2014 MINI F56 Caught Completely Undisguised


Caught at a much better angle than before, this is the best look at the new 2014 F56 MINI. Crucially it gives us a better understanding of the overall shape of the car. As expected the F56 is very much an evolution of the R56 and R53. The big change we’ve been talking about for years but deserve to be mentioned here are the LED DRLs. The lower portion not lit up is reserved for the turn signal.

Having seen the car in person I can attest to the details taking some time to fully understand and appreciate. But given the change from the R53 to the R56 I would call this an even more evolutionary move by MINI and one that most will eventually see as very successful. In other words it looks great in person once you have some time to fully understand and appreciate the updated shape and new details.

Full hi-res image after the break.

But enough of our opinions. Have a look at the full 1500 px version here and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Written By: Gabe


    What’s with that horizontal black bar across the upper grill…is that suppose to be a bumper?? So they increase the size of the upper grill only to divide it with that black bar & chrome bar while reducing the size of the lower grill. Just doesn’t do it for me. Looks way to busy!

    Also….those headlights showing multiple rings from the outer chrome, ringed light etc. The headlights combined with that overall grill area are both way overdone….too much STUFF!. I look at the front of this car & then compare it to the look of my JCW Coupe, & can obviously see which I prefer. No competition!!! The Coupe & current R56-58 series win out!

  • Captain

    Ok – trying to hold my lunch down while looking at this patchwork quilt of a front end. If you order driving lights w/black paint du jour – you can salvage the smorgasbord fascia. Lord have mercy.

  • Andrew Vella

    I work for MINI and I am susprised at this…….. This MINI is ugly… The interior is a home run and they fell short on the outside… The front end is way to busy… A simple clean body is all you need with MINI. When the bumper looks like it’s cliped togethor, you know you have a issue. Maybe if the license plate was removed, it would look better. Hopefully I can see this with my own eyes soon…

    • tobi

      actually no. it look worst without licence plate.

      and oh, you’re gonna get fired! :D

      • Andrew Vella

        I’m not going to get fired because I have an opinion… I am not a “yes man” and I have no fear about saying what’s on my mind. BMW/MINI always looks better in person however that front end needs some help. It’s the brake ducts that are throwing me off, it simply looks like an after thought… They should get rid of the ducts or smooth them into the bumper. Looks like a cooper bumper with a clipped on brake duct system. My other beef is the engine specs.

    • Frank Granados

      If MINI employees are in shock, where those that leave the rest of us?

  • Dr Obnxs

    What’s hilarious is that the general public probably won’t be able to tell any difference at all between all three generations!

    • Frank Granados

      True, but 2 wrongs don’t make a right.

  • tobi

    we should contact bmw by email (kundenbetreuung@bmw.de) and start bitchin’ :D

  • otter

    While, so far, I am not a fan I am trying to keep an open mind. I think that one problem is the color, check it out in white: http://www.motor-talk.de/news/ein-mini-motor-fuer-den-naechsten-mini-t4701193.html I loved the Rocketman but I think that trying to bring a few elements from it and grafting them into Franken R56 was a mistake, but who am I.

    • b-

      The white car is WAY better looking than the yellow one!!! My problem is the MINI VISION concept, it is beautiful in every way, this is what the F56 should take styling cues from! The things that really make me hate the design are: The shape of the opening around the fog lights, the chrome strip above the black bar across the grill, how the front of the car no longer pushes out under the hood, the stupid gloss black bar across the grill looks so out of place and would look better if done like the MINI Vision concept.

      Perhaps the Cooper will look better but the tail lights will carry over as will the terrible interior which I will never get past.

  • Mr Remi

    I’m still very worried about the length of nose.

    The autoblog profile shot ( http://tiny.cc/qhca4w ) has the mini on a slight angle that hides the nose, which is then further hidden by a pedestrian blocking the view.

    The spyshot provided in rlb’s comment ( http://tiny.cc/9rca4w ) provides a clearer look of the F56 profile. I have a tough time liking the length of this nose, even if its only a couple centimetres longer than previous models. :|

    Overall, there are aspects of the F56 I do like. It’s overall shape feels more slick and I am intrigued by the new specs.

    That said, I am not a fan of the busy cooperS front, even if it can be dealt with through option choices (black body, no chrome exterior, etc) or altogether avoided (selecting a cooper model, or purchasing a jcw aero kit). Hopefully the final product that is released doesn’t have to be, “dealt with.”

  • Evan

    The lower front end is very busy on this S model- the Cooper will surely be cleaner. The overall proportions are okay. Same issues as the R56 but not worse. The tail lights are GINORMOUS! Not well done.

    I try to be open for the new designs- the R56 was good but needed 17in wheels or to be a Clubman to look appropriately proportioned and it’s steering was never as rewarding as the R50/53. This F56 is improved in some ways, while taking a hit in others. Clean and simple, not over-styled equals good, long lasting design. The chassis should be good and maybe the new EPS will move closer to the paradigm set with the R50. The engines will be outstanding, BMW designed mills. I just can’t wait for the 1-2 year teething process required for all MINIs. So a Mazda3 seems to be next on the list…

  • http://www.about.me/sohrabosati Sohrab O.

    I like it. Seems clean

  • Herr26

    Wait till you see the car in person. They are doing joint filming for the LA and Tokyo launch as a film crew are currently in Tokyo as well as LA.

    The car does look a lot better when viewed in person. Photos still do not show overall details including the raked back headlights that push into the front rings but have the exposed metal shadow that aligns to the grille reducing the overhang. But some details are becoming apparent such as the raked back roof line and slightly rising glasshouse.

    The new MINI is going to Rock!!! Everything is new , more power , more detail , more accessories , more quality and most importantly for the core MINI more fun.

    • ulrichd

      With all due respect, I disagree very strongly. What has happened to car design in the last decade or more that prompts all these “it looks better in person” comments? This seems to be something you read over and over about all sorts of cars. I don’t remember anyone saying that when the R50 came out in 02.

      For me, and many here it seems, the front end of the Cooper S seems to be very busy with many design elements fighting for attention. The lower grill with the brake ducts looks like it was added by an intern while the main designer was on vacation. I really don’t think that it will look any better in person.

      I find it difficult to believe that the same person/team who designed the beautiful and cohesive Vison concept with its simple and elegant front end also created this car.

  • Dylan

    I think it will look better without the chrome-line exterior. The same is true of the R56, especially the facelift.

  • MiniCobra1

    MINI, if you are reading these comments, it’s pretty obvious that an overwhelming amount of people on here hate the front end design. Did you guys do any focus groups with people who actually own and like the brand. If so, I don’t know how this design got the go ahead. Save yourself some trouble and take that front end back to the drawing board. I know it’s late in the game, but better to do it now, then to wait a year to see that sales have slumped because of this comical front end. It’s really just replacing the lower grille with something less protruding and painting the bumper the body color and I think it will be a huge improvement, not perfect, but a huge improvement. I’ve been waiting a year and a half for this new design, as it is now, I would not purchase. :-(

  • andrej tsukamoto

    I remember admiring the first “new” MINI as hell for a couple of years until I finally bought one in 2007. Compared to that, this is horrible. I mean, it’s still a recognizable car, but, oh boy this front end is such a over-the-top mess! Break ducts and the lower grille… horrible! The shape of the hood too, but okay, lets wait for the final photos and definite proportions. The stop lights are huge, it’s completely cartoonish! I guess the safety regulations interfere with design a lot, therefore compromises have to be made, but this for me it’s a step in the wrong direction. I do not really like the Countryman too and the Coupe/Roadster. They really need to calm down all the bells and whistles design-wise. Take a look at 911’s design evolution, it’s still retro if you could say that way, lasting for 50 years and looking good.

  • Sean

    I see the evolution and frankly am more concerned with what’s under the bonnet (read happy). I’m holding out for the JCW/or GP in any event. I’ll be holding onto my R56 until then.

  • whiteears

    Start Photoshop. Put a thick, black frame on the license plate. Blacken the brake duct frames. Darken the reflections from the intercooler. Black-out the fog lamps. With these modifications, the front end starts looking pretty good.

  • chris94602

    I’ll wait to see it in person to make a final judgement but, i must agree with the folks that think that the lower front bumper is way too busy and gimmicky.

    • RacerX

      Agreed, the front lower section of the bumper is fussy, but the rest of the design looks good. I know it has been said before many times, but the F56 simply looks much better in the flesh. And I personally think that the Cooper is much cleaner than the Cooper S (same goes with the R56 versions as well, in my opinion). If you look at the 5th and 6th photos in the gallery above you can get a much better picture of the proportions. That first photo is a bad angle and unflattering lighting which does not help. My only complaints are with the front lower brake intake ducts (especially with chrome exterior trim option) and the fact that they did not include the rear character lines over the rear tail lamps as seen on the MINI VISION concept. I also work for MINI, have only seen a couple of pre-production F56 models with swirly graphics running around, and I like what I see. As was mentioned earlier, the interior is a HUGE leap forward even if you think the exterior is a “miss”. Reading all these comments is a like an eerie jump back to October 2006 when we were all bemoaning the R56 debut.

  • Sean

    To be honest, all I see is a MINI, with a few slight tweeks. Tweeks I can overlook for the engine. My only critique is the black bar instead of a color matched front bumper, which makes it look like a classic Mini as opposed to my R56. Oh darn. Guess I’ll have to leave those worries behind when I hit the accelerator in the JCW version.

  • JonPD

    Not sure what it is but the nose of the car is pretty homely to my eye. Could be the angle but the noce of the car feels pinched and flat. Will be interesting to see better images.

    • ulrichd

      The flatness is an unfortunate results of the new pedestrian impact standards which stipulate that there must be clear space between the hood and the top of the engine. This has forced ungainly high hood lines on many new cars. In case of the MINI it has lost the definition of the fenders, like on the R50/53.

  • GoRixter

    Front grill looks like an awkward teen who just got a fresh set braces!

    Ugh :-(

  • JonPD

    Think what is interesting though BMW and MINI defending after the long distance shots that caused the car to look funny. Have been comparing those images to the one above and I really don’t see much difference personally.

    • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

      For what it’s worth, this is also a long-lens shot. I don’t say that in defense of how the car looks, as everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but there is definitely telescopic compression going on here. That’s just a fact of the photo. The actual nose isn’t quite as flat as it looks here. We know from people who’ve seen the car first hand that the nose is much more curvaceous and slightly more pointy than this photo would have us believe. Certain angles on previous spy shots show this out pretty well also. I’m not saying the car will be any better or worse looking in person, as I am not one of those people who’s actually seen it in person, but for good or ill, we have yet to see what I would consider a proper photo of this car. Although I’m not exactly expecting you guys to warm up to it any time soon. ;-)

  • Chris Bamford

    Makes the R56 look beautiful, and the R53 stunningly beautiful. Interested in seeing the JCW option!

  • benibiker

    They just squeezed the upper grill down further on to the bumper and further squeezed the lower grill to almost nothing. The fake hood scoop is also squeezed to the point of almost disappearing. As others have said, too much stuff stuffed into one small area, too noisy.

  • Mark

    I think it is pretty obvious why Mini is having record breaking sales!! Seems ever since the spy pic came out, the sales have went up. And did yet again, with the un covered pics. They could possibly be looking at the worse year ever coming up if they actually release it as it. The front end of the car really is bad. I think they copied the grill of a Mazda!

  • Bob Womack

    What idiot thinks integrating headlights and turn signals is a good idea? It virtually guarantees that oncoming drivers will have their night vision ruined when they double-check an operating turn signal.

  • Bill Steig

    It is encouraging that it looks good in person because it looks like shit in the pictures. I believe that MINI is moving in the wrong direction.

  • benibiker

    I won’t buy that, will keep my 08 or get the Paceman before I would get the F56.

  • http://twitter.com/matthewwanderer matthew

    At this point – I’m reserving final judgement – my only true disappointment after seeing the F56 photos in white is the fender treatment. The creases and the fender trim pieces look as though they’ve been “clipped” or trimmed. The famous bulldog stance (and hourglass footprint) appears muted as a result. Looking forward to seeing this in person.

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      FYI thise aren’t photos – they’re renderings.

  • banj

    I think it’s interesting that it’s been said over and over that this car doesn’t look very good in photos but looks better in person. This sounds like a risky blind date set-up. “She doesn’t look good in these photos, but trust me, she looks much better person.” It also reminds me of a reference from the movie Arthur: “In the right light, Susan (substitute MINI F56) is really quite beautiful… but you can’t always count on that light.”

    Additionally I feel that many readers here are so taken aback with the look of the “nose’ of the F56, that they may be overlooking the “fumbles” of the back of the car. The MINI logo incorporated into the boot handle is like something you’d see on a Honda CRV or Chevy HHR or any minivan. The giant rear tail lights located adjacent to the boot opening makes the F56 look like it could be from any car manufacturer. I fear that the rear view will be very un-MINI like, and will look both cheap and clunky. I’m unsure that this car will be instantly recognizable as a MINI from the rear view.

    • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

      It’s not the first MINI that “looks better in person.” The Paceman and the GP2 both look way better in the sheet metal than they do in photos.

      • Banj

        I respectfully don’t share your view. I like the new GP both in photos and in person. And I don’t care for the Paceman either in photos or in person. But that’s just my opinion. I may be in the minority. But I think the Countryman is a much better looking vehicle than the Paceman.

        But rather than sounding like a complainer I’d like to say that I really like all of the MINI models past and present with the single exception of the Paceman. The F56 remains to be seen, but I’m thinking I won’t care much for the styling. But I’m confident it will be a really outstanding model in many other aspects.

  • http://spowellebc.wordpress.com/ Stephen Powell

    To me the new design is a fine evolution of MINI in the 21C – except the lower protrusion under the grill. Why make this look so much like an afterthought?

    Or will this be resolved with the JCW and end up with a much larger and aggressive grill – finally giving the JCW its own visual space.

  • 3PedalMINI

    Wow am i glad im leaving the MINI family when my lease is due in december. I agree with gabe that it is a mash of r53/r56 and something else. I dont hate it but i think the problem is the front end is just too busy. Too many shapes and openings for such a small front end and on top of that the size of the lights proportioned to the projector lens is just to much, I over did the LED’s IMO and feel “forced” I also really dislike how they integrated the brake duct coolers as it juts out past the front end of the car looking like a “mouth”

    BMW/Mini over did this one. Of course it doesn’t matter if they also ruined the car from a performance and suspension point of view like they did with the R56’s im sure it wont handle/behave like the R53’s infact im sure its more mush…of course 99.9% of people buying mini’s now are just a-b grocery getters and dont care about what mini is (was) about.

    I should have never sold my R53.

  • Kenta Ishikawa

    hmm.. I don’t think it looks THAT bad, hopefully it looks better in person. I wonder if Fiat will sell more 500 Abarths after the F56 gets released. Also why are more and more companies using the black bumper in the front? Is that like a new design trend or something???

  • bavarian racing green

    …this makes me sad, it is not attractive – i don’t care about the ‘boy racer’ comments because if you remove the hood stripes it gets a lot less busy… …i don’t know why they couldn’t raise the headlight angle so it looked like it was looking straight ahead – the visage would at least resemble the original more… …hopefully this will be like the ‘eyelash/wave’ issue that BMWs had a few years ago – which was awful, just awful – and they will all get a collective slap across the face and return to making a beautiful car…

  • Peakoiler

    I have seen plenty of these ’14s in person, and I still need a drink every time I see one: it’s just UGLY. The front end is a cobbled-together mess. I’ll stick with my ’12 (my second Mini S) until they either get it right or VW tempts me back with a GTI Golf.

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