today that 1.8 million MINIs have been built in ahe UK since 2001… And, ‘Plant Oxford will always be the home and heart of Mini’.

    There are some people around here who would like to see MINI leave the UK (and openly say so), putting 5000 people out of work. That makes me very sad, and they are not the views of a car enthusiast…

  10. @11,Fair point, thing is, when will people start demanding more than an evolution and want a revolution?
    This car while retaining all the familiar features people have know and love, there may become a time when it just becomes bland.

    Already we have the DS3,Adam and A1 on the shirt tails of the MINI.Folk may mock this statement but these cars are selling and making inroads and therefore will begin to nibble MINIS cheese, maybe the next generation of the mentioned cars will become more radical and more appealing.

    This car disappoints me, it will sell of course and will export well but it looks like a facelift and a facelift only. why the fanfare?

    Well, that’s my opinion anyway.

  11. @16
    The Audi A2 and original Mercedes A-Class were more of a revolution in small car design but the A2 was canned after just 5 years and the A-Class was a dead end which has now become a conventional mid-size hatchback….

    Mercedes also invested millions in the Smart car while BMW invested rather more successfully in the MINI…

    How BMW’s Mini Trumped Daimler’s Smart Car:
    “BMW’s MINI outsells the Smart about three to one. The MINI brand now earns about €200 million a year vs. annual losses at Smart of about €100 million”

  12. So heres where I should say its awful and terrible and the Alloy wheels will probably stick to the hubs and my rusty 1981 Mini City is much better. But actually I rather like it. In fact I think its fantastic. Since I started shaving I havnt looked back!

  13. @14 – Well said Keith. Fortunately there are more “Idiots” who aspire to own a Mini than nutters who would rather see it fail!

  14. @ Keith Adams

    “There are some people around here who would like to see MINI leave the UK (and openly say so), putting 5000 people out of work. That makes me very sad, and they are not the views of a car enthusiast…”

    Quite often, these are not even views, just bile filled “brain poo”, which I wonder are some form of (destructive) cathartic release for some, channeling the pressures and angst of work and life through their keyboards.

    I find it sad that some people can not be more constructive when dealing with stress. Or they could be idiots. Probably idiots.

  15. It’ll sell shedloads, keep 5,000 in jobs plus a good few thou more in the supply chain and be parked in many an estate agent’s driveway. Great. a success.
    But all incarnations of the ‘new’ Mini have just left me uttering one sound – ‘meh’.
    I’ve owned a number of original Minis over the years and on a few occasions have test driven ‘Binis’ when changing my daily motor. They always leave me cold. Too gimmicky? Too much like a 1 series in a party frock? I can’t quite say. I had the same reaction to the Beetle/Golf-in-a-fat-suit.
    I wish it every success but I’ll stick with my nice, warm-hearted, ever friendly Morry Thou and VW daily hack.

  16. That’s a large increase in the size of the boot, and from the sound of things the dumping of the Z axle must be a big factor…

  17. @19, More and more Paul you seem to be becoming an over protective zealot over anything MINI-all from a supposed chartered engineer.

    Nobody is saying lets shut the MINI plant are they?
    And your infantile and ever so boring beard quips whatever they mean are never gonna get you on the ladder of the stand up circuit.

    Maybe people other than yourself wanted something more radical in looks and say wow I would have one tomorrow, nobody is disputing its current or future success.

    Look what Ford did with the Fiesta, is the current one not a radical departure from the one before it?

    Any drone can say they are selling what people want, but all they will say when asked what it reminds them of is the MINI before it only bigger.

    There are improvements and some nice touches but you could get those in a facelift which is what this car looks like unless the folk not in the know was told otherwise.

    @17 Those figures from the past are meaningless, the bar has moved several notches with other “premium” small cars. All A1’s etc are surely sales as an alternative to the MINI.
    Could you seriously assimilate the A2 and old A Class as fun cars?

  18. I may be in the position to buy one of these next year. Having experienced others I found them to be good cars, with great dealers and above all were made in Britain. My last Brit car was a Cowley 620ti so it’ll be good to return to the fold. Looking forward to trying out the 3-pot for its thrum….

  19. My mom and Dad had an ’11 plate Clubman, before they bought it I was sceptical to say the least, having had old Mini’s myself, but I must say I liked their Clubman very much, the essence of my old Mini was there.

    I think people have a problem with the new MINI because, let’s be honest, it’s owned by the Germans, the old enemy as lots of ignorant people still see them… It’s not their fault, it’s the fault of our Government and mis-management over the decades, they saw an opportunity and took it; at least it’s built here instead of Germany.

    The other problem of course is the name, it is far from Mini in proportions, maybe it should be called the MAXI?? 😀

    Nice cars though in my opinion.

  20. This car disappoints me, it will sell of course and will export well but it looks like a facelift and a facelift only. why the fanfare?

    Francis – just a quick one. This is not a facelift. How can it be? It has new engines, sits on the new UKL1 platform, and has a new body and interior. 100% new.

    It is a styling evolution, as is the Porsche 991 over the 997, but it is far, far more than a facelift.

    DaveH – thanks for calling my partner and I ‘idiots’ for buying a MINI. And far assuming I bought it because ‘it’s a BMW’. Wrong on so many levels.

  21. @27 Adam – Nice one. ‘Maxi’ would be a good name for it, size wise.
    It’s all part of the extra heft cars have these days due to crash protection etc. It struck me as I toured the NEC show that cars thought of as ‘big’ in the past are kind of average sized now. Even the M2 Golf looks a bit dinky compared to the new Polo.
    I think much of the sensible folks issues with the MINI is that it appears as something of a ‘style over substance’ motor whether that is simply perceived rather than true.
    Price is a bit of an issue for many as well, though in saying that, the final few years of the old Mini saw it being flogged for £10k plus so it was hardly a cheap runabout in the end.

  22. *I meant ‘sensible folks’ as in ‘those who take a sensible, measured approach to liking or disliking something’ rather than going off on one simply because it’s ‘not British’ or some other jingoistic foaming at the mouth crap.*

  23. The exterior is a big improvement as, I’m sure, is the internal space.

    The dashboard however is a disaster. The passenger side resembles looks like the love child of a Toyota Carina E & a Mark 1 Vauxhall Vectra with a Mark 3 Ford Cortina airvent tagged on the end as an afterthought.

    Things don’t get much better as one reaches the centre of said dash. The display resembles a porthole in a 100 year old diving suit & the vetilation buttons & controls sit hopelessly out of reach.

    Whilst I’m on the subject of ventilation controls, the surrounds on the climate control dials unnervingly resemble those on the vents on the 2004 Rover 25 & 45s!

  24. Phil, I’m impressed. So, when did you sit in the car? Or are you a disgruntled and disloyal MINI Associate? We had far too many of those back in my day.

  25. It’s easy to be rude on these fora and cowardly as well.

    Describing people as ‘idiots’ for buying a car is just plain wrong and so unmannerly…

  26. @16 a facelift? We have had 3 new MINIs in 13 years. From memory the original Mini was in production for 40 years without many significant changes.

  27. @ Keith/Francis: In legal terms it seems to be declared as a “facelift”, as the A/C uses R134a – which can only be used if the car is certified as a modification of an older model…

  28. BMW Mini BETTER than BMC,BL,Austin and all the others EVER were. Maybe that’s the bit the “knockers” don’t like …. the truth.

  29. @29 Phil – You’re right about the older ‘big’ cars compared to modern one’s being smaller, my Granada Scorpio was considered a big motor in it’s day, but I think the modern Mondeo is a lot bigger. The only ‘old’ car I’ve had that still dwarves everything else on the road today was my old W140 S-Class 😉

    What I don’t like about cars today though is that visibility isn’t as good, I feel very confident behind the wheel of my Granny compared to a Volvo V50 we recently had. I know it’s all about defence in a crash, but what about offence? i.e: being able to see a situation developing due to better visibility? I compared our Volvo to a submarine with a periscope to see out of, lol.

    Some great comments by the way.

  30. Adam @ 40
    ” What I don’t like about cars today though is that visibility isn’t as good, I feel very confident behind the wheel of my Granny compared to a Volvo V50 we recently had. I know it’s all about defence in a crash, but what about offence? i.e: being able to see a situation developing due to better visibility? I compared our Volvo to a submarine with a periscope to see out of, lol ”

    Couldn’t agree more – a point I have often thought myself.
    Remember in the eighties when a larger glass area was marketed as a safety feature owing to the better visibility it allowed? eg MK V Cortina compared to MK IV

  31. @11 I did not mean to cause offence but it is true that many people buy MINI’s cos its a BMW, not cos its a good car. Having had many friends who bought BMW’s and MINI’s and had many problems with them, the quailty brand image does not hold it with me. My uncle had a 1602 back in the early 80’s and although it was a few years old, it was built like it was hewn from rock. In the mid 1990’s my mate Kevin had a 328i from new and had a huge number of problems culminating in the battery exploding! The problem is the quality of the so called german brands has dropped off as they have increased the number of cars produced. How many people have bought the X6, an ugly pointless car which has a hard ride, poor visability and expensive price tag? DId they buy it cos they liked it or cos its a BMW?

  32. @42 They probably have the X6 because Joey Essex has one, to go with his £70K watch he cant tell the time off.
    And it is such cars that damage the brand equity of BMW-then you have dicks that say they are making cars people want, but not everyone is terminally stupid, a Z lister or footballer.

  33. @24
    The Z-axle rear suspension is unique (and quite expensive) for a small hatchback class of car but does help give the MINI its excellent handling……the Rover design engineers who worked on the original R50 MINI, cleverly managed to minimise the size and particularly height of BMW’s Z-axle independent rear suspension to fit under the R50 MINI, although it was not great for giving the maximum rear seat /boot space. The Mk3 F56 MINI continues with this multi-link rear suspension further re-designed to improve rear passenger /boot space.

    “At the rear, MINI has tweaked the F56 multi-link set-up with a wider track gauge and ‘greater rigidity in the wheel suspension’. The spatial design of the rear axle is what contributes to the increased boot space.”

  34. Erm, the plonker that I am read the other story first and didn’t see the interior pics.

    Have they designed a better dashboard? Well, the central mounted speedo has gone – it was distinctive but I’ve never been a fan of them and I must admit I find the new design very pleasant. And chrome toggle switches too… I like very much…

    Good work so far BMW. And while I am unlikely to ever be in the market for a Mini, I would certainly like a go in one…

  35. @daveh

    Mercedes used to be rock solid (so much so, that they were called the German Peugeot 😉 ) and built like tanks.
    The W123 in particular I remember having doors that closed like bank vaults, and comfortable sprung seats like old leather armchairs.

    Now they’re just another repmobile with plummeting quality levels.

  36. I couldn’t agree more, Mercedes up to the 1990’s were good, nowadays their build quality has come down to the level of BMW and Audi, whereas before they were in a league of their own.

    We recently compared my Father’s R129 500SL to the new model, there’s less room in the new one and the quality of the interior is shocking in comparison, very plasticky and full of bling.

    It’s sad when the money men come before quality, built in obsolescence I think it’s called….

  37. @ Adam

    Quote: “I couldn’t agree more, Mercedes up to the 1990′s were good, nowadays their build quality has come down to the level of BMW and Audi, whereas before they were in a league of their own.”

    Don’t I just know it!. My family have owned two brand new E Class Mercedes Benzes since September 2006. The first one needed four new glow plugs out of six replacing at three years and with just 17,000 miles covered. The current example, bought new in May 2010, experienced a collapsed rear suspension just three months out of warranty when it had covered just 15,000 miles. To date the Mercedes Benz dealer in Exeter has not replied to our letter concerning what components were replaced and was this normal for a marque with a reputation for ‘quality’.

    As this experience demonstrates, the quality is not just about the physical quality of the components used in the vehicle itself, but the quality of customer service and support you get from the dealer too. This is certainly an area that Mercedes Benz could learn a lot from by simply visiting a MINI dealer…

  38. A question – Is there any official meaning to the ‘F’ designation in the F56 coding? Or, as with BMW’s N47 engine being the successor to the M47 engine, is it simply about an alphabetical ascension on from BMW’s E designation for its models?

    I am not familiar with the F coding although I obviously recognise that the continuation of the R coding (as in R59)is no longer appropriate.

  39. @49-David

    The dealers that my parents bought their MINI from were excellent and in the time they had their car it never let them down; great built quality too.

    It’s a shame to hear you had so many problems with your Mercedes, I’m not surprised though, my parents also used to own a CLK, nothing but rust, rust, rust on it…. I’m sticking to old motors, hence the Granada, I’ve just bought n old Volvo 740 too, proper build quality on that I can tell you, lol.

  40. @50
    This was reported from MotoringFile in 2011:

    Exclusive: R56 Replacement Code-name Revealed:
    “the current R (Rover)generation of MINIs are dead. Or more specifically MINI’s days of having it’s own unique code-naming structure within the BMW Group is likely ending. For those that don’t know BMW, all BMW models are moving to the new F nomenclature from 2009 to 2013. And this sign of MINI’s most important model following that trend seems to be yet another sign that the next generation MINI will be co-developed with a front wheel drive BMW.

    “Historically, each BMW has carried an E project number – standing for Entwicklung, or development. The numbers have then risen progressively up to triple digits, at which point F numbers have taken over.”

  41. @25 – Blimey, bit worrying when AR’s resident bully knows what I’m supposed to be, but anyway I have absolutely no personal interest in BMW or the MINI whatsoever. I would never buy one, its not the car for me, but I know plenty of people who do and none of them deserve to be called idiots. I just find it heartening that the British motor industry (yes I know the parent company is German – but the investment is here)is manufacturing a product like the MINI. I am old enough to remember the dark, dismal days of what was supposed to be the golden era of British car manufacturing and the perpetual downward spiral the industry was in. To now see Cowley, one of Britains oldest and most historic manufacturing sites operating in such a stable and sustainable manner is a wonderful thing to behold.

  42. @53,I not going to Favour your first sentence with a reply, its not worthy of belief.

    Its not me calling anyone with a opinion that differs from yours a “beardy type” or from “a parallel universe”.

    Is there really any doubt that BMW have made MINI a stunning success?

    Perhaps people are saddened and annoyed that Rover never got the chance/were not capable of making the MINI,and are merely miffed that BMW are showing how its done.

    Some people dont like celery or sprouts or the MINI,but you are happy to quip they are beardy types or whatever sociological subset you deem they belong if there opinion differs from yours, doh, bullying.

    Grow a pair.

  43. This car is not a “BMW” or BMW would slap a “BMW” badge on its Bonnet. This car has more character. While BMW’s have become ugly, in my view, since the Bungle Bangle years, Mini has continued to Produce a fine looking Cowley produced car.
    I love the look of both the original and the “new” Minis but I would still love to see an upmarket cheeky competitor to the Fiat 500. If its upmarket, the image they have refined the Mini mark to be over the past few years, there is no reason why they couldn’t make a profit producing it in this country no matter what Propaganda comes out of Munich explaining that they cant……. oh yeah I forgot successive UK governments don’t give a stuff and help and persuade manufacturers. Only turning up at launches to take some credit.

  44. “Any car with conceited messages like “Consumption-optimised driving fun” on its dashboard has lost my interest already.”


    Also, it’s bigger — so it’s not really worth calling it a “MINI” [clue is in the name] then? Like the original MINI was designed to be a car small on the outside but big on the inside — oh, the new BINI is big on the outside but tiny on the inside [did I miss something?].

    1.8 million people can suffer from a complete lack of taste by buying one. It might be a sales success, but I certainly won’t be buying one. My 11 year old daughter likes them – but she knows nothing about cars. Nuff said.

    As for the styling, yes, it’s suitably “different” but let’s be honest, it’s just a photoshop job of a proper Issy Mini done by some art school grad with a new PC. Perhaps Ford could make an updated version of the Anglia 105E with a slopy back window? Or better still a more blobby version of a 100E?

  45. 54. Your semi-literate posting rather proves the point that Paul made in his first sentence. You are a bully, and your persistent offensive behaviour spoils what might otherwise be an interesting and useful board

  46. @57, Talking out of your brown eye pal,once again.
    If you don’t like what I post ignore it, what persistent offensive behaviour?

    Well, Mary-Ann, one could construe your assertion that im semi-literate as a cowardly attack implying that I have some sort of mental handicap.

    I talk about cars on here and if any Harriet Harpersons like yourself want to chelp your nonsense at me, expect a reply.

    You grow a pair as well.

  47. Come on guys, surely we can have different opinions without resorting to this juvenile behaviour. This is a serious web site dedicated to our cars – not childish abuse of each other.
    During this week I have been called an idiot for buying a MINI and told today that I (along with 1.8 million people) have no taste.
    If you were having dinner with fellow car enthusiasts – is that really how you would talk to each other?
    I’m no public schoolboy but surely we can raise the bar just a little.

  48. The mud slinging at each other on here is almost as entertaining and ill-informed as the opinions spouted on the cars/manufacturers themselves. Keep it up guys, this continues to be my favourite website 😉

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