The Top Ten Things We Love About the New MINI (And Five We Don’t)
After spending a few days with the new MINI we’ve come away convinced that photos don’t quite do the car justice. There’s so much nuance in three-dimensions that is lost in a flat photo where you’re really only getting part of the picture. So we wanted to bring you ten things that we love about the new car that might not be obvious in any of the photos released to date. We’ll then list five things that we’re not so sure about yet.
The interior quality is dramatically better. Some of this is due to the materials themselves but just as much improvement is due to the design making better use of these materials.
The boot is so much more versatile. Not only is it larger, but it now has a surprisingly useful under-floor storage area with an integrated net. Additionally the rear seats not only fold down flat, but they can lock in a 90 degree position straight up. This provides more storage space in the boot while also creating a barrier to keep items of sliding forward. It’s a nice alternate to folding the seats all the way down.
We think the 18” wheels combined with a higher belt-line, and lower roofline, give the car a more menacing character out of the box.
The rear spoiler on both cars (but especially the Cooper S) is much larger than you’d expect and gives the car a sporting character from rear angles
The optional LED headlights look fantastic in person due to their simplicity. They also offer great visibility.
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. The sport seats are fantastic. They combine more comfort with a more aggressive bolstering to create the perfect everyday MINI seat. What you don’t get in photos, however, is how far improved the quality is over the R50 and R56. The rear seats are better too — deeper and with an altered profile for more comfort. Still not a great place for adults on long trips, but they’ve come a long way since the R50.
The size. Yes, it’s bigger. However, the F56 has noticeably more utility in regards to storage and there’s more room in both the front and rear seats. All in a package that weighs only 60 lbs more than the R56 due to a strengthened chassis and other safety measures. Yet even with that little extra (literal) elbow room, the F56 is still a very small car, especially in the US market.
The optional JCW steering wheel is the best wheel yet from MINI. From the perforated leather, to the shape, it’s simply perfect. It’s not at all too soft or too thick like some BMW M wheels can be.
MINI’s new optional 8.8” navigation screen is a huge improvement in both resolution and color vibrancy. Yet while the software is dramatically improved over today’s system, it’s not quite on par with BMW’s excellent iDrive system.
The engines. Sure we haven’t driven it yet but the idea of the menacing growl only a three cylinder can bring along with great MPG is genuinely exciting. Then there’s the 2.0L four cylinder. Sure it’s only moderately more power, but the increased torque is near JCW levels. And with .4L more capacity than before, just imagine what can be done with a JCW massaged version.
Now let’s talk about the things we haven’t yet wrapped our heads around.
The rear lights are huge and haven’t gotten any smaller over the last two days spent with the car.
The bumper features a chin that is frankly hard to love – especially in light colors. Darker colors help greatly.
The scourge of the MINI branding – the “S” in Cooper S – is everywhere on the Cooper S. It’s most egregious on the front grille. Look for sticker kits from MotoringBadges.com to at least black this out.
The optional CD Changer (the only way to get a CD in this MINI) takes up almost the entire glovebox.
The clutch. It’s all new, but feel very light. Granted I just played with it in a stationary position, but the clutch on the Cooper S I demoed felt noticeably lighter than the one in our MF 2011 JCW Roadster, and not in a good way.
Written By: Gabe
Sort by MINI model
- MotoringFile’s Longterm JCW Roadster For Sale
- The 2015 MINI Clubman Hits the ‘Ring
- Exclusive: An Early Look at the 2nd Generation 2018 MINI Countryman
- MINI Final Final Test Drive Winner Announced
- White Roof Radio #506
- MotoringFile Review: The 2014 MINI Cooper Manual
- MINI’s Final Test Test Drive Videos are Up and They Are Hilarious
- (UPDATED WITH OFFICIAL STATEMENT) MINI USA Delaying all Cooper Deliveries Due to Defect
- MINI USA Sales Down 40% for March While Waiting for F56
- MINI Shoots and Scores: The MINI Paceman GoalCooper
MotoringFile on Instagram
- Premier: BMW 228i Coupe with Track Handling Package
- BMW Investigating Building 3 Series Plant in North America
- BMW Team RLL Race Results at Long Beach
- BMW Team RLL Qualifies Second and Third at Long Beach
- Video: BMW M235i More Than a Bargain M?
- BMWi Video: The Carbon Fiber Journey
- World Debut: BMW X5 eDrive Concept
- BMW Voluntarily Recalls 156,137 Vehicles to Fix Variable Camshaft Issue
- Comparing the M235i to the M36 M3
- BMW Sell 200,000 Vehicles in a Month For The First Time Ever
- Three Houston Scooterists To Run the Cannonball for Cancer Charity
- Piaggio Group Worldwide Profits Plunged in 2013
- Opinion: Will the Vespa Sprint Hurt 946 Sales?
- Yamaha Unveils the Tricity 3-wheel Scooter
- Vespa Officially Announces the 2015 Sprint
- Video: A Baja Vespa Surf Adventure
- The Piaggio / Vespa Rumor Roundup
- Review: Hands-on With the Genuine Buddy 170i Brit Special Edition
- BMW Recalls C-Series Scooters Over Side Stand Switch Issue
- Review: 2014 Stella 125 Automatic First Ride
MINI Model Cheat Sheet
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F55: Five Door Hatch
F60: MINI Crossover
Advertise with MotoringFile
MotoringFile Buyers GuidesR50 ('02-'06 MC) Buyers Guide
R53 ('02-'06 MCS) Buyers Guide
'12 JCW Coupe
'11 Fiat 500 Sport
'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
'11 Cooper S Hatch
'11 Countryman MCS (FWD)
'11 Countryman MC (auto)
'10 Mayfair MCS (auto)
'11 Countryman MCS (ALL4)
'10 MINI E
'10 Tesla Roadster Sport
'09 Cooper S Convertible
'09 JCW Hatch
'09 JCW Clubman
JCW Stage I vs JCW Stage II
'08 Clubman S (Auto)
1st Drive: '08 MINI Clubman
'08 Smart Fourtwo
Comparison: '08 BMW 135i
'06 R53 MCS vs '07 R56 MCS
'07 R56 JCW (Stage 1)
'07 MINI Cooper S Long Term
'07 BMW Z4 M Coupe
'07 MINI Cooper & Cooper S
Audio: '07 MC/MCS at the Track
'06 JCW GP Long term
Reader Review: JCW GP
'06 JCW Cooper S Long Term
Comparison: '06 Lotus Elise
Comparison: '06 Mazda MX5
Comparison: '06 UK Focus ST
Comparison: '06 Civic Si
Comparison: '04 TVR T350
Comparison: '06 Nissan 350z
Comparison: '06 VW GTI w/DSG
Podcast: Cooper S Auto
Podcast: BMW 325i
Podcast: JCW MC Soundkit
'04 JCW MINI Cooper Tuning Kit
'05 MCS: One Month Review
'05 MCS Auto
'05 JCW S 1st Drive
'05 MINI Cooper
'05 MCS Conv. Long Term
'05 MINI Cooper S
'05 MCS Cabrio 1st Drive
'04 JCW MCS First Drive
'04 MC w/JCW Tuning Kit
BMW M3 SMG Vs. MCS
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range