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Spied: The F55 5-door Next Gen MINI

F55-Spy-Shot

We’re expecting that more than any other, the upcoming 5-door MINI variant will significantly impact the brand’s popularity, especially with American buyers. Mixing a bit of the Countryman’s 4-door practicality with the smaller footprint of the F56, the F55 will give MINI buyers that little bit more utility than the current Clubman.

Well today we get yet another spy shot look at what we can expect from the F55. Some anonymous photog sent a pair of body shop photos to Auto Express. Now that we’ve seen the F56 for real, it’s much easier to imagine what to expect in the F55 from these photos. See them both over at Auto Express.

Expect the debut next autumn with the F55 going on sale in early 2015.

Thoughts?

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Written By: Nathaniel Salzman

  • Nick Dawson

    In an uncertain world, it is comforting to know that F55 5-door will, most certainly, be MINI’s best selling model. Not only in the US and Asia, but also in Europe where five door hatchbacks outsell three door hatchbacks 2:1. The success of the Countryman, currently MINI’s most profitable model, proved to BMW that what the world wants is more practical MINI’s, not small impractical MINIs. The lack of customer enthusiasm for the Paceman and Coupe/Roadster hammered home the point.

    F55 will inevitably impact on Countryman sales, as will F54 Clubman, but BMW has already anticipated that, and is developing the next generation F60 Countryman in parallel with the the next generation X1, to be a more dedicated SUV. The SUV global market is currently the largest growth sector in the global automobile industry, so much so that and even Bentley, Jaguar and Rolls Royce have recently given the green light to build SUVs.

    • Stew

      Currently in a R56 Coop. I like the sound of the New Cooper and it looks fine to me. If it’s a far better drivers car and better put together then its all good. The Cooper stats look interesting almost R53s power.

      What MINI should do is make that new Works the best ever and then everything else will take care of itself. If you have a Works at the top of the tree that caters for people wanting the best in performance and ride, if they nail that with that 2lt engine and completely new everything from suspension to gearbox then everyone will be happy.

      • Bob

        230Bhp for a JCW

  • Alexandre

    As time goes on, we see more and more spy shots of future models. It is exciting but at the same time frustrating since it ruins the element of surprise. As Tim Cook puts it, they should “double down on secrecy, y’all”. Although it hasn’t worked that well…

  • John McLauchlan

    The F54 and F55 bodies look more balanced with the larger front overhang of the 3rd gen. Looks like a new color on the spy photos?

  • sugurunishioka

    I gotta say, though I’m not a fan of long nose on F56 (and all future models I assume), that will look more “together” with future Clubman or even this 5 door hatch. When I finally replace my 2011 at some point in the future, if the family situation requires it, F54 or F55 could be a nice choice, not making me think “my R56 was smaller than F56″ all the time.

  • BimmerFile_Michael

    Looks like this car is being painted for a debut/car show- Lightening Blue reincarnated?

    Kinda silly to leak an image like this as the culprit will easily be hunted down…. as it goes or maybe this is a planned “leak” ?

    • Scott Eaves

      Looks like a shade darker than Electric Blue, yet a little lighter than Lightning Blue. I like that blue better than any F56 colors introduced so far.

  • SPICYJCWCOUPE

    After having an ’08 MCS & a current ’12 JCWCoupe, I ‘had’ been considering my next MINI as being a more ‘practical’ (at least for me) S Paceman for 2015. But now that I see the F55 4 door hatch to be revealed next fall, that may likely be my next MINI.

    Being slightly larger than the 2 door F56 hatch but, with easier back seat access with the 4 doors, combined with not having to move up in size to the Paceman (or Countryman) is whetting my appetite for the F55. I predict that could be the best seller among the ‘smaller’ MINIs just as the Countryman’s sales has overwhelmed the Paceman & even most all of the smaller MINIs……

  • JonPD

    Still think this is the car the R60 should have been, what most people were looking for was more utility not yet another crossover. Expect to see the next generation R60 to be moved more into a suv yet.

  • wetwolf

    one of the nice things about the R55 was that it used the R56 doors which gave the side a longer profile. The added suicide door was quirky. The barn doors are quirky. The marketing campaign was quirky. I really like the wife’s Clubman after the addition of a bigger rear sway bar. Her current MINI is the countryman. I HATE the small doors. It chops up the side profile too much. It also puts the B pillar right next to my head. I do not like this at all.

    I want a 2 door with some utility. The above is not it. Do not call it a Clubman. Call it a 4 door Hardtop. Maybe they should call this one the Caravan….just sayin….maybe it will be innovative and have its own vacuum too…..

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      The F55 above is not the Clubman. The Clubman is the F54 which we detail a few weeks ago.

      • wetwolf

        good to hear. R55= F54….makes sense ;P

      • Bob Hayhurst

        I’m going with this…

      • b-

        But the clubman will have 4 real doors will it not? With 4 real doors it will have shorter doors and window frames too, correct? The shorter doors are a deal breaker for us tall people for entering/exiting as well as driving with a b-pillar right next to your head.

        • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

          Yes the Clubman will have four real doors – likely longer than what you see here. Not sure about window frames but wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t.

    • SPICYJCWCOUPE

      You’ll find that most 2 door cars with a back seat will have larger (wider) doors so as to accommodate easier access to the back seats via the front doors. Similar 4 door models generally have smaller front doors since the back seat passengers have their own doors for access.

      Both my previous ’08 MCS hatch & current ’12 JCWCoupe have very large doors for better access to the rear seat on the MCS & behind seat storage on the Coupe. Those big doors won’t be needed on the 4 door F55.

    • Frank Granados

      Not only that, but the Clubman simply put, outhandles the Countryman, looks/feel more like a MINI, it is cheaper and that “quirkiness” that you talk about really makes it stand apart from the rest of the lineup.

  • Evan

    The proportions look good on this- as stated already and was true with the R55- a longer body makes the required longer nose less notable.

    It’s really too bad that it won’t be out until early 2015. That puts it about 8 months after when I need a new car. If I love the F56 in person and on the road, I was thinking I’d suck up the first model year problems and go for it. But maybe it’d be better to get something different for a couple years then go to the F55. Maybe a short-term, high mileage lease on an F55 or Mazda3… Or find a fun used R53 or E90….

    I can’t wait to see the F56 in Detroit and drive it come March. Impatiently excited.

  • Frank Granados

    We just picked up a 2013 Clubman S as the ’08 Clubman S was becoming a reliability money pit. There are aspects about the Clubman we really like and we are not 100% sure if the inclusion of 4 full doors would help make the car that “much” more practical. The Clubman has a huge opening on the passenger side making rear seat ingress/egress fairly easy. My wife prefers the rear barn doors of this model to the typical hatch. The Clubman needs better cargo space with the rear seats up, but other than that, it is a great car, fun to drive, great handling and after nearly 6 years in production, the LCI models are more refined, better built and more solid feeling than their early production counterparts. We took advantage of 0% financing deals and some cash on the hood. The F54/F55 look promising but we have pretty much come to the conclusion that BMW/MINI best cars are LCI models nearing their production run. We’ll let the first, second and third year Beta Testers put up with the issues and we’ll be sure to vist the F54/F55 when the time comes.

  • Mini_Mi

    OK. I’m a little confused. I thought F55 was supposed to be same size as F56, but with 4 doors. But it definitely appears bigger.

    Can anyone clarify? Now I gather F55 is supposed to be about the size of the current gen Clubman? Then F54 Clubman is supposed to be about the size of current Countryman, minus the height/CUV stance? Leaving the Countryman to be re-sized to near BMW X1 dimensions?

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

      The F55 will have a slightly longer wheelbase, just like the Clubman does today, but should be the same width/height as the F56. The F60 and F54 will be larger overall, just like the R60 is larger than the R56 is currently. You could think of the F55 as a Clubman replacement of sorts, but it’s really a new model in that size class and that’s displaced the new Clubman up into the Countryman size tier. And yes, the new Countryman and its siblings will be co-developed with the BMW X1, but given how good (and still small) the current X1 is, I think that’s a good thing.

      • JonPD

        Small doesn’t come to mind when I see a X1. A 4 door Jeep Wrangler is not a small car yet is shorter than the X1 with a longer wheel base and 3″ wider.

      • SPICYJCWCOUPE

        Ever since I saw the 1st ‘photo’ of the 4 door F55, I was guessing it was identical to the 2 door F56 from the front seats forward to the grill, but a few inches longer along the back half…..about the length/wheelbase as the current Clubman.

        Since the F56 is 4.5″ longer than the R56 & the current Clubman is about 9″ longer than the R56, that would make the F55 about 4.5″ longer than the F56. Would that be about right?

        Would also guess it’ll probably weigh closer to the current Clubman rather than the F56 with the added length & weight of the rear seat doors…….

  • Nick Dawson

    If anyone is still wondering why the F54 Clubman and F55 5-door have been given conventional rear passenger doors, rather than rear suicide doors, they need look no further than the i3 for the answer. In the stringent Euro NCAP crash testing, the i3 scored a surprisingly disappointing 4 out 5 stars. In addition to scoring ‘marginal’ protection in the whiplash test, the side pole test (designed to simulate a car hitting a tree sideways at 18 mph) revealed that the i3 provided ‘weak’ protection to passengers’ chests.

    The problem with cars that do not have B posts, is that they are inherently weak in the very area where they hit the pole. Consequently the i3 required an expensive high tech construction. The R60 Countryman, however, was awarded 5 stars in the same stringent test and, even without the benefit of a high tech construction, the side pole test revealed ‘marginal’ protection to passenger’s chests, which is significantly higher than the ‘weak’ score awarded to the i3. Evidently suicide doors are called that with good reason!

    • Frank Granados

      I can’t seem to find the Clubman’s Euro NCAP test results to corroborate your post above.

      • Nick Dawson

        Unfortunately the R55 Clubman has never been submitted for Euro NCAP crash testing, which is a bit worrying, but there is no legislative requirement for car manufacturers to do so. I quoted the results obtained for the F60 Countryman, for comparison with the i3, because it is the only MINI to be tested under the latest more stringent NCAP crash testing, introduced in February 2009. One can only speculate as to how the F55 Clubman would perform in the punishing side pole test, but I doubt very much that it would perform as well as the Countryman. Nevertheless, I would expect the R55 to be a very safe little car overall, but perhaps you should avoid taking your new Clubby rallying in forest areas, just in case :-)

      • Nick Dawson

        Forgive me, I meant of course to say R60 and R55, in my previous post, not F60 and F55.

  • Platty

    Really not a fan of the latest incarnation of the MINI. I like the new engine offerings, especially the S/JCW, however aesthetically the front end is too busy and open mouthed fish like, and the huge rear lights are just that, huge! The interior looks like a nice place to be, but very BMW. Also, the centre speedo is iconic of the Mini/MINI, shame to see it relegated to the regular position. I don’t see me staying with MINI when the love affair I have with my R56 finally ends.

    • carcrazed

      have you seen the F56 in person? Sounds like not. It’s fantastic so don’t knock it until you see it. SO tired of these posts from those who mostly haven’t even seen the real thing

      • Frank Granados

        Really? So if “You don’t see it in person”, one’s opinion on the look of the car is automatically invalidated? Guess what, the front and rear are still a mess and the press photos are very revealing of this. 11 years ago we fell in love with the MINI even before seeing it “In person”. Good design is good design and lousy design will be lousy design. An aesthetically pleasant vehicle will look good in photos (Including telephoto shots) and in real life.

      • Platty

        No, I’ve formed an opinion based on the pictures provided. If the pictures look nothing like the real thing, I hope I will be pleasantly surprised (I’d also question why these marketing pictures have been released?) However, if the front end looks like it does in the pictures (I’m just guessing it might), I’ll stick with my initial opinion.


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MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

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