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The New MINI Keeps the Clamshell Hood

Sometimes a polite “I told you so” is in order. It would seem that recent photos published in AutoExpress have verified something we mentioned last March on MotoringFile; MINI will indeed be keeping the clamshell style hood. When we first mentioned that the clamshell hood was staying it caused a bit of ruckus among readers since it had already been established as a sacrificial lamb in the name of cost cutting by the English automotive press. Here’s what we had to say in the “Next Generation Revealed” story we ran last March:

In other news that’s sure to surprise, the hood will still be a clamshell design (despite what we had heard) however the headlights will not be integrated like the current car. Instead they will be mounted from underneath. Keeping the clamshell is a bit surprising as many of the UK mags had speculated this would be one of the first places looked at for cost cutting.

So there you have it. As we predicted the clamshell hood is back and the headlights will be mounted not on the hood but more conventionally on the chassis. You can read the entire article here:

[ Next Generation MINI Revealed ] MotoringFile

This picture above is also interesting in that it shows a nice cross-section of the hackwork done to camouflage various 2007 MINI. The wonders of black plastic never cease. The Cooper S (2nd from the right) is particulary nice with various holes apparently drilled into the plastic on the bonnet.

AutoExpress is available at bookstore throughout the UK. This story isn’t online yet as of Thursday the 9th of February.

Thanks to Jordan for the image.

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Written By: Gabe

  • MINIAC
    … however the headlights will not be integrated like the current car.

    Maybe an “I told you so” with an asterisk ;)

  • beken

    I noticed the headlights are fixed to the chassis instead of the hood (er..bonnet). The headlight assembly looks more round than the current version also. I’m wondering if there are going to be alignment issues in the future.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    … however the headlights will not be integrated like the current car.

    Maybe an “I told you so” with an asterisk ;)

    No actually that’s what was said. That they wouldn’t be integrated with the hood as in the current car. So what you’re seeing are headlights that are mounted on the chassis itself.

  • Brian

    Can somebody clarify ‘clamshell’? Seems like the hood opens up like any other car’s. I must be missiong something. . .

  • http://bravo5.org/blog blalor

    Oh, geez. I have serious doubts about how that’s going to look in person. Seems like an alignment problem waiting to happen (as beken said). And no more spotlighting airplanes! Where’s the fun in that?

  • MINIAC
    No actually that’s what was said. That they wouldn’t be integrated with the hood as in the current car.

    So much for my attempt at humor … sorry for not verifying your original article.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    No worries… humor (as I know all too well) is tough in the MF comment section ;-)

  • http://www.mightyminiz.com doug

    Was it really that big of a concern?

    If they were not keeping it… how would it have opened? Seems like a weird focus.

  • Brian

    Yeah? What is clamshell?

  • minimc

    Interesting!

    Note that the car with the bonnet open appears to have a mirror with turn-indicator built in – like the current mini in the Japanese market (others?).

    Any word as to whether or not this is a 2007 standard item OR option for the US?

    While it may look a bit less sporty & Benz-like (IMO), I bet a few MINI owners would like it.

  • MINIAC

    Clamshell in the sense that the top of the fender is part of the hood.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Note that the car with the bonnet open appears to have a mirror with turn-indicator built in – like the current mini in the Japanese market (others?).

    That’s a typical BMW camouflage trick to make people think it’s not a BMW product.

  • http://www.jwardell.com/mini/ Josh Wardell

    I guess more illuminating trees to save cats for attractive females as noted in the unofficial motoring manual.

    Does anyone else get the (bad) image in their head of a skull with its skin pulled back and eyeballs sticking out? Not quite the same image pre-07 minis give with their hoods open.

  • Vanwall

    Clamshell hoods open with an overhang on the sides for better access, usually along a seam line, as opposed to a top-opening hood which makes you lean over the fender to reach that back spark plug or exhaust manifold nut. The drawback is weight – a Bugeye Sprite’s clamshell could give ya a serious wake-up call when it slipped. Thank God for gas struts!

              BCNU,
           Rob in Dago
    
  • Aurel

    any word on when the 07′s will make their debut at an Auto Show … NY maybe? … or is that too early.

  • Nathaniel Salzman

    Aside from the accessibility, the clamshell bonnet also gives the whole front of the car a super clean look unique in the auto industry. Imagine the face of the MINI with two big hood seams down the top of it – ick! It makes for a more expensive hood, but ultimately a simpler car – in both aesthetics and mechanics.

    I do agree that pulling the headlights out of the bonnet seems a step in the wrong direction – like it would be more complicated in the end with all of the alignment issues.

  • acetonic

    Hmmm. All this worry about alignment seems a bit misplaced. I’m sure the openings are fitted in such a way that they would go exactly over the headlights. If the clamshell bonnet is such a nightmare for keeping straight, it seems that moving the lights to the chassis is a step in the right direction since you want your headlights to be aimed properly. I’ve never noticed a problem with this on mine but we MINI fans have to overreact to every change now don’t we? :)

  • http://www.myminiparts.com Pete

    Note the difference in the turn signals/fogs on the two cars on the right. The one to the left must be an S and the other, on the far right, a Cooper. Either way, it’s interesting to see that BMW hasn’t gone too nuts with re-designing a winner…we’ll see about the rest…

    Pete

  • Bob

    I like the current headlights integrated with the hood better than the new style.

    Mini will have to take that add with the guy using his hood to shine a light on a cat in a tree out of their brochure.

  • O(=^=)O Capn
    No worries… humor (as I know all too well) is tough in the MF comment section ;-)

    roflmao Yes Gabe it is true!

    Does anyone else get the (bad) image in their head of a skull with its skin pulled back and eyeballs sticking out?

    Yes! it kinda looked cool for the concept’s taillights that they have been showing recently. but not so much for the headlights. Maybe if the hood tipped forward it would look different.

  • Bill
    Note that the car with the bonnet open appears to have a mirror with turn-indicator built in – like the current mini in the Japanese market (others?).
    All of the R56s I have seen personally at the factory DO NOT have turn signals in the side mirrors, this however doesn’t mean that it wont be an option, as I haven’t witnessed every mule being built. I can however tell you that the side mirrors are MASSIVE in comparrison to the current model range! p.s I’ve never seen a Mini with turn signals in the mirror, even Jap models! – and I work there 4 days out of every 7!!
  • nervous

    A little “nah nah nah-nah nah” is good healthy fun. Great job on the continuingly accurate scoopidge! Thanks!

  • Nick

    Help me out with the “alignment issue” being a problem when the headlights don’t move or get slammed around when opening/closing the current bonnet.Thanks.

  • enimenimini

    This bit about headlihts not being incorporated in the bonnet is certainly disconcerting. It will have an adverse effect on my coon hunting, as now i will be forced to hold a flashlight in one hand, while firing rifle with the other!

  • http://www.auToSPiES.com nina simone

    Seems the Coopers’ bumpers sport flush grills, while S’s have recessed lower grills, [not that either are accurate]… No more problems with alignment of our wheel arch trims.

    enimenimini,- try putting a flashlight in a holder on your beer-can-hat. ;D

  • 05DSMCS

    The alignment issue everyone is worried about concerns how the circular openings in the hood sit around the headlights. Any slight mis-alignment of the hood could result in uneven gaps around the lights.

  • CPatisaul

    You’ve got it all wrong! The headlights on the chassis are just more mule camouflage.

    Take a look again, what we are really seeing is the first in-the-wild example of the new roof mounted headlights!

    -charles

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    any word on when the 07’s will make their debut at an Auto Show … NY maybe? … or is that too early.

    That would be too early. Look for the US spec GP to debut at the NYC show in April.

  • Evan

    I’ll just say that I am very happy that the clamshell will be retained. It is a fine point on the current MINI. It is also probably cheaper to attach the headlights to the body and not to the bonnet. I trust MINI and BMW’s alignment expertise on making it look good.

    Thanks for listening MINI!

  • Greg W

    Well spotted Bob. Yes the current MINI is the only car where you can use your headlights as sky searchlights.

  • PetrolHead

    Hi

    AutoExpress are currently running the following story on their website.

    http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/news/64323/cover_is_blown_on_minis_nose_job.html

    [Quote]

    “And the picture in this week’s mag reveals conclusively that the BMW-owned baby’s trademark clamshell design has been dropped in favour of a more conventional panel”

  • flyboy2160

    has anyone else noticed how the top of the stuff in the engine bay of the open hood car seems much, much lower than the the hoods on the closed cars? on the open hood car, the engine stuff looks below the top of the headlights, while the closed hood is way above the top of the headlights.

    this looks like the stupid euro safety nazi nanny space. i suspect that the aftermarket will sell lots of hoods that are lower and have more rake in the grill, like the current car.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    LOL – that’s a great way for AutoExpress to save face!

  • Liam

    I know a few people have had problems with faulty xenons, I wonder if these problems will be less prevalent if the xenons are now fixed to the body work and not undergoing the stresses involved with opening and closing the bonnet.

    Good get.

  • Stevie

    What bugs me is the big gap they’ll need around the headlamps to accomodate for alignment tolerances and hood overslam. Gone forever now is the clean and tight, no gap design of the current setup where the chrome frame is right up against the lens. And…heaven help those who grap the open headlight hole in the hood to pull it shut… Whoops! There go my fingers! Yikes!

  • George

    Never thought of that. What a “health” risk then! At least they’re still keeping the diagonal shutline which clerverly recalls the weld flange on the original.

  • http://www.webbmotorsports.com RandyBMC

    Anyone notice that not only the headlights remain, but the fender flares as well? On the current bonnet, the entire fender, headlight, etc. is part of the unit – when it is lifted, just the fender liner remains. Another alignment issue, or sheer brilliance??

  • George

    Well, one thing’s for sure – more gaps. I hope at least they’re small ones!

  • tim

    I guess it’s just one more reason to never sell one of our current mini’s. I agree I like the lights going with the hood. I find it looks pretty cool and my son’s friends think it looks like a race car with bonnet up.

    Tim

  • http://minicooperclub.activeboard.com Rocketboy

    I’m just worried that the headlight assembly will be sunk in from the bonnet, making it a rather nice snow/mud/salt residue collector. Although I am glad that the fender flairs are static. That’s a alignment issue on my MINI…

    Erik…


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