MF Review: 800 Miles in Seven Days with the F56 MINI Cooper
We’ve reviewed the manual F56 Cooper previously but never have had a chance to live with it and experience it so thoroughly. Does it hold up?
Here are some of our notes over the course of the last seven days of driving the wheels off of it:
- This is a great place to spend time. 500 miles in three days felt easy with great seats, excellent visibility and much of the harshness dialed out with more feedback dialed in.
- The light clutch is something you quickly get used to. The feel is still there but just not as pronounced as before
- This is not an MCS. For those who might have expected to move from the R53 MCS to this car, you will be disappointed with the stock suspension settings (although I quite like the ride/vs body roll) and the throttle mapping – even in sport. Furthermore this is an engine that doesn’t build to a frenetic crescendo but produces refined and throaty roar up to redline. Never have I driven a car that I wanted to throw a proper free-flow exhaust onto more.
- While it does’t feel as quick as the original R53 Cooper S, it’s not far behind it. You can easily lose traction in both 1st and 2nd gear from a dead stop.
- The sound is addicting. The F56 Cooper rooaaarrrs. That gives the car (finally) a very unique character over the MCS and one that will gain many fans in the years to come.
- It’s worth saying it again, the sport seats are surpurb. I’ve put almost 600 miles on this car so far and have zero complaints. At 6′ 2″ that is something.
- MPG was as impressive as expected. I routinely averaged 44 mpg cruising at 70 mph. Overall our Cooper averaged just under 38 mpg with plenty of mixed driving.
Our car was nicely equipped with about every option you would want if you were buying a MINI for an urban environment. Almost every key option except HUD, LED lights and sport/adaptive suspension. Truth be told I could do without them in an effort to keep the price below $30k and the car just a tad simpler. Speaking of options here are a few thoughts on what we did have:
- The new XL Navigation is excellent. It’s finally got the latest iDrive software design which puts it on parity with all new BMW’s (finally).
- The ability for music to seamlessly move from USB to Bluetooth (when you unplug your phone) is a great addition. Just make sure you tick the Enhanced Bluetooth box.
- Using the iDrive with the armrest took some getting use to given the fact I’m rather tall. You either have to move it into the lower position or move it up and out of the way entirely. And even then I constantly bumped my elbow. Otherwise the design of the armrest is pretty interesting with it’s heat dissipating design intended to keep your charging smartphone from getting too hot in the confined compartment.
- I have to admit something. I’ve never personally liked or considering Chili Red. However Blazing red I love. I regret not choosing it for our long term F56 MCS test car coming later this summer.
- The Leatherette is good in the F56 but the Black Pearl (leatherette and recycled wool) is well worth the $750.
- The 17″ wheel/tire combo is much less harsh than previous size run flats on the R56 or R53. Curious to know what 18s will be like in our long-termer.
- The sunshades now block the sun. Arizona MINI fans – rejoice.
In short I came away more impressed with the Cooper after spending some quality time behind the wheel. The character that was evident in our first drive last winter came out in spades as the miles clicked by. And ownership value prop has gone up dramatically. Not only is the new Cooper more engaging than the R56 Cooper but it’s offers more technology, comfort and performance by a wide margin.
We’ll have much more on the F56 MINI as we take delivery of another version late this week. And finally in about a month we should be welcoming into the MF family our very own Cooper S long-termer.
Written By: Gabe
Sort by MINI model
- International Mini Meet to Take Place in Lithuania This Weekend
- MF Garage: Summer Tires for Our 2015 Cooper S
- Exclusive: MINI USA’s 2016 Product Updates Include Some Major Surprises
- The MINI JCW In Detail
- Chris Bangle on The Future of Car Design
- What Would You Change About the 2015 MINI JCW?
- 2015 MINI John Cooper Works Reviews Galore
- Official 2015 MINI JCW Mega Gallery
- Official 2015 MINI JCW Videos
- MINI Countryman Dakar Wallpaper
MotoringFile on Instagram
- BMW Unveils the Special Edition BMW 435i ZHP Coupe
- BMW Announces New ConnectedDrive Portal and ConnectedDrive Store
- The 2016 BMW M4 GTS is Coming to the US!
- A Sneak Peak at the Future of BMW Motorsport: The M6 GT3
- BMW Updates the M6 Competition Package with 600HP (w/Gallery)
- BMW Lands on the Podium at the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring
- BMW Prepares for the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring
- BMW Group Classic’s Take on the 2015 Mille Miglia
- This is Our First Look at the BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage
- US Spec 2016 M3 Changes (LCI)
- Ask SF: What’s a Good Small Motorcycle for a Scooterist?
- Custom: The Hunter’s Honda Ruckus
- Review: 2015 Vespa GTS 300 Super ABS
- The EcoReco: We Want Your Questions
- Video: Four Friends, Three Vintage Vespas, One Epic Adventure
- Vespa Updates the GTV, Adds ABS and ASR
- Recommended Scooters from Just Gotta Scoot
- Kickstart This: Sit Stay Ride 2 – Sidecar Dogs Return
- Police in Barcelona Adopt Fleet of BMW C Evolution Electric Scooters
- New Illinois Law Could Require Motorcycle Awareness Training in Driver’s Ed
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