Here’s a question that we’ve seen a lot of. What will actually make it to the next generation MINI (the R56) from what we’ve seen in the recent MINI Frankfurt Concept? While we’ve already written extensively on what the R56 will look like inside and out, this subject is probably worth revisiting now that we’ve had time to digest the new MINI Frankfurt Concept a bit. We don’t necessarily have definitive answers at this point but we can at least give some pretty well educated opinions on what details we’ll most likely see in production. So let’s go through the list:
Front grille: While the shape and design may make it, the fat chrome slats will probably change slightly. One thing that will have to be added compared to the concept car is a low air intake for the inter-cooler for MINI’s equipped with the turbo version of the new engine.
The one piece bonnet and bumper: Nope. And the jury is still out on whether we’ll see a clamshell bonnet like the current car. The last we heard (this past spring) was surprisingly yes. However that may still change.
The silver accent in front of the windscreen: probably not but expect some new funky side turn signal and vent treatment. However do look for the recessed windshield wiper design to be used for 2007.
The wheels: I can’t imagine these monsters will make it. That said expect the next MINI to accommodate larger wheels and tires.
The dual hinged door and boot: hard to say about the boot but it would be surprising to see such a seemingly a costly mechanism make it to production. The door seems even less likely.
The floating seats: automakers have been showing off this proposed design for years now in concept cars yet no one has had the guts to take it into production. I’d expect MINI to be no different in this regard. Component failures like seat mounting a few years down the road would not be a pretty sight.
The dash design: Yes. Here’s an interesting one. Take away the pricey surface materials, add some trim, some cupholders, squint, and you’re looking at the interior of the next MINI. In fact you can clearly see this in the photos above. The top is of the new MINI Frankfurt Concept. The bottom is a photo leaked from an official design mock-up of the 2007 MINI. The similarities are obvious and quite telling. (you can see a non-nav version here).
Speedometer mounted LCD/Nav panel: Yes, and with that screen MINI will most likely offer the iDrive interface (as seen in the leaked prototype pic on the right). Of course this will remain purely optional as it currently is on the BMW 1 and 3 series. Why would BMW do this? From a technical standpoint the answer is simple, the electronics system in the new MINI is essentially the same as the new 1 and 3 series BMWs. And since both those cars make use of iDrive on Nav equipped cars, it’s probably easier to use that rather than engineer an entirely different solution.
Visible C-Pillar: According to sources this will be indeed make it into production. Undoubtedly this will save some production cost and allow the MINI to create some design separation by creating a “floating” roof design on some models (with black plastic) and a design similar to the concept for others.
We’ll will have more on the next generation MINI in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, If there’s something that you feel was missed above that you’d like some answers on, feel free to ask it in the comment section below.