Unofficial Rendering: Former BMW Designer Pens MINI Zero Concept
Soon we’ll start to see test mules and leaked photos of the F56, the third generation of the new MINI. These will lead up to an official online debut of the car before we see it make the auto show circuit. The F56 will signal a major sea change for MINI. Not only will it feature three and four cylinder versions of the next generation Prince engine, the F56 will share its underpinnings with BMW’s upcoming FWD 1-series. This has everyone interested in the brand scratching their heads wondering just what MINI has up their sleeve for the next generation. Will it be the Rocketman scaled up? Will it push back toward the venerable and well-loved R53? These are the burning questions many are asking, and the possibilities have inspired former BMW designer Sonny Lim to venture his own guess at what the next generation MINI could look like.
Size-wise, Lim’s concept comes in at somewhere between the diminutive Rocketman concept and the current Hardtop. Throughout, Lim says his motivation was to take the car back to its roots, while giving it the modern presence. The term “Zero” is also significant to his thinking:
The design of the MINI Zero is modern, sophisticated and athletic. It evolves the current design language but still stays true to the main iconic MINI characteristics. These iconic elements have helped shape the identity of the brand and its cars. However, the concept also challenges other aspects of the brand which have overshadowed the original intent of Sir Alec Issigonis’ classic MINI.
The MINI Zero presses the reset button and goes back to the humble roots of the classic MINI. In short this concept embodies:
- Zero “schnickschnack” (gimmicks) – it is the most basic, entry-level car in the range and is positioned under the Mini ONE.
- Zero compromise – it is a pure & tailored design and does not rely on chrome exterior trim & other plastic bits.
- Zero “schicki-micki” (trendy-fancy) – it is authentic and the spiritual successor of the classic MINI.
- Zero fat – all the above results in an ultra-lightweight MINI (840 kg) and a very good power-to-weight ratio without a large carbon footprint.
It’s an imaginative concept to say the least. How well it compares to the real F56 is a question only a few people can answer right now. Here’s some of what we do know, however.
- The design is finalized. Key people inside MINI and BMW have previewed the final designs for both the F56 MINI and the BMW 1-series.
- The BMW and the MINI are very different. Sources who’ve been in the room with cars have told MF that only the shrewdest eye would be able to perceive the two cars’ common underpinnings.
- The exterior design of the F56 will be very different from what’s come before it, yet be instantly recognizable as a MINI. Look for elements of the Rocketman concept, and familiar MINI design elements interpreted in new ways.
- The interior will also be a complete redesign from the ground up reinterpreting the MINI design language into something fresh and more user friendly. So far, the response from both internal MINI people as well as test audiences has been overwhelmingly positive.
Whatever the final product, one thing we can guarantee is that the F56 will be a turning point for MINI. For better or worse, the F56 will embody the full mechanical departure from MINI’s Rover roots into the haus of BMW. We can also guarantee it’ll be controversial. For some, the F56 will be a revelation. For others, it will quite literally ruin the brand. What do you hope to see in the F56? Sound off in the comments.
Written By: Nathaniel Salzman
Sort by MINI model
- Silvercar and the End of the Car Rental Nightmare
- The Future of Mobility by MINI and Designer Jaime Hayon
- MINI Does Gran Turismo 6 with the Clubman Vision (w/Video)
- Leaked: Clubman Vision Gran Turismo Concept
- New Report on MINI’s Rumored Small Car
- A Video Tour of the MINI Exhibit at the BMW Museum
- EVO Races the MINI GP against MINI Challenge Race Cars
- The F56 JCW Tuning Kit Put on Hold for the US Market
- MINI Clubman to Feature BMW’s Air Curtain Technology
- Steering Feel: F56 Cooper S vs R56 Cooper S
MotoringFile on Instagram
- The 3 Series & 4 Series Variants – How Do They Break Down in Sales?
- The Next Generation BMW 3 Series Comes into Focus
- An Owner’s Six Month Review of the BMW M4
- Does the Lexus RC-F Stack up to the M4? Chris Harris Finds Out
- Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson Pits the BMW M3 vs the i8
- Preview: BMW at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show
- BMW Motorsport Announces Shell Sponsorship in the DTM and USCC
- Interview: Development of the New BMW M3 and M4 (Part 2)
- Apple Hires Head of Mercedes-Benz R&D
- World Premier: BMW M4 MotoGP Safety Car
- Video: 2015 Vespa GTS 300 ABS Wins Midsize Scooter Shootout
- Two Tiny Vespas That Make a Big Impression
- Video: How to Ride a Vespa
- Video: Resurrecting a Ruckus
- Video: The Gogoro Electric Scooter
- New Scooter-related Laws for 2015
- Two-Wheel Injuries and Fatalities Dropped in 2013
- ScooterFile’s Top Five Stories of 2014
- The Morning Scooter Commute
- The 2StrokeBuzz 2014/2015 Cold Weather Challenge
MINI Model Cheat Sheet
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F55: Five Door Hatch
F60: MINI Crossover
Advertise with MotoringFile
MotoringFile Buyers GuidesR50 ('02-'06 MC) Buyers Guide
R53 ('02-'06 MCS) Buyers Guide
'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