Exclusive: MINI USA’s 2016 Product Updates Include Some Major Surprises

Big news from MINI USA. The 2016 model year changes are starting to filter out and we’ve got all the details. Plenty of surprises both good and bad. Read on for the details.

First up the good news: MINI USA has held the line pricing. That means no MSRP increases on any model. A rarity for sure. Overall MINI USA has made 2016 all about streamlining options and option groups to make the process of ordering MINIs easier. Take it from us, this is a good thing. However within that streamlining process MINI USA has killed off some key options we’ve considered must haves for many years. The biggest one of these in our mind is the sport suspension option. While the Dynamic suspension is still available, the take rate of the passive sport suspension was so low that MINI USA apparently couldn’t justify keeping it. However it’s not going away entirely as it will still available available as standard on the JCW furthering the separation between the two models.

Still this is disappointing. Why do we prefer the sport suspension over the variable dampers? For us it allows a more sporting experience that feels right on a MINI. Truthfully we’d call the variable dampers the ultimate choice if they had the ability to match the sport suspension, going from -10% all the way to +30%. But they don’t quite have that range and therefore feel a bit more compromised than we’d want. For those wanting a factory tuned sport suspension on their Cooper or Cooper S, your choice is now either Dynamic dampers or the JCW suspension installed at the dealer or port.

Unfortunately that’s not all that’s been left on the cutting room floor for the 2016 model year. Here’s the full list of changes starting with the F56/F55.

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F56/F55 Changes

  • Sport suspension option discontinued
  • No visual boost, now only Media & Wired Packages.
  • No more Loaded Package only “Fully Loaded”.
  • Sport Package now includes Dynamic Dampers making it more of a legitimate sport option.
  • Auto-dimming exterior mirrors are now packaged with auto-dimming interior mirrors (separate power folding mirrors option has been eliminated)
  • Cold weather package goes back to $750 but now has the power-fold & auto-dimming stuff with it.
  • Cruise control buttons are being remapped
  • Changes to window switches (from chrome to piano black
  • Cooper will now be SULEV with the B36 engine
  • No MINI wings tags on seats

P90144721-F56

F56/F55 Discontinued

In the discontinued options category we have a mix of expected and very surprising. The biggest perhaps is the discontinuation of an option that frankly should be a standard safety feature as it is in the rest of the world: the rear foglight. Yup after an online petition in 2003 brought them to US MINI, 13 years later they’re gone. Here’s what else is out:

  • Satellite gray/truffle cloth/leather seats,
  • Interior surface dark silver & firework, color line shadow gray,
  • 6 disc changer (yes it’s now impossible to play a CD in the F56/F55 MINI
  • Chrome mirror caps (they’re still available as accessories)
  • Smokers pack
  • Rear fog lamp
  • Halogen fogs on Cooper
  • Universal garage door opener w/compass
  • Secret storage compartment (gone due to production complexities of having it available in some parts of the world and not in others)

R60_Countryman_Parklane_58_highRes

R60/R61 Changes

  • MINI Countryman Park Lane edition – $2500 on Cooper & S, $2000 on ALL4 (Oak red roof & highlights on Earl Gray)
  • Earl Gray from the new Park Lane Edition added
  • City, Tech & Loaded packages removed
  • ZFL – Fully Loaded package is new for JCW
  • Sirius goes to $300

R60/R61 Discontinued

  • Light Coffee paint
  • Matte Anthracite Turbo Fan wheels, 17″ black 5-Star wheels, chrome mirror caps,
  • Universal garage door opener w/compass

P90144655-F56

We’re expecting most if not all of these changes to commence with July production. And don’t forget, the Clubman debut is coming in August with production happening in November of this year. Why do we mention this? The move to streamline options is partially due to the Oxford plant producing more vehicles than ever before. And with the introduction of the Clubman (which MINI expects to be a huge hit) is going to further increase the pressure of production.

Nevertheless we can’t quite forgive MINI USA for the loss of several options above. Notably the Sport Suspension which we’ve called the best suspension available from the factory and more importantly the essential safety feature that is the rear foglight.