The Latest F56 Spy Photos Reveal New Details

The cladding is coming off and the true shape of the 2014 MINI is starting to become more clear.

Gone is the dramatic front overhang. And in its place are new details like a “Rocketman” style front grille, headlights and an almost bullet side profile in the front. And perhaps the best news for MINI fans? The F56 will be approximately the same size as the current MINI. While we’ve been reporting that for years now it’s nice to see some further confirmation. All this and more thanks to these new photos courtesy of Autoexpress. Check it all out after the break.

Here are some quick notes that we see in these photos:

  • The reduction of the front overhang from the earlier prototypes is encouraging.
  • The earlier rear view mirrors with the wing element is gone and in it’s place mirrors that are close to the design of the F56. We’re told the wing element, while adding to the aero also added to the wind noise dramatically.
  • Speaking of the mirrors, that tape is covering side repeaters that have moved from the side of the car to the mirrors thanks to EU regulations.
  • The headlights have moved a bit more forward facing similar to the Rocketman concept.
  • The front grille houses both the top grille, bumper and lower grille also similar to the Rocketman concept.
  • What’s up with the open gas cap? Looks like someone was desperate to get away from the spy photographer. And yes all MINIs will now have it on the right side.
  • There’s a small connecting piece of plastic from the rear hatch to the spoiler that looks to be a new aero piece. Interestingly it also makes the spoiler look like a little like the GP’s.

Check out Autoexpress for all the photos. And be sure to dive into our F56 section for the best information in the world on the new MINI.

  • tobi

    can’t wait to see that!

  • beken

    You mean the gas cap got moved to the other side of the car. Also, I wonder if the headlights pop up with the bonnet again. Can’t tell in these pictures.

    • No we’ve known that was happening for years. I’m wondering why the gas cap was left dangling and open.

  • So glad with how this looks, not too much evolution but still noticeable changes that add to the core mini-ness and continued DNA from the original. I’m glad the large front grill is returning, and correct me if I’m wrong, but there seems to be a bulge towards the top of the A-pillar? It might just be the psycho-wrap doing its work properly and leading me astray, but is that some indication of a styling line running along the breadth of the car with the door handle apertures or is it a hinge-style feature like what was seen on the Rocketman? Hoping more for the latter, but judging by the rest of the car, the former seems more likely. I was also quite fearful of the rear-lights moving to the shut-lines but the indents they seem to sit within show me that some thought has at leas gone into that and makes me think they may pull it off rather well! Aside from the lack of center-speedo (and no option of) I take all my negativity back!

  • les

    Anyone want to buy my R56? I think I’ve officially just put it on the market.

  • John

    Any thoughts what the side repeaters may mean for future mirror cap designs? I.e. a checkered mirror cap wouldn’t look right with that running through it.

  • Evan

    Not bad! I was just thinking- when will we see more spy pics, the summer online debut is coming…

    The front is certainly more rounded- I’d have to see them in person and get the actual dimensions for the true R56-F56 difference- but this is certainly more aerodynamic. I wonder if this car is carrying a load in the back since it seems to be sitting lower in the back compared to the front which makes the front appear very under-wheeled. This was not a problem for the R50/53 and was for the R56 on the base rims. The R56 really needs the 17in tires to start to look right. It’s all secondary to the increased front vertical height for pedestrian crash regs of course, but true non the less.

    I can’t wait to see the final work! The more trad square taillights and front grille should give enough F56-specific detail to keep it very fresh. I am also anxiously awaiting the F55 5-door version as that’d be the next MINI I’d get. This is all assuming the steering and handling are correct….

  • The two things that stand out most to me are the belt line and the angle of the rear window. The rear window is raked quite a bit more sharply than in cars past. I would have liked to see it go the other way — more Clubman like if anything. Then the belt line seems to have dropped back to a more R50/R53 proportion. I did not expect that to happen. If anything, I would have expected the belt line to keep rising — embracing more of a “chopped” look.

    • Based what I’ve been told the belt-line will be just as high if not higher. I’m guessing if you saw both cars next to each other it would be more obvious.

      • Interesting. Well either way, the overall effect is something that looks (to me, anyway) more like the proportions of the R50 than the R56.

        • AMS

          Beltline looked lower to me as well. Could just be an illusion, because of the driver having the seat set high, or just being especially long torso’d. I like feeling like I’m sitting IN the car, rather than ON it, so a higher beltline is A-OK by me.

        • I’m the the MotoringFile MINI Roadster this week, and that’s the experience I’m having. Even top down, I feel nicely surrounded by car.

        • AMS

          That was a big determining factor in my ordering an R59 over a Miata.

    • Chris

      Funny… When I was looking over the shots my overall impression was that the “bubble” looked disproportionately small compared to the body below the belt line. To my eye it looks higher, with the added rake on the windshield and c pillars contributing to the problem. The gap between the bottom edge of the windshield and the back edge of the hood also looks quite large to me.

      Besides that, the hood line definitely looks to have been smoothed out. Overall the thing looks much more aerodynamic, which is likely good for fuel economy, but… It makes it look just a bit less “bull dog” and a bit more generic to me.

      If they were going for a larger Rocketman-style grille, I’d like to have seen them eliminate the lower grille as was done on the Rocketman as well. The lower grille in the shots looks almost ridiculously thin. Maybe that’s something that could be done in a couple of years during the next LCI refresh…

    • Chilly

      I like the look of the rear window, did you notice that the windshield is also more raked? By the way, if this perhaps the 5 door variant?

  • lavardera

    I think the proportions are looking very pleasing. One thing I don’t see was the over-the-wheel-arch-crease that was an interesting/polarizing characteristic of the Rocketman. Any word if that design accent has been scrapped? This photo looks very R56 like in the flanks.

    • It’s there. Look in the last photo on AE. Subtle.

    • ulrichd

      That was made necessary by the shutline over the front arches and then clumsily IMO repeated over the rears by a reveal. I have never been a fan. Attaching the headlights back into the hood would make it unnecessary and cleaner.

      • lavardera

        What was made necessary? The crease line? That’s nothing to do with the mounting of the headlights. Did you post on the wrong thread?

        • ulrichd

          The shutline over the front wheel arches, you call it a crease, was necessary because (unlike the R50/53 where the wheel arches were part of the hood assembly) of the new hood design on the second gen car.

        • lavardera

          No, you don’t understand what I am talking about. Go back and look at the images of the Rocketman. I am not talking about the “shutline”. That has nothing to do with my original comments. See that the Rocketman has a crease line above the arch – above the shutline which the F56 has been rumored to have, and as GB points out is visible in this photo series.

          You are brining up another R50/53 vs 56 design contention that has been beaten to death and I’d rather not enter in to this discussion.

  • Jgh548

    Still a bit worried about the size of the front overhang, although overall, the images are encouraging.

  • Jerry

    It keeps growing. I’m sorry, don’t like it. Ugly.

    • So pulled out a ruler and measured it did you?

      • Jerry

        Nope, it just looks bigger. It may not be, but it seems that’s usually part and parcel to a “redesign”.

        • Our information is that it’s only grown by a few cm in order to account for pedestrian impact standards. Don’t believe the popular myth that BMW secretly longs to make the car bigger. There will always be bigger variants, but the core of the MINI is size-stable for the foreseeable future.

  • scotteast

    Overall it seems like an evolution of the current car. There’s not really anything to dislike, but nothing to be too excited about either. I would expect the inevitable heated discussions here and elsewhere on the web will be almost entirely about the interior of the car.

    • AMS

      Kind of my thinking as well. Now that the front overhang has pulled back, I don’t see anything on the exterior of this car for people to get riled about.

      • ulrichd

        Agree, to most people who don’t know about the new engines and interior it’ll be just a facelift and butt tuck.

        • For sure. The average person on the street doesn’t see the difference between the current two generations and is still calling them “Cooper MINIs” for crap’s sake.

        • AMS

          Hell, depending on the angle and distance, I can’t always tell the generations apart.

        • Very true. I’ve even mistaken the Countryman for the Hardtop at first glance …at a distance …in the rain …when I was drunk…

  • ulrichd

    Lots of details hidden yet, but the one thing I really dislike is the height of the fender/hood above the front wheelarch if you look at the side view. It’s just too tall. I know it’s because of the pedestrian impact standards but the low hood gave the R50/53 that sexy rake in profile.

    • I prefer the tallness, reminds me of the wings (fenders) of an old MINI.

  • BimmerFile_Michael

    The one thing that these images do not show are the new DRL/fog lights which definitely impact the overall look up front and are key piece IMHO of the update.

    • Bob Hayhurst

      I agree. The front fascia will have a dramatically different presentation with the addition of the fog lights. Its curious also that the headlights shown appear to be a relatively simple design; could these be a base headlight and not the xenon option? It’ll be interesting to see the front end without the camouflage.

      • BimmerFile_Michael

        These are the base model- there will be optional Xenon’s and a different optional LED option as well. The decision on what options as standard and what can be ordered as an option remains with the local market.

        BMW/MINI will be be making this new model both a value and luxury proposition depending on the trim level and market. I would not be surprised to see these be available cheaper than current models in some levels.

  • Hoover

    Sigh of relief. I’m a bit more excited about this now. I’m looking forward to this evolution, and the jury is still out on the interior until we see the final product. Overall, I really don’t think this is going to be as polarizing as we were led to believe from early reports. For the record, I am an R56 owner who still goes back and forth in my preference for the design of the R50/53 and the R56. Having had a great experience with my R56 Cooper I see this as just another evolution, not a radical departure. I even like those wheels!

    • ulrichd

      I just wonder if, after 10 years of evolution, a bit more revolution would have been in order?

      • AMS

        If we can’t complain because they’ve changed too much, at lease we can complain that they’ve changed too little!

  • Douglas Elliott

    That’s too bad about the gas cap. I like it on the left, in case you forget to shut after filling up, you can reach around and shut while driving. Not that I’ve made a habit of it 🙂

    • robble

      you’ve got longer arms than I do…

  • Jeff

    What happened to the “most aggressive update ever” change that you guys were talking about? Looks about the same to me.

    • I’m wondering that myself.

    • It’s coming in the details and inside. But keep in mind it may be the most aggressive yet but MINI is still following the Porache 911 concept of evolution.

      • coel

        I’d personally very welcome 911 approach. I used to drive ’91 Golf. I wouldn’t even recognize today’s Golf as “same” car. There are so many cars on the road I need to see model name badges to know what they are (and I really don’t care). For many cars and their audiences, that’s fine, but I think many MINI enthusiasts including myself actually appreciate Carrera type of evolution very much. I want MINI to be always recognized as MINI. The face, the eyes, the bulldog stance. Keep ’em all!

        • MF’rJones

          Hmmm, that 91 GTI vs a 2013 is a 22 year difference. The 91 Mini Vs a 2013 MINI is WAY more apart in looks than the GTI. Also, I bet if you compared a 2002 MINI to a 2024 MINI, they will be just as far apart….

      • ulrichd

        Yes, but even the 911 makes major visual changes from series to series (964 to 993 to 996, etc.).

        • Kev50027

          You call those major? Compared to what?

        • ulrichd

          To a Suburban. Jeeez. Look at a 964, still with the old SC body panels but new rockers and bumpers and then, the completely new (as in very body panel) 993. It’s day and night.

  • Kev50027

    Sad that they’re moving the turning signals to the mirrors, a lot of cars are doing that now, so that makes MINI less special. Anyone else notice the rounded corners of the windshield blackout? The R56 has this, but only on the bottom where the driver doesn’t notice it. This has it on the top too.

    • MF’rJones

      That should be a fairly easy retrofit.

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      The turn signals in the mirrors are required by EU regulations as stated in the original story- MINI has no choice but to comply or not sell cars and that’s why all others are doing so.

      There are specific location and size requirements but there are some ways MINI could be creative- I have not seen them at night testing these yet but it should begin soon.

      Most of the spy shots have been of the same pack of cars- there are new one’s beginning to enter the mix- this car is following a recently introduced group with a sky blue roof and those are showing more upfront but less in the back.

      • Kev50027

        Yet another case of useless regulation that only hinders creativity and freedom. What’s next, regulating that every car is ugly and dull to drive like a Prius, since it’s the most politically correct car out there?

        I wish someone would bother to fight this legislation.

        • BimmerFile_Michael

          There may be a glimmer of hope- some sources are telling us that there is a chance that the final car will not have the markers in the mirrors…. We don’t claim to know the ins-and outs of all these EU regs but it may be that the MINI is small enough to be in a different “class” of cars and thus can place the markers in a different location!

        • MF’rJones

          Still, that’s EU regulations. A simple relocation job with new mirror caps would be all it takes. It’s not illegal here so I’m sure that someone will come out with a kit that has a new mirror cap, wiring, and side light.

      • ulrichd

        is it true that all cars sold in the US from 2014 on will need to have backup cameras? Did I dream this? I’d really like to avoid those ugly bumper pimples if possible.

        • BimmerFile_Michael

          Backup cameras can be invisible to the overall look as BMW is putting them inside the rear emblem and it tilts when needed. The pimples are sonar for the park assist which will not be required but I am not sure if that legislation passed in the US yet…

  • Mr Remi

    Hmmm . . . Based on the side shot (3rd photo on AE), the nose looks bigger to me – and I’m surprised that it does given the minuscule difference that actually exists. Went back to the mini official website to look at the side shot of the R56 to have a second look (am I just imagining the difference?). Gotta say, the R56 nose looks smaller to me and I like it a lot more.

    The rest of the F56 looks fine – am neither disappointed nor excited.

  • Hunter

    Anyone know if the fogs or driving lamps will be incorporated into the grille à la Rocketman?

  • Chilly

    I’ll be more interested in hearing how it drives. In my opinion the R56 lost some steering and throttle feel compared to the R53, hopefully that has been addressed – and then some. Which reminds me, have you read reviews of the upcoming VW GTI with the performance package? It sounds amazing.

  • piper

    Get rid of the huge mirrors and reduce the bulge of the rear side flanks to blend more harmoniously with the c-pillar. The notch between the two planes is unattractive versus the R53 design.

  • Does no one think this just looks a little bland…

  • I don’t mind the outside, I was expecting more drastic changes. As for the gas cover, anyone else notice the cap was still in its little holder, that’s gonna throw a code on that poor driver! Wonder if the swirls will be a paint option this time around 😉

  • Nuno

    Any info on rear suspension. I was expecting to see the lower armas of the independente rear suspensio but can’t see those in the spy pics. I hope there is no torsion beam underneath.