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.

  • MiniMaestro

    I don’t hate it, and definitely think these photos are much more flattering than the last batch a few months ago. I also see what you mean in that it is much more evolutionary. Still have trouble getting past the gaping mouth in the front.

    The rear doesn’t look that different to me, minor things but the brake lights don’t scream over-sized… to me at least.

    If I saw that driving down the street I’d instantly know it’s a MINI!

  • Lee L

    I am actually kind of digging the front grille. Harkens more back to the old school original Minis. It would be especially awesome if they would figure a way to do slats all the way up and down including over the actual bumper part.

  • bee1000

    So, so, so, so ugly. I understand regulations lead to larger cars, higher front ends and the like, but Mini’s designers just keep piling “styling” on top of “styling” on top of “styling” and the result is a mess.

    Look at the front end with: Circles (headlights) inside of circles (DRL) inside of circles (chrome trim) Big chrome grille surround/fish mouth Gloss black bumper Another “mouth” protruding at the bottom With brake ducts protruding from that protrusion Plus the Corolla S badge in the upper grille And the functionless hood scoop

    • scamper

      Any designer will be hard-pressed to see beyond the barrage of nested shapes, unresolved lines, and the jarring collection of mismatched sizes, textures, and diameters. The results looks busy and inorganic. The best designs tend to be those that convey a sense of obviousness. They don’t have to be minimal, per se, but they need to make visual sense. But what you say here is true: this looks more like designs (plural) piled on more designs.

      • I think the obviousness is there in person more. But I agree there’s a lot to take in – especially at first glance. There’s a lot going on with the MCS vs the MC as well. But that’s generally always been the case. The Cooper has always been the more pure of the two.

        The F56 will take time. Just like the R56 took time. I think it’s ok for new designs to be challenging at first. But in person and over time the details and angles make sense and create unique character.

        • TheWuWu

          Agreed – All the negative comments I observe in these comments were similar to the launch of the R56 and people grew to love the R56.

        • VC

          I wouldn’t say “love” more like tolerate. The R56 is way uglier than the R50, but is better built, more reliable and more efficient so people tolerate it.

        • pmindemann

          Sorry, Gabe, totally disagree… when you guys posted the first pics of the R56 (it was bright blue–I remember it to this day), I was in love instantly. INSTANTLY. I stared at it for probably 5 minutes solid, and told myself I had to have one some day. And I collected every ad, brochure and direct mail piece I could find, until a couple months ago, I was finally able to get one.

          My point is that it didn’t “take time” to love the R56. Saying this one will “take time” is just a polite way of saying that when we start seeing enough of them, the shock of its ugliness will wear off, and we’ll grow to accept it. But who wants to “accept” a new MINI, when a MINI is so often about passion?

          This redesign doesn’t “challenge” the original. It simply takes random cues from the first and mucks with them, adding heavy-handed changes without regard to the cohesiveness of the whole. There’s simply no gestalt.

  • pmindemann

    On the plus side, you can still tell it’s a MINI, and the split spoiler wing is kind of cool.

    Other than that, I literally have every other single element of this redesign. I mean, I really, really hate it. I’ve looked at every photo, and from every angle shown, there is literally something that seems unnecessary, out-of-balance or otherwise just “off”:

    • The front is just hideous… I mean, what were they thinking with the gaping fish mouth, the odd cut-lines around the fog-lamps and the squished bonnet air intake (with a “power bulge”, no less)?
    • The side profile has unnecessarily large slats around the scuttles (but otherwise is the most acceptable angle).
    • The rear lights are bulbous and juvenile, and the exhaust pipes look under-sized (relative to the heavy-handed sculpting of the rear apron).

    I’m sure they’ll still be a hoot to drive. Though with all of the auto-gear selecting (w/ GPS on autos), electric steering, adjustable-damping, rev-matching and auto-everything else going, I fear we’re truly moving away from the joy and simplicity that made MINI among the most unique cars on the road. And now with this re-style, we’re leaving the simplicity and purity of design behind, as well.

    • ulrichd

      I was going to post similar comments, but I will simply agree with what you sad. Very, very disappointed in this overly busy design language. Add simplicity.

    • JeffH

      Exactly right. What is with those circular cut-lines and protruding lower lip? Terrible. I cannot imagine how the same company can put out the Vision Concept and this at the same time. I was hoping it was some kind of diversion at first, but here it is is again. Seems to be for real.

  • lavardera

    I like the new front grill treatment. Really don’t like the lower protruding grill – clearly a hold over from the R56 refresh. It looked tagged on there, and it still looks tagged on. The Cooper should not have that at all, and perhaps there is some hope the JCW front end will look better.

  • John McLauchlan

    I’m sorry, but that front bumper on the Cooper S is a deal breaker for me. Let’s hope the Cooper or JCW versions offer a cleaner look.

    Still optimistic about the mechanical improvements and some of the other reported changes.

  • Piotr

    and I stupidly thought that they took the extra time (launch delay from IAA to LA auto show) to rework the car…

    It is same ugly and same pathetic-toy-looking as it did in first spy shots.

    It’s finally time to face the truth – it is not the angle, the camera, the telephoto lens ugly – IT IS THE FREAKING CAR UGLY!!!

    And what’s worst – it’s my beloved Mini which turned from racer, to gril’s toy.

    Sad as hell :(((

  • ulrichd

    My biggest disappointment is the almost flat hood. We have now completely lost the fender shapes which gives the front end just a very bulbous look. I know about the euro pedestrian impact standards but it’s just a crying shame.

    Any chance that the regular Cooper will not have the lower fish mouth grill with the brake ducts?

    • pmindemann

      Oh, but now you have a power bulge! A power bulge!!! (LOL)

      It’s like they couldn’t figure out what ideas to keep and which to discard, so they just said, “um, we’ll take one of each.” And then called it a day. What a mis-step for the brand.

  • Roger Seeley

    Sorry but i dont give a damn how many angles you see…whether or not its a telephoto lens…the damn thing is a unmitigated mess…the headlights got smaller while the taillights got bigger…seriously did they just reuse the countryman taillights? And honestly this looks like a cartoonist’s rendering of the previous generations where things like the bumpers are over pronounced while the grilles are smaller with that same god-awful black bar that every other car seems to have…dont believe me? Look up the new Civic and Elantra…couple this with the no longer MINI interior and a 2.0L engine that only puts out 192hp and its just crap…sorry MINI but you stuck out on this and i think consumers are going to speak on this one…it seems they threw out everything they have done and decided screw it…lets make it look like a goldfish with a baboon A$$.

    • Piotr

      thumbs up for you! 100% agree

    • ewwwww rip mini

      agree. baboon. best description lol I’m one more disappointed mini enthusiast

      • Dusty

        this is very entertaining reading. they really butchered the hell out of it.

    • pmindemann

      Seriously… with that gaping fish mouth, what were they thinking making the first vehicle to appear in the ads and orange color? All you see is a goldfish!

      Er, a goldfish with a baboon butt, that is. 😉

  • AMS

    You know what? I don’t hate it. There are things that seem a little off, but some of that may be an effect of seeing familiar shapes re-tweaked or in new proportions from what I’m used to.

  • lawrothegreat

    You know what else, I don’t hate it either, in fact I really rather like it. Yes there are some details that I am less sure about, for example the front brake ducts which are fussy. But I shall wait to see the car in the flesh. I’m going to say something controversial: From a pure front-on view, the overall shape of the car, the overall shape of the main grille and the headlights are beautiful.

  • Liking the spoiler/wing design for the S models. Can’t wait to see a JCW!!

    • pmindemann

      Agreed on the spoiler wing.

      And only the JCW version can (maybe, hopefully, desperately) save this thing now.

  • Chuck Jr.

    So, we gradually moved from a bulldog to a goldfish. Awesome!

    I’m sure people will say “it looks a lot better in person, don’t worry”, but that’s just as disappointing as these photos. Of course, there are few items that are pleasing, but when you put those in a package with that front end, they evaporate immediately. The more I look at the front end of the car, the uglier it gets. The rear doesn’t bother me that much, but did I mention the front end?

    • Nick

      Totally agree. The front of the MINI used to be the most pleasing design element. What happened to the beautiful flow of the hood and finder lines, and headlights that fit perfectly? Don’t tell me it’s because of the pedestrian standards. Anyone on this site who loves the MINI as much as I do could have done a better design. I am so disappointed.

  • Frank Granados

    Hmmm, it must be the parallax error angle caused by the telephoto camera lens!

  • tobi

    i will sitck with my R56, for a while… sorry but… DAT FRONT… Oo DAFUQ did i just seen ?

  • smyers528

    It’s a Mini, just the Pixar version of a Mini. Too much face, overdone features, loss of curves, toylike. At least it has a prominent “S” in the grill, love that font……. 🙂

  • John From Cincinnati

    I don’t hate it. But definitely underwhelmed. If the performance is there then it will be on my shortlist. After my ’08 JCW was totaled in a rollover in 2011, I bought a Crossfire [which was totaled in August} so I bought an ’07 Solstice GXP with 23,000 miles. Not sure if this will pull me out of my Solstice or not. I just hope that the aftermarket guys are already doing preliminary design work for something that can cover up the bumper with a one piece grill or something. The bumper on my Solstice is under the body work and is not exposed. The front end on the F56 looks unfinished. I’ll just need to wait and see it in person. I like the running lights but did anyone notice it is not a full circle? Not sure what they were thinking on that either. If I do buy one, I’ll probably wait for the refresh to see if they fix the stuff everyone dislikes.

    • dirk

      might want to take some drivers training. totally two cars wow

  • ulrichd

    Just move the fog lights into the grill, like on the Rocketman concept and lose the lower grill completely and presto, a beautiful new MINI. Well, from the front at least.

  • liciolicio

    This car was made to be bought black painted.

    • Mike Burley

      I was thinking the same thing.. Its the only way to get rid of the contrasting glossy black bumper. Also, I think this will be the only car I’d want without LED/Xenons. Looks ridiculous.

    • pmindemann

      Yes, painted black, and put on a black background. With the lights off. At night.

  • Hoover

    There is just way too much going on for me.

  • mczinn

    What am I missing? I only see one picture. Is there a link to see all of them that I am not seeing?

  • b-

    Blah blah blah, telephoto lense… Still looks terrible!

  • Mike

    So much of the front end just makes me ask “why?”. Its way busy, but I’ll reserve judgement for when I see the non-honeycomb regular slatted grill. Hopefully it covers the glossy black bumper. I don’t event know where to start with the lower puckered mouth with air ducts. Just looks so out of place.

    The rear looks good, and I kinda like the slightly larger tail lights. I think it’s bigger than we’re used to, but it works. I think its odd the basic design of the rear is basically a carryover from the r56.

  • Aurel

    I think I am more dissapointed that it doesn’t look that much more different than the R56; save for the grande taillights, LED’s and the glossy bumper strip up front.. those are the only three things that stick out as different to me.

    The rest looks like 2007.

  • rcsReallyDisappointed

    It is ugly, and it is sad that it is so ugly. Nothing else needs to be said. You can’t explain away ugly.

  • Dusty

    That is ugly as hell. So much for the Mini Vision Concept vehicle which we all knew was not the real thing after those first set of spy shots came out. This looks like a large mouth bass with a cankerous lip. What is with that bumper? Looks like it’s piecemealed together. That is the goofiest busiest looking frontal shot of probably any car I’ve ever seen. If that’s the real thing, then it should earn it’s spot along with the AMC Pacer, Gremlin and Pontiac Aztec as all time ugliest. Wow…. No charm left there. The MINI Vision Concept was neat… this is not…

  • MiniCobra1

    Wow, it does look like a goldfish. Way too busy, overdone on the front end. I hope the JCW will look a little cleaner. Maybe some aftermarket body kits will be available to cover the lower half of the grille and that protruding second mouth!! I’m not sold.

  • Head Honcho

    The black bar across the center of the grill is crap. I keep thinking peogot 307. It makes it look so cheap. The lower grill and vents looks like crap. The rest I could live with but the front grill is a deal breaker.

  • klf23

    At least the ‘flame surfacing’ that everyone was worried about during the Bangle era is minimal. There are only a few creases above the arches and towards the bottom on the sides.

    Also, I like the circular headlights. I was thinking that they might go more oblong and pulled back up the bonnet, a design feature that I hate and luckily seems to be going out of fashion.

    I noticed how the shape of the front grille mimics the original Mini grille. It would look better as a proper grille without the black bar though. Maybe the Justacooper will improve on this.

    The size of the rear lights seems to be trying to trick the brain into thinking the car is smaller than it really is. I would prefer a car that is actually smaller though. Give me this in Rocketman size and I’d be in.

  • wetwolf

    sigh….can it be ordered without those silly looking DRLs? Take off the chrome bits and maybe. But honestly, probably not. Nope, more I think about it. Most likely will not find a home in my garage. I just cannot get by those headlights…

    What a mess. Too bad it is too late for them to do over.

    • You can turn off the DRLs by default

      • pmindemann

        Good. Even those looks silly. With them on, they start making the lights look like eyeballs (white around the edge, darker in the middle). I mean, seriously, did no one actually look at this car before saying, “ok, yeah… build that.”

  • Nick K. Arena

    So many strong feelings here for a car that one, nobody has seen in person and more importantly, 2, has had the opportunity to drive yet. I have explained to several non-MINI enthusiasts over the years that while the car looks quirky (R50, R53, and R56) that the real magic is in the motoring experience.

    I don’t know how anyone who reads Motoringfile not be even just a little excited/curious for the Cooper. 30% more torque out of turbo charged three cylinder motor!?! That sounds awesome.

    • donburnside

      I’m with you Nick. Especially excited about the Cooper. Depending on it’s weight, it might have very similiar power/weight ratio as an R53.

    • pmindemann

      Part of the experience of owning a MINI is how it looks. Yes, driving fulfills (or exceeds) the expectations imparted by the visual cues. But if the exterior doesn’t create a positive emotional connection, does it really matter how it drives? You could drop a Corvette motor in a mid-90s Ford Taurus, but I still wouldn’t want to own one.

  • wetwolf

    Got to love the comment Gabe:

    Having seen the car in person I can attest to the details taking some time to fully understand and appreciate.

    Such a nice way to say functional but ugly….does it at least have a good personality?

    • Frank Granados

      I can’t wait to say what Jalopnik has to say about it. If you want to read objective views, then do it outside MF….

  • Bob

    Really, really, really. . .ugly. This time there’s no telephoto excuse. It’s just an ugly car.

    • Frank Granados

      Remember, it is all in the imagination!

  • Nick K. Arena

    I’m going to say it. It’s a R56 sized Rocketman.

  • markjenn

    Mini styling definitely hit a high point with the 2002 Cooper. Everything else has been downhill. They keep trying to “butch” it up and it just keeps look worse.

  • Stew

    I Don’t think it’s even a Girls toy, the girls like the cute look and this is anything but. What if the whole mini community just said “right enough” we are not buying it go and hire a new style designer as that team you have are idiots. For the first time I’m thinking after near on six years of Cooper ownership from practically new that I won’t be getting a new Mini next. I’d rather have an A1 or fiat 500. Honestly who wants to drive a car everyone first reaction will be “oh no what have they done to the Mini” sad sad sad.

  • Devin

    I Like the new design. It is MINI doing what it does best. Standing out from the crowd and not being normal. Weird shapes and odd designs with a ride that will throw your wig sideways. Yes, everyone is going for more sleek lines. More artistically perfect with all these other rules and blah blah blah. Who cares? Do what you want and have fun with it. That is what the MINI brand is built on. Sure a lot of people will chuck this under the bus but I say hooray for an undeniably MINI evolution of an already great car.

  • Marcus in E17

    Having see the Cooper in the flesh I can say the F56 is better looking in real life. On the Cooper, the slatted grill sits above the black bumper bar and the lower vent does not jut out so is much cleaner looking and now it has 134bhp, will probably be more popular than ever. These pics are still missing finer details such as the crisp lines around the plastic arches and eyebrows over the rear lights, which do make the car look smaller and squatter at the rear. There was lots of dissent about the R56 when it came out but think a lot of people will get used to the new look.

    • Frank Granados

      That is the problem. You don’t have to “Get used to” good design. You only get used to bad/lousy design.

  • Ed

    …no more excuses please…the car is plain “ugly’ unless BMW is teasing us. The design went downhill and way out of proportion now. I guess “sales’ will be the final verdict.

    • Barry

      Maybe the Non S version will look better, less messed with.

    • Frank Granados

      I see an emergency LCI ordered in about 12-14 months. Remember the disaster that was the 2012 Honda Civic …

  • rlb

    Non S looks more promising (I hope). Here’s a partly clad Justa spy shot: http://paultan.org/2013/09/25/mini-cooper-f56-hatch-spyshots/attachment/201057/

    • JeffH

      Even with the camo, this still looks better than that awful S.

      • JimBucksbury

        Maybe “Swirly Camo” will be one of the new paint options? That would do wonders for the front end.

    • ulrichd

      Wow, thanks for posting this. Much cleaner front end. Hopefully the aftermarket will have a remedy for those tail lights.

  • Chris Bamford

    Yep, it’s a better angle.

  • nervous

    I smell fish.

  • London cynic

    I think we’re all missing the point with this car. We’re a group of car enthusiasts who would choose to combine all the very best elements being talked about (the 8 speed zf, the concepts good looks) to make the best possible Mini.

    BMW’s first priority is to make as much money as possible. So they make the Mini look like a pantomime clown car and hold back some of the best tech to push a more discerning customer into the more expensive BMW brand car.

    Most buyers for this car won’t have the first idea what they’re buying in terms of mechanical specification – they’ll be looking much more closely at the finance plan and their monthly payment (where the big profits are) to notice that BMW put some clumsy design in there or that the auto is outdated.

  • SkylerDean

    All I see is SpongeBob Squarepants with a surprised look on his face. Yellow doesn’t help…

  • donburnside

    I like it. Looks slightly narrower to me from this angle, not helped by the stripes (I’m sure). But, yes. Where do I sign? Cooper please, no sunroof. kthxbye.

    • Frank Granados

      Don, I know your R50 is getting really long in the tooth with the miles… But man, keep it. This new plastic blob on wheels does not even begin to hold a candle to your Velvet Red beauty.

  • Frank Granados

    Parallax error caused by the wrong angle of the telephoto lens.

  • Kim Bene

    Still looks like a Mini. Most folks except obsessed Mini owners won’t see any difference. Every thing is fine.

  • b-

    I was thinking, if a company came out with a really great hood and bumper package to bolt on they would make $$$. My problem is with the BUSY front end! There is just way too much going on there! The hood looks too flat to me, I loved the curves of the R53 cars that vanished somewhat with the R56 ones. A carbon fiber hood, (painted of course,) and a new mean bumper would work wonders for this car.

  • Gene Leeds

    Still looks terrible. Looks like my next will be a 1st gen GP….or another manufacturer! Gabe want to sell that M1? 😉

    • A couple things… – Not selling the 1M unless it’s to my son in 30 years 🙂 – 1st gen GP is a classic. – The F56 takes time. But it will be a massive success for MINI.

  • nsbancroft

    There are many things about the F56 that excite me but that front fascia is NOT one of those things. I really don’t care for the new headlamps either.

    I REALLY hope the JCW aero bits can fix this.

    • Also key would be to NOT order the exterior chrome-line and order the JCW grille (which should black out the chrome ring.

      • nsbancroft

        Agree 100%, I’m not a chrome-line fan.


    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! 😀

      • 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’ 😀

  • 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…

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.