The 2014 Cooper & Cooper S Design Details Revealed

Courtesy of these latest images of F56 prototypes give us the best look yet and the differences between the Cooper and Cooper S design differences. Lets take a look.

Since 2001 the Cooper S has been defined upfront by hood scoop be it real with the R53 or faux with the R56. While we’re not sure if there’s any plumbing behind it here (not likely) MINI has clearly decided it’s a core component to the MCS design language for the F56. Also carrying over in similar fashion are the MCS (and JCW) exclusive brake ducts on the outside of the lower grill.

A new addition to the design language is the “S” logo used as a badge on the left side of the upper grille. In our mind it’s a great idea but the continued use of the questionable “S” script design is a little eye-rolling.

Consistent on both is the Rocketman-like grille surround and subtle creases above the wheel slats.


Xenons vs LEDs

The photos at the top of the page show us the two premium lighting options MINI will offer on the F56. But perhaps more importantly the photo directly above gives us our first look yet of the LED headlight and foglight option. Brighter light with less energy required LEDs are the future of all automotive lighting. However until now they’ve been exclusive to high-end cars. Our sources who have seen the lights at night call them unreal.


Around the back the F56 Cooper and Cooper S take the core design languages and simply grow them a bit without increasing the size of the car. Think of everything getting slightly more aggressive and rounded in design with the intrusion of key creases here and there to add some dynamic qualities.

And those lights. Yes they are bit and they extend into the hatch. One detail that will become more clear soon; it looks as if the Cooper S central exhaust is now turned longitudinal rather than latitudinal in the current R56.

Release Dates

The F56 will debut on the web in very late summer likely a week before the Frankfurt Auto Show where it will publicly debut. Look for it to his Euro dealers in late 2013 with US sales beginning in February of 2014.

  • AMS

    I’m a little surprised that the black plastic wheel arch cladding will be making the move to the 3rd generation. It was barely in vogue ten years ago, and decidedly out these days.

    Not that we’re just learning of it, of course. Every picture has featured it. But I haven’t seen it commented upon.

    • We learned awhile back from sources at MINI that it wasn’t going anywhere and is considered an important part of the design language. Personally I agree. For one it’s cheap to produce and replace. Given that it’s the wide part of the car that’s not a bad thing. But beyond that I like the look as it gives the MINI an aggressive yet slightly whimsical look.

      • AMS

        I have mixed opinions on it. When I’ve seen the wheel arches painted (usually body color, but at least once was a contrasting silver on blue) I think it looks pretty good, though it calls attention to the number of parts/fitment lines in that area. That’s more a symptom of painting the existing shapes than indicative of what a cladless MINI could look like, though.

        I don’t hate the arches, but I think a MINI without them would still be identifiably a MINI.

      • lavardera

        It would be nice, since they are cheap, if there were different ones on the S and the coopers, so the S was wider, and accomodated a wider wheel, or at least a wider stance. I remember an early Mini design sketch where the arches looked like something on a 911 turbo of the day.

        • lavardera

          and speaking of that, where’s our aftermarket crowd on this?

    • MINI was not chasing a design trend with the thick wheel arches. It’s a key design aspect that helps make the wheels appear visually larger than they are — a key part of establishing the proportions of the car. So it’s really no surprise that they’ve remained.

      • Herr26

        They will always be a feature of a MINI , besides the body coloured mouldings of the current MINI Aeropacket with US style reflectors even in Europe is absolutely awful.

    • ulrichd

      Also they are a bit flat compared to the R50/53. When I look at pics of my old Minis the arches actually bulge out which looks more aggressive than these.

    • Aurel

      That plastic wheel arch cladding saved me a lot of $ … had to replace it quite a few times from scratches, hits, etc … if it was the body getting the same hit forget it. They are quite inexpensive to replace. Good on MINI for keeping them

      • walk0080

        Agreed. Think of how many old cars have rusted wheel arches just from rock strikes. They also IMO look great and are a core part of the 1st/2nd gen look – MINIs with their arches painted just seem weird looking to me.

        The arches in these pics look a little flat but I think the swirls are hiding it a bit. Also those wheels need a different off-set… push them out a bit. Wonder what the optional wheels will look like.

        I am curious if MINI is finally going to use LED lighting for the rear license plate… not to mention all of the interior lights.

  • Captain

    The size (specifically the height) of the grill on the MCS appears smaller or is that a head fake?

  • coel

    Interesting the front grill pattern on the S is actually closer to the look of current JCW aero (now default for fJCW) grill rather than R56S ones, and seems like the grill has “S” logo as a part of grill molding, not an add-on badge (judging from the fact it’s there in this mule model and is blacked out). I wonder if the fJCW will have the dedicated logo there instead of “S” logo.

    • Kev50027

      Not sure what to think about that S logo on the grill. I’d rather they differentiate the S with different wheels and body panels rather than logos. Please don’t tell me the hatch will have Cooper in huge letters going across the back like the Paceman. That was a terrible idea.

  • AndrewH

    Interesting that they appear to have gone back to wrap around glass on the rear side windows rather than having the plastic strip on the R56 (one aspect of the current car that looked a tad beancounterish when I first saw it).

    Also, loving all this new tech too – just hope I can afford it all when it finally lands

    • Stew

      Really you can see the glass, I think it looks like what we have just now???? Anyone else feel the Glass has changed?

  • Tan

    The taillights seem too huge to me.and I don’t really like the line right above the tailpipes.Well It’s just me.And Damn,the headlights look really sexy yet aggressive in these pics

    • ulrichd

      Agree. I dislike the size and proportion of the tailights on the current car, and judging from the outline visible under the tape, these seem to be even bigger.

  • That front overhang looks fat to me, compared with the profile of the current MINI. We were expecting the increase, but I guess I was hoping it wouldn’t be so significant. Any word on the actual wheelbase though? Longer than the current 97.1 too?

    • Kev50027

      Yeah, it looks like it has a huge nose, which messes up the looks of the rest of the car.

  • Daniel

    I see that on the “S”, the MINI badge on the rear is incorporated in the boot handle…..

  • RinNC

    Does anyone else think this might not be the final bonnet? Zoom in profile and the seam above the front fender is not uniform and the chrome belt line at the windshield does not line up. It is like this on previous pics as well. Here’s to hoping the nose still smooshes a little.

    • Diego

      I agree the chrome belt line and the windshield do not match it does look like it’s not the real bonnet, at least I hope so too! The nose is too big it is much further out compared to the headlights so it ruins the looks!

  • TheDreadPirate

    There appears to be sensors on the side skirts and lower grille in addition to the traditional PDC sensors. Would these be for the park assist?

  • Kev50027

    Is the honeycomb pattern on the tail lights in the design or some camouflage to keep us from seeing the light design?

  • Diego

    What are all these mules carrying in the back? All of them look like the car is tilted with heavy weight on the back. It should look the opposite way with the familiar MINI stance with the front being lower and all lines going down from back to front.

  • Hemisedan

    Starting to look better than I thought it would. Now to see it in the flesh

  • one9deuce

    The half and half clay model of the F56 and the BMW 1 series that was unveiled last year has a really unique feature, the bumper has cutouts where driving lights can be integrated. Have you heard about that being a possibility Gabe? Quad driving lights that really integrate into the grill opening would be awesome!

  • Jgh548

    Still think it looks too big, especially around the front. Having said that, some of the details (such as we can tell) look like they may be interesting.

    Are they making this model larger again?

    • No. It’s only growing by a cm here and there (mostly the front) to account for updated pedestrian impact standards. Overall footprint will be nearly identical, and it will likely be lighter than the R56, which, for those who don’t remember, was lighter than the R50/R53. Contrary to popular repetition, there is no “BMW Bloat Conspiracy”

      • Jgh548

        I’m pleased to hear that. I love the current car so much I don’t want them to spoil it with the F56. Why ruin a good thing for the sake of change.

        Is the camo the reason for the prototype looking longer and more bloated?

        • Camo. Camera angles and long lenses. Probably still not final body panels (but also probably pretty close). Also, there’s just no substitute for seeing a car in person. The Paceman and the GP both don’t photograph well, but they look great in person. Also keep in mind, this isn’t change for change’s sake. This new generation MINI represents a technological leap forward for the platform and a new level of cooperation with parent company BMW. The economies of scale this shared platform offers BMW is what will allow MINI to stay profitable and BMW with it in the small car segment. Basically, it’s what allows MINI to continue to exist. Of the two, MINI actually has the most to gain from this platform sharing because both build quality and the depth of engineering of its systems (in particular the engine, ABS and traction control systems) will greatly benefit from BMW investing vast sums of money in this shared platform. In short, the whole car has been designed to a higher standard and will inherit even more tech and features from BMW than before. It still won’t BE a BMW (and believe me, BMW is even more sensitive to that than MINI fans are), but the F56 will benefit greatly from all the investment BMW has made in its development.

  • James Welford

    More photos here. Still looks too big on its wheels for me: puts me in mind of a station wagon…?

  • Herr26

    The combined MINI/BMW city car not only expands both brands portfolios. But also extends the profit margin , for the first time the MINI will provide a healthy profit margin as well as the extensive personalisation that for the current MINI greatly benefits the R56s razor thin profit margin.

    BMW are expecting great things from the MINI that production expansion is very much a reality helped also by BMWs upcoming city compact car, which provides BMW sporting dynamic desirability and premium feeling to the city car segment. Yes it’s FWD but BMW have worked extensively on the car to give it not just dynamic separation from the MINI but from its main competitor the Audi A1. Its a new challenge for BMW but its just like the BMW i3 and that is extremely fun to drive like a conventional BMW even though it has a drivetrain that is not conventional BMW.

    The big advantage for the MINI / BMW UKL cars and BMWi is that BMW AG can make efficiency targets on C0 2 and CAFE with them , leading BMW to concentrate on its luxury portfolio, which the Gran Lusso is evidence of deliberation underway at BMW.

  • lawrothegreat

    Are the colour of the door mirrors on the Cooper S significant? It may be the colour of the disguised car, but I wondered if MINI were thinking of something similar to BMW, i.e. the M135i has door mirrors in that colour irrespective of body colour.

    The outside of the third generation MINI is really promising, and I say that having owned an R50 MC and an R56 MCS. It’s the interior that’s currently worrying me though. Some elements look great, i.e. the switches, but I do hope the central design with the mixture of both square and round air vents is not representative of the final car. I’m hoping MINI are misleading us as I want to order an F56 MCS for delivery before Christmas……

  • lavardera

    I’m looking at the new crease above the wheel arch, and it looks much closer to the arch here than it did on the Rocketman, so much so that it does not even feel like the same thing. On the Rocketman these creases were much higher, like halfway between the arch and the window at the rear. Too timid Mini… just sayin.