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MF Exclusive: Behind the Wheel of the R56

We’ve got a world exclusive for you today. First impressions and a first drive of a pre-production 2007 MINI. You’ll see a lot of R56 “spy shots” in the coming weeks and months from the automotive press, however you won’t get other first hand accounts like this. While we obviously can’t say where they come from, we can verify that both are 100% legitimate.

Just thought MotoringFile readers would like to know I’ve been driving around in a new R56 Cooper for several hours and my first impressions are ‘it’s great’!

The new interior is superb, the dash and controls are all there and function much the same as the current car apart from the integrated radio which has an iDrive-ish sort of operation. Seats are quite different from the current car, (not sure about the design) but time in the car will tell. Interior gadgetry is all fine and functional, but it would take a while to get used to.

The new engine is quiet and free revving. I’d say better than the current unit for smoothness and zip. All the handling of the current MINI is still there, but has this was a very low mileage car (and the roads damp and greasy), I didn’t really feel comfortable pushing it too hard.

All in all its a fine car despite the obvious bits which are not production spec yet (and certainly not based on production tooling).

We also managed to get another first hand account of the new R56. Here are a few more interesting bits of information.

With regards to final styling, we’ve been told that the r56 does indeed look close to this recent Auto Bilde rendering. Apparently the car is slightly larger in most dimensions. Also of note, the bonnet vent on the MCS will resemble that of the Tokyo concept wagon, meaning there will be no plastic insert. This is the first we’ve heard of this so at this point there’s no confirmation.

According to our source the MINI plant in Oxford has already built about 20 R56 MINI test mules and is planning on finishing up to 50 by Christmas. That’s 2-3 a day!

We should have further information on the next generation MINI in the coming weeks and months.

For those keeping score at home, yes, the photos above have appeared on MF previously.

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Written By: Gabe

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Adam – I wouldn’t worry. The difference between the new 3-door MINI and the current one will be millimeters.

  • http://www.motorportal.com Bob

    Its just been reported that 2005 was the biggest sales year in its history, and January 06 was its biggest sales month. Gee….what ever happened to the old adage “if it ain’t broke….”

  • Pingback: MotoringFile » 2006 » February » 28

  • Pingback: MotoringFile » Archive » Next Generation MINI Revealed (Updated)

  • http://mpike0424yahoo.com marcia pike

    HAS ANYONE THOUGHT TO ASK WHAT KIND OF PRICE INCREASE WE MAY BE LOOKING AT IN 2007? I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW ALSO WILL THE DEALERS SHARE MORE TRUTHFUL INFO IN TIME SO IF THE 07′S AREN’T SUITABLE WE WILL BE ABLE TO ORDER 06′S INSTEAD. I WAS READY TO ORDER THE 06 AND WAS EXCITED ABOUT GETTING ONE BUT NOW AFTER READING ALL THE FEEDBACK I AM NOT SURE WHICH ONE WILL BE THE MOST FUN TO DRIVE! AS LONG AS IT IS SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT LOOKING THATS NOT A PROBLEM. I HOPE IT WILL MAINTAIN ITS UNIQUNESS AND FUN FACTOR.

  • Jorge

    I think it’s hilarious how some people are so quick to cry about how “BMW IS RUINING OUR BELOVED MINI!”

    Especially when BMW created the MINI you all know and love to drive today!

    There will always be cars that are fun-to-drive, whether it’s a MINI or not.

    Get a grip, guys. Seriously.

  • Pingback: MotoringFile » Archive » 2007 MINI Reviews Out Soon


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MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

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MotoringFile Reviews

Reviews:
'12 JCW Coupe
'11 Fiat 500 Sport
'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
'11 Cooper S Hatch
'11 Countryman MCS (FWD)
'11 Countryman MC (auto)
'10 Mayfair MCS (auto)
'11 Countryman MCS (ALL4)
'10 MINI E
'10 Tesla Roadster Sport
'09 Cooper S Convertible
'09 JCW Hatch
'09 JCW Clubman
JCW Stage I vs JCW Stage II
'08 Clubman S (Auto)
1st Drive: '08 MINI Clubman
'08 Smart Fourtwo
Comparison: '08 BMW 135i
'06 R53 MCS vs '07 R56 MCS
'07 R56 JCW (Stage 1)
'07 MINI Cooper S Long Term
'07 BMW Z4 M Coupe
'07 MINI Cooper & Cooper S
Audio: '07 MC/MCS at the Track
'06 JCW GP Long term
Reader Review: JCW GP
'06 JCW Cooper S Long Term
Comparison: '06 Lotus Elise
Comparison: '06 Mazda MX5
Comparison: '06 UK Focus ST
Comparison: '06 Civic Si
Comparison: '04 TVR T350
Comparison: '06 Nissan 350z
Comparison: '06 VW GTI w/DSG
Podcast: Cooper S Auto
Podcast: BMW 325i
Podcast: JCW MC Soundkit
'04 JCW MINI Cooper Tuning Kit
'05 MCS: One Month Review
'05 MCS Auto
'05 JCW S 1st Drive
'05 MINI Cooper
'05 MCS Conv. Long Term
'05 MINI Cooper S
'05 MCS Cabrio 1st Drive
'04 JCW MCS First Drive
'04 MC w/JCW Tuning Kit
BMW M3 SMG Vs. MCS
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range


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