2014 MINI Previewed: The Design

today starts the beginning of an entire week here at MF centered around the upcoming and completely new 2014 MINI.

The Cladding is coming off and the next generation MINI is taking shape. As these exclusive spy-shots (via MF reader Øyvind Repvik) show, the three door F56 hatch will will feature a very similar silhouette to the outgoing R56 and the R50 before it. But don’t let the overall shape fool you, this is an entirely new car. From the drivetrain to the design in and out the F56 is the biggest re-think of the MINI since the 2001 R50.

While we’ve had several readers tell us about seeing F56 mules almost without camo in and around Germany, what we have here is a group of heavily clad F56 test mules going through a final cold-weather evaluation. That means all exterior lights are faked and the details of the front and rear facia covered up by plastic and then taped. But we can still see a few notable details here. For one the rear tail-lights will be moving on from the floating design from both the R50 and R56. That means the inner cut-line will not also double as the edge of the hatch. It’s a cost savings measure that we hope allowed BMW to put more money into drivetrain development. And knowing what we do, we have a hunch that’s exactly what has happened.

With the F56 being developed alongside the new front wheel drive BMW, one of the more pressing question in the minds of most MINI fans is probably this: is there enough difference between the new BMW and the F56? Do the cars share so much that the soul of MINI is lost in the cost savings of sharing platforms with the Bimmer? Is the new MINI just a badge change? Based on sources we’ve spoken with inside MINI and BMW who’ve seen both new designs (people have been in the room with both of the prototypes), the answer is a resounding no. The takeaway we’ve heard? You’d never guess the same chassis platform was underpinning both cars.

Despite concerns on the interwebs the next generation MINI isn’t getting larger outside of perhaps an inch or so to deal with crash standards. And it’s also not getting heavier. In fact our sources are telling us to expect the opposite.

While all the F56 test mules we’ve seen thus far have been heavily camouflaged using tack-on panels and MINI’s normal psychedelic yellow pattern, our sources have helped us peel back the tape a bit.

Let’s start with the one thing that caught the most attention – the elongated nose sprouting out far over the front axel. The MINI has always been known for it’s wheels on the corner stance and this test mule seemed to be completely at odds with it. Luckily we believe this is not a hint of it’s final production form.

Sources have been telling us in the past few months that the front of the F56 will be very reminiscent of the Rocketman concept in the way the hood is less sloped and more flat. According to these same insiders the F56 will also feature the Rocketman’s large upright grille but with a chrome surround instead of black.

Elsewhere looks for a few more creases – notably just above the plastic wheel arches which are also confirmed for the next generation MINIs.

Around back the F56?s rear logo is no longer set in the body, but in the plastic trim/grab handle. Otherwise the rear should be a natural evolution of the current MINI form language.

But that doesn’t mean we’re not in for a number of small surprises. One that we can share has to do with the fuel filler cap. On the Cooper S, the S logo is pressed into the chrome fuel filler cap itself.

Also worth noting, the F56 will be offered with an optional slim-line roof rail whih fit very close to the body. This is very similar to BMW’s offerings on the new X1, X3 and wagon models. This option will allow for a much easier and non-evasive way to attached bike racks etc.

Wheels are growing slightly with sizes ranging from 15″ to 18″ from the factory. And yes, the MINI will be moving to a five bolt pattern to match the new front wheel drive BMWs.

In the coming days we’ll be going into details on the new MINI focusing more on the interior technology and finally the new family of three and four cylinder engines powering the car.

  • Hoq1

    Sounds interesting so far… Any word on whether the new series of direct injection engines will solve the carbon buildup on the valves?

    • We’ll have more on the engines later this week.

    • fatty

      I would think the N18 engine is still the finest.

  • Keep it coming – I like a slow reveal…

  • coel

    I’ve been telling myself the styling especially the hood-to-nose area and the overall “long” look are a part of disguise, and the final production design will be closer to the R series. Similar concern to the interior design / UI refresh.

    Engine/performance side of things are sounding very assuring, but I’m really looking forward to seeing the whole package.

    I’m debating if I should pick up a very final production of R56, a fully loaded JCW or go for the F56 in a year or two to replace 2011 MCS…

    • Herr26

      There is no need to be concerned there is substantial disguise and padding on the F56 prototypes that it elongates the car out of proportion , especially the front section. What you will see is typically MINI but in a fresh and more current approach to the classic MINI look. I seen a black F56 Cooper S and it looks just like a MINI should , youthful , desirable , sporty , thoroughly modern and still completely unisexual ( appealing to both male and female demographic.) I just wanted to take it for a drive there and then. My current dislike of the current MINI is that some of the wheel designs are to be fair very boring and mainstream. I am glad that they have all new designs which will actually stand out more.

      It is expected to see light camouflaged F56 in late spring , early summer.

  • Stewart

    Great to get some news on the MINI F56 finally! I hope they keep as much the look of the R56 front as they can, if it does not look right I’m thinking next car not a MINI or a late R56. a MINI has to Look as close to the R50 as it can. But I love the look of my R56 Cooper only ever let down by dash rattles.

    • ulrichd

      It’s been said several times that the F56 nose will have a lot of Rocketman DNA in it. While I am a big R50/53 fan, I think after 10 years plus of pretty much the same design it is time for something a bit different, yet still very MINI.

  • ulrichd

    Any chance we’ll see this in Geneva?

    • You will see…. something…. in Geneva

      • Herr26

        @Geneva, which although is not the actual replacement but to show where things can go but when you see it, it will in a few months become slightly familiar as the countdown initiates to the next generation MINI family and MINI design language.

        More very soon.

  • While I appreciate the article and the coverage of the forthcoming hatch, I feel like this is merely restated former news. Would it be possible to reveal anything else?

  • Kenny

    Gabe, Will the F56 JCW be released with all other trim levels or will it’s release be staggered as was with the current generation. I hope to death not. The F56 JCW is my next car.

  • Any idea if the Roadster and Coupe are going to get a similar overhaul to the interior and drivetrain in 2014?

    • Herr26

      Nothing will be radically overhauled for the current MINI Coupe and Roadster. Until their radically overhauled replacements which can be summed up as a MINI equivalent in design concept idea to the Porsche Cayman and Boxster.

    • They’re full redesign won’t come until 2017/2018. BMW and MINI models traditionally last seven years.