News : MINI unveils Vision Concept

Keith Adams

MINI Vision

The MINI Vision Concept, which was unveiled yesterday at MINI Design in Munich, gives the best view yet of what the next-generation model, F56, will look like when it’s unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show later this year. The images which MINI has released clearly show that the main visual differences from the outgoing car, which goes out of production in November, will be in the nose and rear end, thanks to bolder new light clusters and a Rocketman-style grille.

The Vision’s new grille treatment, which BMW describes as being visually linked to the 1959 original, front lights with their ring-DRLs and curvaceous bonnet-line will make production. The interior of the concept is bold, with some silly motor show details like animated interior LEDs which light up the cockpit, but note the shape and positioning of the instruments, especially those that flank the centrally mounted screen. Yes, you can finally say goodbye to that oversized speedometer in the middle of the dash.

You can see the Vision Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September and the production F56 a couple of months after that but, in the meantime, wonder at why MINI continues not to operate a UK-based Design Centre for is most ‘British’ of products.

MINI Vision

Keith Adams


  1. If it quacks like a duck,waddles like a duck then its a MINI, i like the Mustang-esque steering wheel.

  2. It’s difficult to not start MINI-bashing at this point.

    However, I am going to say how incredibly disappointing it is that during the whole design process of the R56 and F56 MINI not one designer or engineer was British, yet the cars are marketed as “British” with Union Flags everywhere and the posh British guy on the radio adverts. I think this annoys a lot of people on here, and people I know. I would rather they leave out the union flags and “this is a jolly good car” adverts and just actually focus on the car itself. It is assembled here but so is the Honda CR-V and Nissan Juke and they don’t cover everything they have in Union Flags!

    As for the F56 itself? Well when looking at the leaked pictures I didn’t think it was too bad. Sure it has huge front overhang and the rear lights are garish and ungraceful, but compared to the Countryman it’s positively pretty, however one thing which worried me is the photos are taken from a high angle, so the height and shape of the bonnet cannot be established. And this is what BMW have done wrong on every MINI they have designed on their own- they’ve made huge big ugly bonnets with big bugged-eyed faces. Looking at this concept from a lower down angle, it seems the F56 has not moved away this. In fact it’s got worse. So for me, this concept is a huge disappointment.

  3. I am more disappointed that a true Mini / Mini-Mini like the Spiritual or Mini Rocketman (with a sub-1.0 version of the upcoming 1.5 3-cylinder turbo engine) has not been produced.

    Don’t really care if BMW decides to build and sell it as an Isetta, so long as it caters to young drivers in the mould of the Innocenti De Tomaso or Autobianchi A112 Abarth while rivalling the upcoming Volkswagen Up GT.

  4. Yeah, a successful car built in Britain. Booooooooring!

    I do feel stronger and stronger about emigrating as the days pass by. FFS, would you prefer strike ridden BL to come back and build rusty beige cars in Longbridge?

  5. Can’t see how they can say the grill looks like the 1959 original. The original grill had smooth curved corners.
    This looks like the grill introduced with the MkII, complete with sharper corners.
    It’s hard to see how they can continue to keep the product going without becoming too derivative or repetitive.
    Having said that, Porsche have managed it with the 911. (Not that I’m saying they are both in the same league)

  6. Great Britannia is not the only country in the world
    Be proud that the MINI will produce in more country’s
    and hold they Brutish imago
    Take the Honda Civic the people think this is an Japanese car
    But for real it is produce in 10 different country’s
    And the fact that this MINI is not design in Britain say more about the quality of the brutish designers And the fact that all the British Car Makers are all go down and in the hand from foreigner owners and with an good success see Jaguar /Landrover

  7. As they’re selling like hot cakes around the world it clearly isn’t affecting sales, but yes it’s shame that there isn’t a UK design office as well.

    It wouldn’t need to be very big (with most of the main work still being done in Germany), but from a PR point of view would surely fit in better with the image of the product

  8. Really no British designers or engineers? I find that baffling, given that I was speaking to someone earlier this year who was linked to the dashboard design, in Britain. I now can’t remember who as it was at a photographic event.

    I’m sure British talent was involved somewhere.

  9. I and I think I speak for a lot of people would respect the company a lot more if they took a bold step and designed a new MINI to look as different from this as possible, like the Spiritual was a bold step from the old Mini.
    It shows the parent company is unable, no scared of doing this. Rover were not scared, they fully realised the Mini as a car and shape needed updating, it was a 1950s design kept going for years after it should have been changed. Now we have a 21st century rehash of a rehash of an interpretation of a 1959 design. Surely someone in the company can move the MINI design forward and produce a genuine and credible replacement.

  10. “… wonder at why MINI continues not to operate a UK-based Design Centre for is most ‘British’ of products.2

    Presumably they still don’t trust the UK to not design something radical like Spiritual?
    The original MINI design was a BMW proposal, so I assume they’re continuing with their in house designers?

    Could this be the MINI that finally makes 2001-> mk1 MINIs look aged?
    I can’t help but think that the front would’ve looked more Mini-like if it had a Fiesta style grille and numberplate arrangement.

    Though this grille/numberplate/bumper layout does look like the Canadian MINIs.

  11. Wasn’t the original MINI designed by Frank Stephenson in BMW’s US office? A small team based in London wouldn’t cost much, and would probably be closer to the MINI’s urban trendy customers than someone in Munich.

    I also find it odd that BMW don’t have a token Brit in charge of Rolls Royce, as at least as a spokesperson, Torsten Müller-Ötvös doesn’t exactly shout out British heritage 🙂

  12. A English friend of mine who worked as a graduate in the Rover design office, transferred to BMW when sold out to Phoenix. He is still working at BMW in Munich.

  13. “The MINI Vision Concept, which was unveiled yesterday at MINI Design in Munich, gives the best view yet of what the next-generation model, F56, will look like when it’s unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show later this year.”

    Surely the spy shots, that are all over the internet, give the best view yet of what the next generation model, F56, will look like when it’s unveiled at the Tokyo motor show later this year?

  14. Does anyone understand what @9 is going on about… just plain weird.

    @2 Yes, yet another abuse of Brand Britain. The Chinese and Germans laugh at us while they abuse our heritage. This car will probably be built in Austria or at an ex Mitsubishi plant in Holland. I don’t mind a car being built elsewhere that’s a part of the times but Britain must get the biggest slice or the brand will lose its British cache. Not involving the British element in the design waters down its heritage, it wouldn’t of needed much effort from BMW to do this but while we don’t care and lack the understanding of the long term affects they’ll keep on doing it.
    That said I have to say I really like the look of it.

  15. @9 – i think you dont know much about car design. One of the most highly regarded car designer courses is delivered in Coventry, and across the world you will always find a Brit inside a design office. Its not British design that is the problem, its British management. That’s why BL failed but Nissan, Honda and Toyota have world class factories here.

    That MINI does not have a British design office is not that bad as I know that there is at least three brits in BMW design centre. In fact, when my Uncle use to work in the trade, he worked for Ford in both Europe and US, Mercedes via a British design agency, SEAT in Spain, Jaguar, SAAB & Volvo and FIAT. He quit the industry as the work was going to more far flung parts of the world like Turkey and China and he had enough of the travelling.

  16. @19, I think the clue lies in his name,perhaps english is not his first language,but well done to him for having a go.

  17. I’m not a fan of BMW or what they did to Rover but just think, if BMW had let the mini go with MG Rover it would have been bodged, undersold and under developed and lost for ever like the rest of the company. BMW have done more with one car and it’s off shoots than BL, Rover, Triumph and the rest EVER did.
    Get over it.

  18. I’m not sure how long they can keep the Mini brand going by simply updating the same model? The Fiesta has been with us many years, but Ford hasn’t just kept re-hashing the mk1 version by making it fatter. They design a completely new car and stick a Fiesta badge on.

  19. Quote: “You can see the Vision Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September and the production F56 a couple of months after that but, in the meantime, wonder at why MINI continues not to operate a UK-based Design Centre for is most ‘British’ of products.”

    Given that the Rolls Royce Phantom was designed on UK soil – and I am hoping that the supplementary models that followed it still were – it seems it would not be that difficult to establish a UK-based Design Centre which could look after the needs of both Rolls Royce and MINI.

  20. Maybe BMW don’t design Minis in UK because they know that brit designers will come with Twingo-like proposals rather than the cute thing that everyone wants and expects!

    My only real criticism against BMW would be the lack of a 308/C4 sized UK made FWD drive car, based in their next 1/2 Series. Maybe if they can bring the Austin brand back it would be possible to make a proper FWD range of cars instead of abusing of the Mini name ad infinitum.

  21. BMW already make a 308 sized car albeit RWD the 1 series hatch,no room and charge a premium for it.

    Wants and expects? Ever heard of the tricks advertisers and supermarkets employ? subliminal and quite clever psychological techniques to entice you to purchase- ever gone into Tescos for a loaf and end up spending sixty quid!
    I think calling the MINI cute is pushing the envelope a bit,the current one looks fat arsed to me.

  22. @ Rodrigo:

    The ‘only’ British marques BMW owns the rights to are MINI, Rolls Royce, Riley and Triumph. Not Austin, which as with nearly all the other marques that became part of British Leyland Motor Holdings, is owned by SAIC. Jaguar Land Rover owns Daimler, Lanchester and Rover.

  23. @27 It’s so true about supermarkets, and of course that current Mini it’s kind of fat in face of the real thing, yet still have a beautiful style, related to the real Mini, and in face of the all current car production, looks cute.

    David, I know that, but it’s just an idea. I don’t know if this happens often worldwide, but the brand Austin is so related to the Mini that until know most people in Chile call it the new Austin Mini, in despite of all the efforts of the former importer to call it BMW Mini or just Mini. Besides, it’s just my personal idea, as with a brand like Austin or Morris could be developed a larger range of models more easily than Mini as a brand can do ( Kuga like SUV, vans, a FWD 308 sized car, a smaller car than the current Mini, etc.

  24. Utterly brilliant, but then that’s BMW for you. The original is now over 12 years old and yet still manages to look fresh and exciting.

    I should imagine that this car will give the MG3 a run for it’s money.

  25. Rodrigo
    BMW will produce a series of FWD 1 series models to cover these markets, based on the same platform as the new MINI. Whether they should be using the BMW name for a fwd car is something they’ve debated internally no doubt!

  26. Quite like the look of it except the ott plastic wheel arch surrounds – especially the bit running up to the ‘A’ pillar.

  27. Looking at the plastic wheel arch surrounds and trim extending the line of the A pillar to the wheel arches, they would convey a better perception of durability if they were finished in a very dark grey hue or even black, to prevent them from looking tired and faded within a few years. Rather like the bumpers and wheel arch extensions on pre-2002 MY Land Rover Freelanders looked after a few years.

  28. More “emperor’s new clothes” marketing. Biggest automotive con trick since the Edsel. Why people keep falling for the same old cynical marketing trick is a complete mystery to me.

  29. Much talk of Austin and Morris. These brands are owned by SAIC. I would like to see either used to import Roewes, that are sold either as a comfort based or economy based car compared to the ‘sporting’ nature of the MGs.

    BMW’s gameplan is to get young people into the MINI hatch/coupe/roadster/clubman, then when they need to upgrade to a ‘308’ style car, point them towards the Countryman or the 1 series.

    We were close to getting a MINI, but couldn’t justify it on cost (adding options to get a decent spec bumps the price up!) or practicality (while my 3 door Celica might be impractical too, it’ll likely only keep me entertained for a year or two – a new MINI would likely be a long term prospect)

  30. I think its odd that they have come with up 50 variant of the mini – but where is that nice TR6 inspired convertible they showed us a year or so ago – stunning it was – but only of dreams it seems. alex

  31. I spend my Tuesday evenings with a fellow who was in the design office at Gaydon – submitting a series of designs to BMW for a new Mini.
    Ultimately, whatever Gaydon did was wrong but interestingly their mini was totally different from the original. What BMW wanted (but didn’t tell the boys at Gaydon) was to continue with the original Mini spirit. We will never know how well received the Gaydon designed car would have been – but knocking the Bini or BMW for not being brave enough to drop the present design theme – is a bit silly considering just how well the Bini sells. Would any of us kill the goose that lays the golden egg? And you never know, perhaps BMW are taking a history lesson from Morgan – they might go on updating it for the next 50 years! (Just kiddin’ with last bit).

  32. The whole Mini thing is starting to resemble what Porsche have done with the 911. 1,376 versions of the same car.

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