MotoringFile Video Review: 2014 F56 MINI Cooper & Cooper S

Last week we had a day to spend with the all new 2014 F56 MINI Cooper and Cooper S. During that time we roamed the mountain passes and ocean front roads to bring you our first thoughts on MINI’s most important car since the launch of the R50 in 2001. But we also wanted to bring you more than just written words and photos from the launch.

So one take, no script, 20 minutes and a GoPro camera, we had our first video review of the F56 MINI Cooper and Cooper S. Check it out after the break.

  • Tim H

    Will you do the same style segment in the S?

    • JimBucksbury

      That was in the S.

      • Tim H

        those are the sport seats? they look…not sure. they look meek. for the love of all that’s holy lets see anthrecite (sp?) liner. lol.

        • John

          Here’s a difference in the current generation sport seats and the F56 version:

          Meek isn’t the word I would think of when I see them. The material of the seats in the video is also a part recycled cloth which might make it seem they aren’t as aggressive.

        • I really like the leather and recycled cloth material. Reminds me of cloth Euro BMW sports seats that they used to have which were fantastic and gripper than all leather.

        • Meek? They definitely look more aggressive than the R56 or R53. Gabe even mentioned here or on WRR that they are up to the level of the optional US R56 Recaros. The side bolsters are meatier than the R56 and they even have an adjustable thigh extension which even the US R56 Recaros do not have.

        • I sat in them yesterday and yes, they’re a huge step forward. I prefer them to the Recaros.

  • Lucien W. Dupont

    I’ve seen this both referred to as a 2014 and a 2015, which one is it actually? (ex:

    • There will be a short 2014 model year run before 2015 starts in the summer.

      • Lucien W. Dupont

        Ah. thank you. I figured you would have the correct knowledge 🙂

      • lambdacalc

        Any word yet on what the MY 2015 changes will be? Including whether they plan to introduce a volcanic orange color line (to match the exterior color), the same way they at one point had a yellow color line to match Mellow Yellow?

        • Gabe, could you clarify whether this does or does not include any additional production of R56 Hardtops at this point. Previous information pointed to an end of R56 production. Are the MY 2014 Hardtops simply the last of that production, or are more cars going to be made? Obviously the rest of the MINI lineup continues on as MY 2014 models.

        • The F56 will be a 2014 model when it hits dealers in April. The 2015 model year will then begin (for all MINIs except the clubman which dies) this summer.

        • JohnBLZ

          Any change between the 2014 and 2015 F56?

        • Likely a few options and JCW exterior pack.

        • Aurel

          what do you mean by “except the clubman which dies”?

          Is MINI stopping Clubman production until the next gen is ready?

        • Yes. Reported on it awhile back but it probably could use a re-report.

  • R.O

    The exhaust noise/sound on the F56 S is great. Love it. Unfortunately, the Price (with the options I’d spec it too) is out of my affordable range. You noted that the Cooper exhaust noise isn’t near to the S, but is it close to, equal to or better than the R50 (non S) exhaust noise?? The R50 had a nice sound.

    While I understand MINI wanting to differentiate the S from the non S, MINI should understand that not everyone can afford an S with options, yet people would still like some sportiness (and exhaust noise) for the Cooper.

    • John

      • R.O

        John, Thanks. Sound is ok. Obviously not as nice as the S, but ok. I enjoy the acceleration sound of the S. Even my 04 R50 has a bit of grrr to it.

        In general, it is my feeling that MINI kind of short changes those folks that can’t afford to buy or don’t want an S. Case in point, for the F56 non S, you can’t get the Auto with paddle shifters. Doesn’t make any sense. In past, a number of body colors (i.e Silver Gray) were only available for the S. Sure differentiate power, torque, performance options but not the rest.

        • John

          Agreed completely. I currently have an R53 that I love the sound of inside and out. But financially I will probably be in the market for a base F56 and not an S. The bigger differentiation and ‘softening’ of the Cooper is discouraging. But I guess with a few mods it could make a difference.

        • Not even mods really. Just check the sports suspension box, opt for summer 17″ tires and you’re set.

  • JonPD

    Great video shoot Gabe. Do have to say dumming down the Cooper is sad but can understand why they did it. Do have to say that I am not overly impressed by the rearward visablity. The C pillar seems to be huge and the rear window pretty slim overall. How would you rank the rearward visablity?

    • Thanks. Btw they didn’t dum it down… They simply made the default spec a little more comfortable.

      • JonPD

        How about the question about the rearward visability?

        • carcrazed

          looks about the same to me!

        • Its pretty much the same.

        • JonPD

          Good to hear that, those C pillars look pretty massive. Still humored though as more and more cars are going with the silly sloped roofline and compesation the high beltline and low rear roof with cameras and sensors since they build cars that are more hard to see out of year by year. Not a MINI only issue, rather just designers winning over engineers I think to often.

  • Marcus

    I’ve read several other reviews which say that rather than being dummed down, the Cooper is the pick of the range due to a more characterful engine and less weight over the nose giving a sharper turn in. I guess obviously personal preference comes into it but wondered why you had taken a different view?

    • Again I never said it was dummed down. The spring rates have been made softer than before and the throttle mapping more conservative in an effort to better differentiate the two models. This combined with a lively engine and 100lbs less weight make for a unique driving experience as compared to the MCS.

      I loved it and would seriously consider one appropriately specced with the sport suspension. It’s all in our review.

      • John

        The sport suspension is different between the two models, correct? I’m coming from an R53 and considering a base F56, wonder what a little tuning would due to it (and excited to see the mods that will arise in the near future).

  • asdfas

    siq shades bra

  • Bob Hayhurst

    Nice video and review. Hit all the right notes for me in that the handling is where you would expect it to be for a Cooper/Cooper S. Love the interior bits and the tech not being intrusive to the driving experience. I cant wait to drive it…

  • Jason

    What a stud, Gabe… awesome review, while driving! All good news. Now, continuing my mission to tolerate that front end…

  • mozleron

    When will the tech in the F56 make its way to the Countryman? I just put my money down on a brand new one just a week ago, and now this is making me re-think that choice…

    • It likely won’t fully hit until the next gen Countryman arrives in a few years.


        So based on the expectation that the 2015 Countryman won’t have any of the F56 new tech features (ie engines, LED’s, rear view camera, etc) until it reaches the next generation in a few years, that would also apply to all other models?? Since the Paceman hit showrooms less than 1 year ago, it could be many years before it gets any updates…if it survives that long. Looking like the new F55 (& F54) intros will be a BIG success for those that want the new tech/engines sooner!!

        When I did a test build of the F56 S, I discovered that if one opts for most of the packages & other individual items, the cost of that optional equip could easily add 10-12K to the base price.

  • Kurtster

    I wonder why the tweeter bulges out so far demo the edge of the A pillar now. it’s not like they need a lot of air behind a tweeter. Did you notice anything remarkable about the speakers?

  • carcrazed

    Super excited to get behind the wheel and motor. I have already experienced it to a degree at the LA Auto Show in November. I am a Motoring Advisor and think this will be a real hit for my personal use and my customers should eat it up!

  • LondonCynic

    I’ve been waiting for this car. I knew buying one would have meant keeping my old Cooper S for three months past it’s warranty (which, given the car’s history and the service at my local dealership would have been risky) but I figured I’d cross my fingers. I’ve been playing with the configurator for a little while and comparing specifications. I’ve found it hard to swallow though. That old Aisin automatic transmission may have been improved but really – an additional £525 over the old car. And it seems that if I want to pay £260 for a CD player the Bluetooth phone connector disappears. And where are the Xenons that used to be included with Chilli (at £1,900)? Gone. So the only option is LED lights at £760. Then last week I passed the VW dealer and spotted an 8 month old Golf R selling for less than the Cooper S I configured – with every extra (and more) included and an additional 70hp – and I bought it – and I love it. Sorry BMW. I stuck with you for my last four cars but you became so greedy I had to move on.

  • Kenta Ishikawa

    I would buy the Cooper instead of the S and put some aftermarket springs on it and call it a day.