Behold, our first view of the 2015 F57 MINI convertible, 2015 F55 Five door hatch and the upcoming 2016 F54 Clubman. The photo, taken this week at the Nurburgring where the trio were undergoing suspension evaluation, shows us just how much larger the new Clubman will be next to the standard MINI and the new five door hatch. Also noticeable is the different design of the Clubman S front bumper as compared to the other two cars (both Cooper S models). And those changes are just the start. Lets take a closer look at each car, the changes we’ll see and exactly when we’ll see each in showrooms.
The 2015 MINI Five Door Hatch
The long awaited five door hatch is based on the F56 through and through. And yes that means the front end will be carried over 100% unchanged. While both the wheelbase and overall length is longer, both cars should be identical in almost every other dimension. This will provide the F55 with similar performance while offering much greater flexibility. The general size is meant to go head to head with such cars as the five door VW Polo and five door Ford Fiesta in Europe. In the US where the market is a bit more complicated, MINI sees it lining up against everything from similar sized four doors to bringing in customers who have out-grown their current R50/53 or R56.
Inside we’ve been told to expect rear legroom to increase about 5 cm as compared to the F56. Unlike the F56, the F55 will offer a three person bench seat (like the Countryman and Clubman in some markets) likely as standard in Europe. It’s unclear if the US will get this option due to rear seat size requirements (insert fat American joke here).
As you can see in the photo above, the rear will be slightly raked as the extra 5 cm of legroom will push the boot out slightly. In total the F55 will likely be at least 5 cm longer than the F56 hatch. On the roof the R55 will feature a more subtle version of the Clubman’s “dune-line” roof profile to further distinguish it from the F56.
In many ways this is the spiritual successor to the current R55 Clubman more than the F54 Clubman will ever be.
The F55 will carry over the same range of engines as seen on the F56. That means in the US we’ll see Cooper and Cooper S models while Europe and much of the rest of the world will get the full range o diesels and the entry level MINI One. While we ultimately we expect MINI to offer a diesel in the US, it’s unclear if the F55 will be one of the cars to get it.
We should get a sneak peek of the F55 in early June with a full debut sometime in July. Expect sales to begin early this fall with the car hitting US showrooms in late fall.
The 2015 MINI Convertible
The 2015 MINI Convertible looks to be exactly what we expect – a roof identical to the previous generation added to the F56’s mix of new engines, tech and of course entirely new design inside and out. However MINI has done much more here than simply cut the roof off. As with all the previous convertibles expect a host of structural reinforcements to reduce body flex.
Also as expected the convertible will carry over the F56 front and rear design we saw introduced in late 2014. Look for MINI to revise this with the planned late-2016 LCI (mid-cycle refresh) in time for the 2017 model year.
Unsurprisingly F57 will launch with the same engine range seen on the F56. There was some hope we’d see the introduction of the new 9 speed automatic in conjunction with the F57 but it’s unclear if that will happen then or with the full LCI (mid-cycle refresh) of the full range in late-2016.
Look for the Convertible to debut sometime late this fall or early winter. With the F55 taking center stage in the fall and the JCW hatch being shown in Detroit this January, it’ll either debut in LA or perhaps even as late as Geneva in late February. Either way expect F57 to hit showrooms next spring.
The 2016 MINI Clubman
The highly anticipated Clubman doesn’t look so big or that different here next to the five door hatch. Yet it will pack substantially more features and a host of design changes and refinements. At the core of this is a widened and lengthened version of BMW’s UKL chassis that underpins all MINIs and front wheel drive BMWs. This extra width and length will make the Clubman the largest MINI to date and pack in a ton of utility in the process.
While the entire car is wider (noticeably so), the nose from the bumper up looks to be very similar to that of the F56. Perhaps the biggest news here is that we see a deviation from both the concept’s bumper design. What this looks like to is is a reinterpretation of the current F56 design made less jarring. It also would appear to follow the concept by adopting BMW’s air curtain and air breather system.
Contrary to what we first thought, the height of the car is clearly not that far afield of the standard F56 or the F55 five door.
According to sources, the rear will feature a large MINI logo as the door handles for the boot. The handle will split when opened creating a trick looking logo that will be hard to miss.
Inside the new Clubman things get really interesting. The extra width has allowed MINI designers to take a fresh look at the interior add a few features not found in the F56. To start with the dashboard is completely different than the F56 and features four square air vents rather than square and round combination currently used. The middle console houses different HVAC controls and a toggle design that is recessed more than the F56.
There’s also a real center console that allows for heating and cooling vents to fit between the front seats and aim at the rear passengers. And speaking of those passengers, the extra width allows for a true three person bench seat – decidedly wider than the current Countryman or the upcoming F55 five door hatch.
With the Clubman, MINI will also introduce an option all digital instrument package that replaces the analog dials in front of the driver. While it’s unclear what MINI will offer in the way of features, you can imagine that the options are limitless.
While the F54 will launch with the now expected three and four cylinder engines seen on the F56, there will be a new variation thrown into the mix. As we exclusively reported earlier this year, MINI will debut an all wheel drive plugin hybrid Clubman that should offer incredible efficiency ratings.
At the heart of the new Hybrid Clubman will be the 1.5L three cylinder lifted from the F56 Cooper and powering the front wheels. Integrated into that will be a plug-in hybrid system (likely derived from the BMW i8) powering the rear wheels only. The beauty of that arrangement is the torque (which is abundant in electric motors) won’t overwhelm the front tires and instead will provide additional power in the most effective way – to the rear. Not only will power and torque be better distributed, but it will also allow for better weight distribution across the entire car.
The synchronous electric motor will likely have an electric-only range of around 15-20 miles. Obviously this would be ideal for urban environments.
The system that BMW has shown in concept form (and has been testing for years in R55 Clubman mules) has an output of “over” 140 kW/190 bhp. Doing the math backwards (and assuming MINI won’t detune the 134 hp Cooper 1.5L engine) we can expect the electric engine will have around 60 hp by itself.
Given these numbers (and adding the extra weight of the system) we’d expect 0-60 times in the low 7s. More importantly BMW has said it expects the system to achieve a fuel consumption of less than 2.5 litres per 100 kilometers (94 mpg, 113 mpg imp), with a CO2 emissions level of less than 60 g/km. Granted those figures will be altered for the US based on the EPA’s own measurement but they will still be similarly astounding in production form.
For a full report (and details on the hybrid’s push to pass system) be sure to check out our exclusive courage on the new hybrid Clubman.
With MINI debuting the Convertible in late fall or early winter, we’d expect the Clubman to be shown in early spring sometime either at Geneva, New York or even Shanghai. Production should begin in early June 2015 with the F54 hitting showrooms in Europe that same month and in the US sometime in July.