The 2014 F56 MINI: Here’s the Interior


We’ve seen glimpses of the interior before but none quite like this. Snapped by a Reddit user what we see above is a full view of the base F56 interior. When we say base we’re specifically referring to one of the two sizes of LCD screen that will likely prevalent on most MINIs sold. What we see here is the cheapest spec interior (there will be four total). The higher spec interiors will actually feature different and improved soft dash materials similar to the new 1 Series BMW.

Then there’s the odd looking bezel around the central stack. That bezel is a bit more than the simple piece of plastic it may seem. The strip around the circular portion of the centre stack is actually mood lighting which lights up and swirls around when you engage the keyless ignition (now standard).

And yes, the center speedometer is gone. Instead it’s replaced by a larger digital unit behind the wheel directly in the driver’s line of site as well as the traditional analog unit. The new tack will be a smaller, semi-circular gauge attached to the left hand side of the speedometer. It’s a more contemporary design, and frankly, a little funky.

Why is MINI ditching the center speedo? Two reasons. First, MINI has taken hit after hit in consumer surveys with the primary speedometer being located in the center of the car. They’re finally listening to that feedback. Secondly, the electronics of this car will be almost identical to the upcoming front wheel drive BMW, and while that doesn’t mean they couldn’t do a center speedo, it meant that there was additional cost this time in making it happen.

The steering wheel in the photo above is actually the BMW version that has been put in this car to throw us off. The final unit will be similar to MINI’s current design with all the functionality you see on the BMW wheel. In general our sources have told us to expect the three spoke wheel to retain the overall shape of the current wheel with more angular details.

You can read much more on the new MINI in the MotoringFile’s F56 section. In the meantime thoughts? We know you have them. Let’s hear what you think in the comment section below.

Update: Here’s sneak peek at the final MINI steering wheel design that is missing from the text mule pictured above. Also seen here (and in my mind the most controversial change is the speedometer replacing the tach and the tach becoming a small half circle to the left. Not a surprise as it’s something we reported on last year but still this is the best view we’ve had yet of it. (courtesy of


  • AMS

    I don’t hate it, but more importantly (for me), I don’t see anything there that makes me feel the need to wait five years for them to update the Roadster with this interior.

    • Kevin Stephenson

      I agree. I had already planned my next MINI to be a Roadster but I would rather buy one with the current interior before it is upgraded to this one. But I will probably wait to see this interior in person before I say that definitely. I am a sucker for lights and if the mood-lighting center-speedo want-to-be deal works really cool, I might wait. Just have to see.

      • AMS

        I do really like the big red toggle for starting the car, though. That’s cool.

        Everything else seems like a lateral move to me. If I were in the market for a hardtop hatchback, I would totally wait for the F56, but mostly for the engine, suspension and tech changes, not for the aesthetics of the interior.

  • Ian Harrison

    I wouldn’t buy that version. The centre section in the circle is truly hideous. The larger screen version may be better, but this one makes my eyes bleed…

    • Stewart

      I have to agree I buy MINi as it has MINI traits and nice touches harking back to the classic. Dont turn it into a one series. Sales will fall. I’d rather have a fiat 500 over that! My MINi is five years old now and I’m waiting to see what this new one is like. Why they have to muck about inside when it already works. The new engine I apreciate but this is to me a step too far.

      • RedAFMINI

        Have you driven a Fiat 500? They’re awful! Slow, rolly, soft, poor interior, etc. Not even a comparison, even with some of the style and character gone.

  • Speck

    Boy is this disappointing. They’ve gotten rid of the center speedo but kept the giant pie plate – so what you end up with is an awkward mess. On the plus side, it does look like a happy robot face, so they have that going for them. I was holding off purchasing the current with high hopes for the f56, but now after seeing what a mess they’ve made of the interior, I have little hope for the rest of the car

    • Nathaniel Salzman

      Like the R56 center stack, it will likely look MUCH better with the larger Nav screen present. If I didn’t know the big center circle was really supposed to be the speedometer, I’d like this a lot.

      • Speck

        Were they supposed to stick with the center speedo and then changed gears? Is that why they kept the big circle or did they feel like they had developed some equity with the big center circle and didn’t want to move away from that? It seems like the whole thing has too much prominence and that Mini keeps evolving this motif bigger and bigger as each new model or update comes out (R53 was smaller, R56 lager and more distinct, Clubman / Paceman even larger and more pronounced, F56 – what we have here). If this car just had a simple, sporty, upscale interior it would be perfect.

  • rhawth99

    My initial reaction is that it is fugly and not very ergonomic (multiple same size small buttons for defroster, ac, etc.). I don’t like the looks of the rectangular vents flanking the center round bezel. I know that this is the base interior, but it looks cheap.

  • Lee L

    Personally I think going away from the quirky center speedo is a mistake but I will get over it. Overall it looks decent.

    On the other hand I am definitely NOT feeling the stock BMW steeering wheel!

  • ulrichd

    Yes it looks just about what you’d get if you listen to consumer surveys as stated in the article. Maybe it’s the BMW steering wheel but it seems to lack that funkiness that puts a smile on your face. I’ll miss the center speedo.

  • Lemelou

    Opportunities missed by the design team:

    Play the Mini Logo theme. If you’re to get rid of the center speedo, a crowd pleaser, but yet keep the big ass circle, and flank it by two losange vents on top of it, at least they should have flipped those upside down and play the Mini logo theme. All the elements are there, the circle and the wings, they just failed to grab the opportunity of playing the theme.

    Few things I like:

    Big Plus: Buttons to program radio stations (i have the nav in my JCW13 and its really annoying to have to sift through multiple layers of menus to go change the station).

    More buttons on the steering wheel makes for more time spent with eyes on the road.


    The stripes in the bezel look like it’ll be part of the ambient lighting. That would be a good surprise.

    What’s going on with the gloves compartment?

    Is that a motor temp gauge I see to the left of the speedo? That’d be nice as well.

  • Doug Travis

    The Center Clock (speedo) made it a mini, I will miss it.

    • b-

      Doug, they will try to tell you that it is not true, that there were a few classic minis that didn’t have the center speedo. Sure but it became a Design Icon! You are 100% correct but I guess to save a buck or two or to make people who take surveys happy they will kill a design icon!

      • Adrian Mannion

        The classic Mini Clubman did not have a centre speedo, Also the Rover Mini’s moved away from that design as well

        • RedAFMINI

          Yeah, look what happened to Rover!

        • Nathaniel Salzman

          Ha ha! Correlation is not causality, but nice try.

        • RedAFMINI

          Just joking, Nathaniel. “They’re ruining the brand!” :p

        • Nathaniel Salzman

          Oh I know. Just joking back. 😉

        • Nick Dawson

          No they are not, but Mini ruined the British Motor Industry. It hardly ever made a profit, and by 1967 BMC went bankrupt.

          At least BMW MINIs make a profit, and the ‘F’ series MINIs will be even more profitable. Independent Automotive Researchers predict that the F55 /F56 will be the biggest selling MINI of all time.

        • robble

          Independent Automotive Researchers had not seen this picture yet.

        • Nick Dawson

          ThIs picture, or one very similar, has been doing the rounds for some time now, it’s yesterday’s news!

      • Nick Dawson

        More than just a few classic Minis, over one million in fact. From 1969 all Clubman and 1275GT Minis had the instruments in front of the steering wheel, HL Minis from late 1980, and all the rest from late1985 until the end of production in 2000.

        At the time, no one mourned the passing of the cheap and nasty ‘economy’ centre speedo, which had originally been fitted to save money and keep the cost down when converting Minis for left-hand drive export markets.

  • Larry

    To me, this has lost the cool styling that makes the MINI different from other cars. Hopefully the production interior is better than this ugly boring one.

  • Jay

    Woah if this is any indication, the exterior will look more “organic”. Less geometric shapes, more lumps.

  • GoRixter

    That steering wheel and those air vents look so un-MINI-like. Yuck!

    • Gary

      Those were EXACTLY my two immediate reactions as well. BMW heritage notwithstanding, the steering wheel looks just like that found in half the rental cars I frequent. Little if any unique character. And why in the world would they chose to retain the traditional circular side vents in combination with the run-of-the-mill rectangular center ones? WTH were they thinking? It looks like a really bad aftermarket adaptation.

      • Gary

        Okay, I now read above that this is NOT the steering wheel to expect. Doesn’t make the rest of it any less disappointing. My horror with the incoherent vent design still applies.

        • GoRixter

          The horror. I wish I had a Brando sound clip when I needed one.

        • GoRixter

          Maybe this is all a ploy to get us to pay for mods. Just wait, the JCW interior will be traditional ’round-ness’ again. 😉

  • Benjamin Sidon

    I have no doubt that the materials are better and that the tech has improved, but the overall look is a nightmare. There’s zero cohesiveness to the design….it looks like a different designer was assigned to each square inch of the interior.

    Curiously, the F56 appears to be bucking the current trend of simpler, more organic center stacks in favor of the “3D” look of various trim pieces jutting out and overlapping others….not unlike a 90s Pontiac. Very, very disappointing.

    • david r. perry

      totally – the circular vents by the doors, combined with the square vents in the center just look odd.

      I’ll miss the center speedo as a design feature, but not as a functional unit – I never ever look there.

  • Jon

    The vents are just so disappointingly… vanilla/boring/Camry-like/out of charcter. The circular vents in previous generations had so much more personality, and related to all of the other circular or curved shapes in the interior. These new vents look like they were cut out from a completely different car, and very simply put, DO NOT WORK.

    The moving of the speedometer is fine, but the center pie plate area is just a mess… Odd cutlines, dials and it just looks overall too busy. Way too much going on there…

    Things used to be so simple and refined back in the R50/R53 days; like the interior was designed by one person, holistically. And while it drew criticism for the large center-mounted speedo, at least the dashboard and gauges looked consistent. This new F56 interior looks like 5 different designers were tasked with different parts and pieces, and weren’t allowed to ever meet and make things consistent. The end result is this “dog’s breakfast”…


    To the MINI design team, I say K.I.S.S.

    Not speaking about the rock band, fellas; stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid”. The technology is forcing things to get too complicated and complex. Go back and look at an R50/R53 interior!

  • Gracie has spyphotos showing what appears to be the MINI steering wheel.

  • Brian K

    Wow. (And not in a good way “wow”.)

    The first pic reveals the center stack to be a discombobulated mess. The vents are bad too, but the dual knob, rectangular radio/head unit in the middle of the circular shape is busted-up ugly. The last picture with the larger LCD screen and single knob looks a bit more integrated. But I still dislike it and abhor the thought of no more center speedo.

    As others said: there’s no coherence to the interior design. Indeed, it appears to be the result of different designers working in silos with no idea what the others are doing and no collaboration.

  • MF’rJones

    I don’t think it’s too bad. I will however, mis the speedo in the center. I was hoping for (and I knew it wasn’t happening) for a Chrono-Package for the new change up….. I’ll wait for an actual view to make final judgement. I liked the Countryman in pics, but in real life, not so much……

  • Kevin Stephenson

    I’m going to miss the Center Speedo. When people get in the MINI now there is that, window toggles not on doors, etc. A lot of “Unique” things that creates talking points. This seems more like just a BMW inside. People will ask what is with the odd big circle and you will have to explain its a throwback to having a speedometer there but without the speedo, it just seems odd to have to explain. I will still buy it eventually and it will still be unique on the outside but don’t understand caving to the masses to looses its appeal. But this is just a small picture of one part of the interior. I may sit down in it and drive it and think its all perfect and creates a great driving experience. Just have to wait and see for myself before I criticize too sharply!

  • b-

    Well, this is the result of design by committee as a result of a survey responses! This is TERRIBLE!

    They have removed all of the MINI elements, the things that were design Icons, (Center Speedo,) the AC controls shaped like the MINI logo and all the fun! Sure, this is more streamlined, and more refined but I am a MINI owner, I want fun too!

    I guess we have an option, there is still LOTS of time to order R5X cars or just keep the R52, 53 or 50 that you have now.

    I for one will not drive this car with a Camery looking interior!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mark H

    Scrap the whole thing. Throw away the surveys. Have a designer live in an R50/53 for a while and ask himself “How could I improve upon this?” The only thing I like in the entire picture is that they didn’t get rid of the toggle switches. Everything else is horribly wrong.

    • ulrichd

      Agreed. Of course, but I have posted this before, are we just like the BMW guys who claim there has not been a real M3 since the E30. But if MINI were to do a limited run of “classic” R50/53 cars I would be first in line.

      • Brian K

        If they were to do a limited run, call it a rerelease of the R53, I’ll camp out in line with ya ; )

        • stew

          Stick this new engine in it and all the other mechanical improvements and I’d be sitting right beside you! Is it not enough to dazzle us with the new mechanical stuff without killing the interior as well. Currently running a R56 Cooper and was waiting to see what the new MINI was like before I changed. That Audi A1 looks very appealing now as I really think that dash kills it for me.

      • Mike

        I was optimistic initially, but after these latest shots.. Meh. I’ll just keep my R53, thank you. There are some awesome deals out there. I just picked up my 3rd R53 – an ’06 w/ all options including LSD with 35k miles for only $13k. Even had English Leather (Lounge Leather). Tacked on my old JCW intake/exhaust and I couldn’t be happier. I really don’t want to be “that guy” but I’m never selling my R53, ever.

        • Nick Dawson

          Interestingly, the top of the F56 dash is almost an exact copy of the one on the R53 dash. As a long term R53 owner, you will be aware that when the sat nav was ordered for an R53, the factory relocated the central speedo to sit alongside the tacho in front of the steering wheel, so the F56 set-up is nothing new for MINI. In some ways, therefore, the F56 dash appears to be more of an evolution of the R53 than the R56. For me the new dash won’t be a deal breaker and I think given time, most MINI fans will feel the same.

  • please

    This just in: shit changes sometimes.

  • Andrej Tsukamoto

    this looks horrible!!

  • Volkan

    As stated by the others, what’s the point of keeping the center pie if there’s nothing in it that fits to that shape? It simply makes it difficult for the designers to fit a rectangular screen, knobs, etc. in there. I’m sure they were thrilled with the idea of working with a big circle and trying to “fit” things into it.

    With every generation of MINI, the number of buyers who know/care about the kirks that make a MINI is decreasing. At one point, they have to cut the cord and move onto the next iteration of the interior design. This could have been F56, but it now sits at the cross-point with awkward design elements.

    Just like the R56 center dash, a navigation option seems to be “required” to make this look better. Everything below the center pie (used to say speedo) looks good.

  • lilcoopr

    It is too early for April Fools jokes- right?????

    This looks absolutely horrendous. I just showed it to 2 friends who didn’t know which car it was and they thought it was some cheap entry level POS from Detroit. I will honestly never buy a new MINI again (after being a happy 3-time MINI owner with 6 in my family). There are occasionally design evolutions that need to be adjusted to in time but this is hands-down one of the worst car interiors I’ve ever seen. Nothing flows.

    Of course there was the key tidbit above: they could have kept the speedo but didn’t for cost reasons. Enough said.

    Good job, MINI – with this redesign you are helping to increase resale values of current gen and preloved MINIs.

    xo LILCOOPR Confessions of a MINIac

  • NoHoR56

    They’re trying too hard. This looks like just another car interior and will age much more quickly than what they’ve done so far. Big thumbs down.

  • Paul Malone

    This is ugly. The appeal of the dashboard design in the current R56 was it’s nod to the styling of the original Mini with the round air vents, large round center-mounted speedo, switch panel in the centre console, etc. That’s why I have both a 1979 Mini and a 2011 MINI Cooper. But if this is the actual plan for future MINIS then you can count me out as a long-term customer. This is the design I’d expect for an updated version of the Austin Marina. And we know how well things worked out for that model!

  • BimmerFile_Michael

    Correct me if I am wrong but are all indicators pointing that the US will see the two more expensive options rather than this- as in there will be some form of MINI Connected as standard? Much like the ROW gets crap radios now in BMWs and MINIs but the US gets the upgrade …

  • Aurel

    That entry level dashboard is a very dude/pickup truck looking one …

  • Ollie2

    I think this sticks that BMW is thinking about taking out the center speedometer. It has been a trademark of MINI.

    • Nathaniel Salzman

      If BWM were going to kill the round center piece, they would have done so already. This is their attempt, if not a popular one, at trying to preserve the spirit of the past MINI design language. Doesn’t mean they’ve succeeded, but that’s clearly their intent. And for the record, I’m squarely in the camp of “put the speedo back in the middle where it belongs”. Perhaps there will be a MINI Connected option that shows a big, faux analog speedo on the screen. I could go for that.

      • Volkan

        If there’s no speedo in the center round piece, then what’s the point of placing it there and making the entire dash awkward. I don’t think many people -especially the first time MINI buyers- really care that much about an “empty” round center piece. Let’s hope that they won’t insist on keeping the center round shape in the next next generation. There’s no point, really.

  • Hugh Wolfe

    Hey I think this is great looking, in a Chevy SUV… This is NOT a Mini interior this is something designed by a corporate commitie that just doesn’t care anymore. Theres no character, nothing that says I’m an individual and I know I’m different that mainstream… in short it’s a POS.

  • oldsbear

    Awkward, cluttered, over-baked: un-MINI.

  • Foxhoundadam

    It’s a step in the right direction. I will say that middle dash, esspecially the Mickey Mouse Countryman version is a big reason that is keeping me from getting one now. I don’t want generic but I don’t want a joke either. It still could be better and still quilt with some tweaking.

  • stew

    pleae telll me the Wheel is not the Mini version, Seriously I not buy a MINI with it!!!

  • Wolfgang Gullich

    Basically I can sum this interior up in one word: Ugly with a capital U.

    and what’s up with the steering wheel that’s straight out of a 3-series? Granted, the addition of a heated steering wheel in a MINI is a nice thought finally (wish my R60 had it), but i think the loss of the MINI-specific wheel is a huge detriment to the design.

    Really, IMO, this interior looks cheap and like it was slapped together with a large amount of incongruent shapes that don’t mesh well at all. I would even say from first appearances that the hard plastic surfaces look like they are straight out of a late-90s Kia.

    • Gabriel Bridger

      As stated in the article that is a 1 Series wheel installed to keep the final MINI wheel design out of the public view. The MINI version will look similar like the current design.

      • Gary

        Kind of odd that they would choose to withhold a design element that would likely be more acceptable to the MINI faithful than most everything else we’re seeing here.


    Glad i decided to get the R56 now, this just looks like a BMW with a giant radio tumor sticking out of the dash. If they’re going to do round air vents(which I’ve always thought added some unusual character), and they have on the far side of the steering wheel, it should be consistent. Why have round AND rectangular vents on the same dash?

    Good points IMO -the cluster over the steering wheel looks interesting -the start/stop toggle Bad points IMO -inconsistent design -wtf glovebox? -dual zone climate control(really necessary or useful on such a small car?) -weird tumor center radio thing

    Another poster mentioned turning the center vents upside down to make a MINI logo in the middle of the dash, and that could’ve worked very well, but i think they’ve missed the mark by a long way here. We’ll see if the higher end options are better i guess…

  • Mr Remi

    I actually don’t mind it. I don’t, however, get a wow factor or have any excitement to go show my friends the interior of my next car. I do find it considerably more modern, which I like.

  • Wayne Dyer

    Hmmm. Definitely BMW’d. Need to think about this.

    What concerns me the most though is the relatively thick curvy part away from the center column. I find a BMW 3-series uncomfortable to drive (I’ve had them as loaners a few times) because my right leg wants to be right where the column sweeps into the dash. Now, here it doesn’t swoop into the center console, and that’s my major complaint on the 3-series, so this might be OK, but this is going to take some getting used to, especially if the exterior has that big overhang in the front that we’ve seen in the mule shots.

  • my gosh

    It’s downhill from now? Ugly dash… I thought that’s why its called a MINI? Funky interior, speedo in the middle, toggle switches, etc….

  • Sharkster

    Have to add my voice to the chorus – this is terrible.

  • MrsDarcy

    I’m so disappointed… I feel like a parent that just found out their kid got an F on a really important paper – I expected more from MINI :(

  • Chris

    Guess I’ll be keeping my R55 for awhile… If I buy another MINI down the road it’ll probably be an R53 as a 2nd / “fun” car. Unless the generation after this next one is drastically improved, another company will get my business when it comes time for a new daily driver. It’s not that the interior is “un-MINI-like”; it’s that it’s (as others have noted) just plain hideous for any car. The “design” has all the cohesiveness of a ransom note.

  • MF’rJones

    It could be worse. Look at the New Jeep Cherokee………


    If I previously had any reservations about trading in my ’05 R53 for a 2013 R56 JCW vs waiting for the 2014 F56, this latest image of the F56 interior just made my decision nearly genius. I pick up my new Mini tomorrow and will enjoy its oversized speedo knowing that it has relevance.

  • anonymous

    Does anyone else remember the Great MINI Rush of 2013, when everyone interested in MINIs scrambled to get their hands on the last of the R56 vehicles made because they hated the new vehicle design so much?

    • Stephen Lane

      I made sure to order my R55 before Hot Chocolate went away. Now I’m extra glad I did!

  • Me

    It looks too mismatched – round air vents with the square air vents, the huge tumor looking radio thing where the speedo was, the new speedometer/tach combo looks too funky. I’m seriously considering buying out my lease of my 2011, but I’ll wait to see what it looks like in person or try to nab one of the last 2013’s if I can. Not sure if they’ll still be around new though in July 2014. Sigh.

  • coel

    Sadly, I really don’t like what I’m seeing. As much as I miss the speedo, that unmatching air vents, very bmw-like steering wheel, and the fact that tach is pushed aside are equally all making me think “really??”

    I was committed to keep my 2011 R56 for many years, but I’m now feeling really committed.

    I hope the next designers (and BMW) will listen to their hearts and the enthusiasts rather than general consumer surveys for the 4th gen… Or maybe the Rocket Man… I guess F56 isn’t for me.

  • Aaron

    I think it’s a terrible interior. But I also think the R56 has a terrible interior. All these comments about how bad this looks are as vitriolic as they were when the MINI moved from R50’s/R53’s to R56’s. Suffice it to say that MINI is pulling away from me as a consumer. I agree with the folks who have said bring back the R53 body, colors, and interiors. Done.

    • Gary

      The negative comments here have already blown past the reactions to the R56…just go back and read those old posts and comments. If one scores the R53 interior at an 8 out of 10, the R56 interior dropped it to about a 5. I’d give the F56 a grade of 2.

  • Aaron

    Keyless ignition now standard? I’m driving a car, not turning on a vacuum cleaner. Give me a key to turn. Toyota’s are appliances, MINI’s are cars…or at least they were.

    • please

      It’s not that different from the current “put fob in slot” standard. Your anger is a few years late.

      • Aaron

        I’m still happy with my R53. I thought the key fob was an option, not a standard, but I have not paid too much attention to the R56 the past couple of years.

  • tobi

    :-/ well… hello mini? what’s going on? curious to see the final form.

  • Captain

    I think you are all being too kind with your comments. Seriously. This is an unmitigated disaster for the brand – 2013 should be a bumper-crop year for sales given this entry. AWFUL. In that center stack it looks like someone crossed a mid-80″s radio with a sci-fi mood orb = FAIL. My only hope is that this is a head fake and not a headache. Thanks for killing MINI’s mojo BMW, was it worth saving a few bucks?!?!?

  • Chris Bamford

    Rant warning. I’m on my third Mini, but the one I have now will be my last if this is where mini interiors are headed. It’s far too mainstream for me, too dull, too normal.

    I’m pleased that consumer surveys have criticised the old interiors, it has meant that it is hugely individual. The survey monkey who decided to act on that feedback has made a massive mistake. In a world where cars all look the same consumers will look at cost and specification as a purchasing lever, and mini fails in many of those categories sadly. It’s individuality and character are priceless.

    Its not that i dont like this interior, I absolutely loathe it.

    It represents everything that i choose to avoid in a car interior. The vents, the buttons, the clumsy centre console, the pathetic compensation of an add on to the tachometer… it even has a feel of claustrophobia.

    Have mini done this in search of mainstream dollars? Mine arent, and I think I can speak for many many people who have evangelised the brand over the years. I sincerely hope that this is an early prototype, and never gets to the showroom. If it does, it’ll never make it to my garage

    • Captain

      Agreed 100%.

    • oldsbear


  • nervous

    My anxiety over not having a CD player is crippling.

    • b-

      CDs are on life support right now. Just think of all the music you can fit on a thumb drive and never have to worry about changing a disc ever again. I for one have had my entire music collection digital for 14 years now.

      With digital content on your smartphone or music player, streaming content and the radio this is more than enough and you will never want to deal with a CD ever again.

      I have one MP3 disc that lives in my player for times that I don’t plug in my phone but that rarely happens.

      • nervous

        Some of the world can still live (happily, gleefully) without a cell phone.

        • b-

          You don’t have a cell phone? I did say you can have music on a USB thumb drive.

  • James Nolan

    I think people forget that you didnt have to use the centre speedo if you didnt want to, and there are other cars on the market with a similar digital set up with no speedo directly in front of the driver, I can remember a citroen we once had like this. All in all, screw the consumer surveys, they obviously werent filled in by mini fans. The car has sold well above expectation with this set up for 12 years, why change it for a few moaning customers? They obviously still bought the car despite this and knew what they were getting into. And I really am hoping MINI pulls something good out of the bag with the exterior because frankly, they should be ashamed of that interior! It looks like a Ford Focus, not a MINI!!!!! Please someone save our small car!!

  • mgnards

    I had a thought, and I’m wondering if anyone knows… Maybe the hashmarks where the center speedo used to be may be LEDs synchronized to simulate the speedometer?

    • Nathaniel Salzman

      They do light up, but our understanding is it’s more of an aesthetic effect than anything communicating speed. Apparently on startup, the car puts on a bit of a light show.

      • b-

        Yeah, they could have saved on this bit of fluff and spent the money on making the interior look like a MINI’s interior.

      • Aurel

        If I remember correctly the lights will also double up as visual cues for L/R direction indicators when coupled with a NAV

  • jason

    Before making comments I decided to sleep on it. With a different steering wheel, especially a two-spoke one like on my ’03, and the upgraded materials as mentioned, I think that it will be better than the current interior by leaps and bounds. I have wanted a new MINI for sometime, but the current interior is one of my major complaints. I think that this is a good improvement, however, I will, like many others, really miss the center speedo.

  • Mars

    Need to agree with the others. What’s the point of a big central circular whole with a square box in it? Why put the analog speedo in the middle and small tach? Couldn’t it be the other way around, with the digital speedo like today? And those air vents in the middle, which look like they came from a Kia and clash with the side circular vents? Looks like my next car will have to be a X1…

  • wetwolf

    Yuck! And that is putting it mildly. So if I want something that looks a little less bad, I have to spend a $1k minimum for a screen…..gee, thank you sir may I have another.

    Wasn’t the first rule of design school that rounds and squares do not play well with each other?

    Did you notice the lower glovebox is gone?

    Did you see the new WRX, wow!

  • b-

    After taking some more time to look at the pictures and think about this interior, the following is why it really is a terrible interior for a MINI.

    1. The center circle. Square peg in a round hole, Ouch! What an utter waste of space above and below the radio. My R52 doesn’t have a single wasted space, yes, the early R50 and R53 cars missed some storage opportunities that they caught in the 2005 refresh but this is just a total waste. Sure, the screen is what, 3X larger than my R52 display and 2X the R56 one but it looks SO cheap and don’t even try to use the, “but it is the least expensive radio option,” for what you pay for these cars why have a cheap looking radio option?

    2. The center stack not being grounded. The center stack tries to fake the look of the downtubes from the R53 and R56 but then they are just cut off too early. Sure, they aren’t REALLY cut off but they look to be cut off with them getting thinner and pushed back and not a nice line all the way down. Reminds me of what it looks like when the tubes are removed from the R53, the radio just hangs there and looks dumb, that is what this looks like. Way back when a forum member wanted to mod his downtubes into a U shape under the stereo and have them not planted in the center console. The photoshop looked like junk and as far as I know he scrapped the idea.

    3. The Speedo and Tach. Sure, the Speedo is now where the speedo is in just about every other car on the planet with the Tach pushed back to second place. Why not do a Chrono Style Speedo and Tach where they are equally big? This setup is not MINI at all.

    4. The Missing circular elements. The Vents next to the big dumbe center circle are no longer circles. The Speedo face is a circle but the pod is not, it is a mis-shapen blob with the warning lights on one side and the Tach on the other. Boo!

  • Don Hopings

    Gawd, where to begin…

    1. Fugly, and we all know what that means.
    2. Light show at startup is smacks of adolescent boy racer
    3. You would probably need to stop the car before you start to search for the correct button for what you want to do. Too much potential for attention diversion.
    4. I don’t like the ignition switch in the center where it could be hit accidentally and the engine shut down.
    5. I realize that the steering wheel is from a BMW, but there’s too many button on it. Again, potential for attention diversion.
    6. Let me guess, they still don’t have water temp and voltage or oil pressure?
    7. Assuming the driver now has a right hand window switch, how does the passenger open the driver’s window (hint: more difficult that the previous system).
    8. Larger, upscale screen looks better than the cheapie, if you can afford it.
    9. The more BMW tries to make it “different”, the more it becomes un-MINI-like. The moore you make it un-MINI-like, the more it becomes just another expensive econo-box. You don’t take a great concept and continue to dilute it.
    10. All this does is make my 2009 JCW Clubman look better and better. It was born rare and getting rarer all the time.
    11. The large bezel appears to be shiny. Great for nighttime reflections.
    12. Double Fugly, and we all know what that means.
    • please

      4- Yes, I’m sure that’s exactly how that will work. I’m sure a car with this much technology in it won’t be able to lock out the “Engine Off” switch during times that it would be inherently dangerous.

      1. Really? THAT is a pressing concern?

      2. I have no idea how to parse the phrase “just another expensive econobox.” Seems oxymoronic. And even if the MINI is both expensive and an econobox, are there really so many other examples of the same combination of high price and cheap construction that it could qualify as “just another?”

      • Don Hopings

        4) No, I don’t think you would want to disable that switch. As it is, you can shut of the engine at any time. To do something different such that it was no longer the case is probably unsafe. 7) Yes, I never wanted switches on the door. It’s just more expense; completely unneeded. 9) Econobox as I have used it relates more to the footprint and cargo capacity of the MIN compared to others. If you striped it down, even below a Justa, and it was made by Toyota, it would be an econobox in the popular context of the word. But the fact remains, the less MINI-like it is makes it more like other similarly sized cars in the market. Much of the uniqueness that IS the MINI will be lost. There is a Cardinal Rule here: people don’t buy MINIs because that are like everything else. BMW would do well to remember that.

  • Disappointed

    My 2 cents, Crap! We have people flocking to MINI because of their distinctive styling, and the MINI gives us this crap! Guess my ’13 JCW Coupe will be my last.

  • Evan

    Few things:

    Firstly, this is a pre-production interior. So there are pieces of plastic in place of gloveboxes, no finishing trim, a blatantly non-MINI stock BMW steering wheel, and materials that are roughly made and fit. As enthusiasts reading on this site, I’m a little surprised that few recognize design limitations/conditions to a pre-production interior. We all love MINIs and love our MINIs, but they would NOT sell them without any changes forever. Eventually sales would soften, fall off and the brand would fold. The R50 is a great car (as I approach 100k miles in mine) but there are many improvements that could be made and compromises that a very large number of consumers wouldn’t put up with.

    Secondly, I love design heritage but I also like evolution.

    The round circle in the middle is much better than another square or rectangle for the ubiquitous in-car screen- hence something quirky about the MINI. I also like the three round knobs for the climate control, just like the manual HVAC controls on my 2004 R50- simple and clean. While I love the design of the R50 interior, it’s components left something to be desired for overall quality. The R56 was a bit better in places, but obviously cheapened in others. This F56 interior appears to be on the path of noticeably better material and assembly quality.

    I am sad that the major dial behind the steering wheel is the speedometer and not the tachometer- at least the tach is tacked on I guess… And I wish there was an easy way to fill up the toggle switches without getting PDC. The other toggles will obviously be in all models (sport/eco, DSC, ignition, auto stop/start) but PDC will likely be an option (I hope) and sadly leave one blank toggle in many MINIs.

    I really can’t wait to see the final design. My expectations are high, especially for the F55 and the improvements to fuel economy. And I’ll solve any distress with updated MINIs by simply keeping my 2004 forever. Keep the info coming!

    • Gary

      “…I’m a little surprised that few recognize design limitations/conditions to a pre-production interior.”

      Really? Given that the title of the post is loudly proclaiming “Here’s the Interior” why would you expect people to think it’s unrepresentative?

      • Versus

        It’s not an “official” photo, thus some people may choose to withhold judgment until something more official is presented. Also, I believe there are various interior trim levels for the F56. I don’t see what trim type this is or even if will be available in all regions.

        • Nathaniel Salzman

          Additionally, if I’ve learned anything from writing here at MF, it’s that the photos almost never do the final product justice. The Paceman and GP for example, look 100X better in person than they do in even the best press photos. So the real proof is going to be in the pudding of seeing it in person. Hell, even the R56 interior looks better in person than it ever did in the pre-production photos we saw in 2006.

        • Versus

          How did you get a down vote for that? Totally reasonable comment. Boo birds in full effect.

        • Nathaniel Salzman

          Oh there’s no talking some people off the ledge when things change, no matter what the actual result. They’re entitled to their opinion just like me.

        • Gary

          But you must admit that by reasonable objective measures (e.g., go back and count the negative comments on MF when the R56 interior was introduced for comparison) that the mostly one-sided reaction being recorded here is at least anomalous and most likely unprecedented.

        • Nathaniel Salzman

          That would assume it was the exact same group of people then and now, which it isn’t. Because of the R56 and the R60, the MINI family (and our readership) is bigger and more diverse than it was in 2006. So it’s not exactly an apples to apples comparison. You can’t just count comments post-to-post and say that this interior is therefore worse because a greater percentage of comments on this post vs. a post years ago didn’t like it. It doesn’t work like that. A lot of people obviously don’t like it, but most people hate everything new from MINI when it first comes out. It’s a pattern we’ve seen over and over again. I’ve read literally EVERY comment left on MotoringFile in nearly the last three years (because they all come to my email inbox), and I was one of the most frequent commenters and comment readers prior to that. What I can say with absolute certainty is that there’s a contingent of MF readers that simply don’t do well with change, no matter what that change is. That said, most also tend to get over it. People get used to new things and new people join the community BECAUSE of whatever it was that was at the time so divisive. Do you want to read something interesting? Go look through the comments on some of the early Clubman posts — back when it was just a rumored concept. People freaked out. That’s when “they’re ruining the brand!” started to become a cliche. Looking back across the thousands of comments I’ve read since then, it’s a pretty common pattern. Thing is, that’s fine! Hate the new interior. Keep hating the Countryman. Keep wishing every MINI was a 2005 R53. That’s part of being a MINI fan and a MotoringFile reader. But what you can’t do, is take what people say in the comments here on MotoringFile and treat it like it’s the unanimous opinion of every MINI fan and every person likely to come to the brand in the coming years. But just watch, when the actual F56 comes out, no matter what it is, there’s going to be a really vocal group of people leaving a lot of the same comments left here, and that’s fine. That’s how it goes. That’s the chorus and these are the verses. Some people obviously don’t like it. Honestly, having not looked at it in a few days, I like it more than I did when I first saw it. I’m curious to see what the final version looks like. But more than that, I’m much more curious about the rest of the car and what it will be like to drive.

        • Gary

          I appreciate your thoughtful response…thanks!

        • Versus

          Yea, bring on the rest of the car!

        • Captain

          Agreed. If the car is as fun to drive or better than the current sample, I can get past interior aesthetics fairly quick. Re: Clubman. It is the only reason why I am in the MINI community, until that car was created, the brand never showed up on my search given our family’s needs. That said it has been a few days and I still think that center stack is a huge mess.

  • Adrian Mannion

    Sorry but does not work for me, its far to BMW than MINI. has to have round vents to start with. Plus the radio looks its been thrown in as an after thought. Looks totally un MINI and I think the next generation will struggle to win admirers. I just hope its not becoming a 1 Series in a MINI body!!

  • AMS

    If round vents and a center spedometer make it a MINI, then I really need to figure out how these “Yaris” badges got on my car.

    • Nathaniel Salzman


  • nervous

    Maybe we can an App center speedo & maybe some App round vents & maybe an App tach… :-b

  • Aurel

    In that newly added last photo … looks like the headlamp switches have made it to a more “traditional” spot as well.

  • Ray

    As an R53 owner, I am disappointed at the mismash look of this cockpit…hopefully they iron thing out with the higher-end options. I agree, the nav space (square peg in a round hole) look terrible. Should be better with a larger nav screen. The tach should be bigger, not just an add-on to the new smaller speedo. Perhaps they should try something like the previous cockpit chrono package in the R53? Overall, it looks too busy…too much bling (like a GM or Ford product). A cleaner, simpler dash would be more appealing. They have progressively improved things, but that doesn’t mean they are better!

  • zugzugmcd

    I don’t think it looks that bad and certainly not bad enough to say that I would never buy another MINI. I bought my MINI because it’s such a fun car to drive. As long as the F56 is comfortable and fun to drive, it will be my next car.

  • chan

    they ve just killed all things what makes a MINI MINI… there is no minimalistic characteristic left and it just look like a common car.. ffs this should be april first joke? is it right?

  • Brian Grady

    What a horrible design, really disappointed in that. If that is any indicater of the design direction, I am sure I am going to hate the exterior design as well.

  • Bor

    it is bad. Un-Minimalistic and just plain ugly. I thought my 07 speedo was a step down from R53, but this helps me put it into perspective… Looks like I’m gonna keep my R56 for awhile.

  • Nathan Fong

    That steering wheel looks like it was from a Chevy, and the IP, Looks like it belongs in the new Jeep Cherekee 2014…. Ugly.

  • Gary

    It’s interesting to go back and read the comments on the ’07 R56 intro posts (both the “Interior Impressions” and the full review by Gabe) as a comparison. Suffice it to say that there were plenty of folks who expressed negative opinions about the interior design, but not even close to the level of disappointment and vitrol we’re seeing among the overwhelming majority here. I think the paradigm shift we’re being asked to swallow with the F56 is on a whole different magnitude.

  • Versus

    In time I wonder if we will look back on this and point it out as the moment r53 and r56 owners found common ground, the new GP couldn’t even do that.

    I’ll withhold judgment for the time being.

  • lavardera

    Sounds like the same bunch of weenies that complained and complained about the R56. “Playskool, Playskool…” So, see here – this is what you got for that. Not a drop of “Playskool”.

    • Bob Hayhurst


    • Captain

      Does that mean they will switch it back to Playschool since there are even more complaints this go round?

      • lavardera

        You sir, please stand over here with the folks that demanding the reinstatement of the R53 interior, yes that’s them, the ones that seem to be in a trance..

  • Mills

    I’m more upset about the death of the beautiful, round tachometer. That little half moon thing is ridiculous. It would be fine in a car with an automatic, like a Toyota IQ, that nobody would care about driving, but not in a so called sporty car like the MINI The BMW design & engineering Death Spiral continues. If MINI doesn’t have a design edge, then they really have nothing, because Audi and Mercedes are shitting all over them in every other category right now.

  • Dimopo

    I hope it’s still early to fix this…not mini at all…

  • Swarley

    At least the center circle and cents kind of make the MINI logo together… That’s about all

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      Bingo!! It’s about time somebody realized that! All these “diehard” fans failed to see that the interpretation of the symbol has moved from the A/C controls up .

      120 comments later someone finally got it.

      • auto-xer

        That’s a big stretch…and I guess you’ve been waiting since Post #1 to spring your superior perception skills on the ever-ignorant MINI crowd. Please go back to your hole at BF if you can’t avoid the patronizing attitude.

        • BimmerFile_Michael

          Have a clubman- just tired of people whining about change. Been with a MINI since the R53 and welcome the changes. Just get amused that how people fight progress. Same thing happened last go around, same thing happened when BMW put a V8 in the M3 (which is now the best engine ever and people are sad it is leaving). Change is tough I guess.

          The end result will be far better than what is in these images and the vast majority will appreciate the move up market, greater efficiency, connection and retain sportiness.

          Thanks for the “hole” comment!

        • Nathaniel Salzman

          You’re welcome anytime, Michael.

          While we’re talking about cross pollinating, there may be a BimmerFile vintage BMW motorcycle project in the works. But I digress. “Boo! Hiss! Abomination! Ruining the brand!”

          There, back on topic. 😉

      • Chris Bamford

        eh? So what… does that make it really well designed and original?

      • Nim

        Tell you what, if they inverted the side vents (so that is looks like the MINI wings) I would agree with you. But as presented (in provided picture) this is a missed opportunity. Sharing of BMW DNA is understandable (costs) but even within the gene pool of Homo sapien there is enough variation present for perceived uniqueness. As such what we have is not unique, entirely cohesive nor especially pleasing. Spending more time in CAD to move the mount point slightly to accommodate both a regular and inverted vent could provide the missing uniqueness and cohesiveness. Yes it is a small thing, but the small things add up.

        • Captain

          Bingo. Either it was ill-conceived/poorly implemented or done by accident. Flip the vents around to the proper orientation and maybe we can salvage this hack job with a full screen NAV.

      • Volkan

        I can’t decide which one is more clueless: that half-baked “interpretation” of the MINI logo or your “I’m against everyone who is against change” attitude. Yeah, fit squares into big circles, fill the obvious gaps on top and bottom (in the first picture showing the “base” design) with useless compartments and call it a “brilliant” interpretation of the MINI logo. Now, we get it. Thanks for pointing us to the right direction Michael!

  • Saji

    It’s becoming a BMW console and interior …

  • jasondominy

    THIS IS WRETCHED! I mean, come on, looks like a BMW, not a MINI. And this is where you lose me MINI. So glad my R53 is still humming along at 170k. I would NOT buy this one.

  • that.guy

    “text mule”

    Mi burro she can carry mucho prose, señor.

  • RakSiam

    Good lord that thing is ENORMOUS! Why do we need an analog and a digital speedometer? I don’t believe I have ever looked at the current speedometer. I just use the digital readout above the steering wheel.

  • SandDB

    Oh, the horror. F(AIL)56! The instant you see the classic speedo in a R56 and their elder models, you KNOW you are in a MINI. It’s like when you go overseas and see the foreign cans of soda. You know you have a coke in your hand but the look just throws you off. That “something just isn’t right” feeling really urks you to the core.This look says NISSAN or something equally lame!

  • Beud

    Hopefully this is a bad photochop or just an early prototype

  • James Nolan

    An obvious trick would be to make the whole centre ex-speedo (ladies and gentleman, the death of a design icon, most cars used to be like this) and the square vents (still can’t understand why these are neccessary, just a reverance to boredem) and turn them into a giant MINI badge. But then again, if that happened, cue an entire 7 years of people whove bought a MINI just because they can, and have no respect for the brand, moaning about how it puts them off driving and that its made them nearly hit a tree, and all of those who understand and want more MINI madness lose out again with the 4th gen! (if that ever materialises, i can see MINI starting to die with this generation if all of BMW’s plans for boring the modern motorist come into play). Why change something thats worked so well in 2.5 million + cars?

  • Doug Buchanan

    Wow, where’s the MINI style?

    Hugh Wolfe below has it right – looks like it was pulled from a Chevy SUV or a bland European rental car, especially the ugly vents. At least the wheel’s not for real.


  • Ephman87

    The Fanboys are doing their best to defend this, but to claim that “some people just don’t like change” misses the point. The point is that most people don’t like ugly. The pictures reveal a disjointed mismash, and even if the production version is better resolved (it MUST be!) the structure here suggests neither innovation nor even timid coherence. It’s as if the guys responsible for designing the interior of a rental Malibu were given access to a BMW parts bin and told to squeeze everything around a now-pointless circular element and toss in some toggles. Personally, I’d have been fine if they had started with a completely clean sheet of paper. I’m sure that many other commenters share that view. This is of a piece with the lumpen, frog-eyed exterior of the current series. The problem we have, Mini shills, isn’t that the design is new or different, but that it’s ugly and unresolved. Indeed, misplaced attempts at continuity are the problem. If we are stuck sharing parts bin pieces that are rectangular for cost reasons, then kiss the circular element goodbye. Likewise, if Euro crash regulations wouldn’t permit an exterior with Frank Stephenson proportions, a clean sheet would have been preferable to the wall-eyed froggy “evolution.”

    • Nathaniel Salzman

      If you listen to this week’s episode of White Roof Radio, you can here this “fan boy’s” gripes and disappointments first hand. I’m definitely hoping subsequent views and versions are an improvement over what we’re seeing so far. That said, I stand by my previous statement. Change is never well received, no matter what it is. The one and only exception to this in the past five years has been the Rocketman.

      • Chris Bamford

        ^^^ Change for the better is ALWAYS well received in other words. This sound byte that keeps getting trotted out is frankly, patronising. If the people here didn’t share a common passion about the brand, the brand wouldn’t be worth hanging onto would it.

        • Nathaniel Salzman

          “Change for the better is ALWAYS well received in other words.”

          Sadly no, it’s almost never well received. But that’s fine. That’s just how the comments roll. Take it however you like, but some people are always going to be contrarian no matter what MINI puts out, good or bad. Not everybody, but some. Like I’ve already said, there are numerous things that are now an accepted and loved part of the MINI and MotoringFile community that when they came out, were received with every bit as much hyperbolic dislike as this new interior is receiving. Doesn’t make this new interior design good, but it also doesn’t make the community any more comfortable with change. What community is comfortable with change, though? Please don’t mistake the observation for criticism, as that isn’t how it’s meant. I agree with you (and have said as much in my previous comments) that people caring about the car and the brand is a really great thing. We wouldn’t be here if we weren’t passionate about it too. The perennial chorus of fainting ladies is really entertaining, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I want this to always be a place where people express their opinions. That’s what the comment section is for. But we should also be able to laugh at ourselves when we fall into old patterns. Listen to this week’s episode of WRR. I don’t cut this interior much slack at all. Neither does Gabe. I believe the words “disjointed mess” were used more than once. Also check back tomorrow for Gabe’s full opinion piece on these new interior shots, what we think MINI’s trying to do, an where we think they’re succeeding/failing.

  • I just can’t

    Awful Awful Awful. Terrible. Crap. I would have never expected such a shitty design from MINI.

    Leaving a stupid circle around an otherwise square interior doesn’t maintain the essence of a MINI. This is horrible. Absolute failure.

    I don’t care what the motivation was for this change, but it needs undone.

    I refuse to buy this car if its labeled MINI. This is not a MINI. If this is the serious design, MINI is dead to me.

  • Aurel

    You know I really have no problem with a more grown up BMW sourced interior … but then make it really slick and upscale … those HVAC knobs look straight out of a Tonka bin … and everything else looks just random the more I look at it … what’s going on with that super thick cladding on either side of the center console going up to the left and right of the dash … is that covering up something? I hope so as it looks like something out of a 2002 Ram

  • workpath

    [Interior] designers: please don’t use logos as reference points for interaction design. There is nothing else more fundamentally wrong in design than beginning with a preconceived shape and then working backwards to realize functionality. Begin with the driver’s intent, understand core scenarios, then design. Using a large circle in the name of “brand” is missing the mark. The circle/logo isn’t the brand, the principle of simple, honest functionality is. If you had begun there, you wouldn’t have ended up where you have. Please start over!

  • jrichard012

    Really would like to know what has been done to those awful cup holders and the unreachable storage bin beneath the center dash area.

  • glangford

    It is obvious the designers at BMW/MINI have no idea how to do design for the human-machine interface (MINI/BMW idrive). I mean really an engine start toggle? How stupid is that? Does that mean when I want to hit another toggle while driving at 60 and bump the wrong toggle (which I do alot in my R56 cutting on the fog lights when wanting to roll down the window) that I’ll stop the engine? (I’m assuming SW wouldn’t allow that, but its not a good idea to rely on SW to fix poor design.) I really hate the circular radio station selection buttons. Given the speedo is gone and the adjoining vents are square why not just retain a square screen and linear station buttons? The whole thing just looks jerry-rigged. I also have several questions the picture doesn’t answer. Where are the window buttons. Is that a headlight switch next to the drivers knee? Seems to be alot more buttons on the steering wheel as well, good or a distraction?

    When I first started reading through comments my initial reaction was it can’t be that bad, its just the R50/53 gang again lamenting the demise of the first gen mini. But studying the design more, I agree its horrendous.

    • glangford

      I’m seriously conidering a new Ford Fiesta ST as my next car. This helps me make that decision.

  • MiniNeedsANewInteriorDesigner

    I love my Roadster but I hate Mini’s interiors. Poor design, not comfortable, and the materials used are crap. For a car as expensive as a Mini I would expect more quality.

    I have a new Ford F-250 and it blows away the Mini interior. I love the My Ford Touch 8 inch touch screen and voice control for all electronics. The materials used are light-years ahead of the mini and this is a frigin truck.

  • Gary

    What’s up with the spy shot disappearing here and elsewhere?

    • Nathaniel Salzman

      It was at the request of those who own the original photo.