Nov 6th, 2013
Throughout 2013 we’ve been talking a lot about the F56 – the next generation MINI hatch. And while we’ve reported on other variants we’ve never put the full picture together in terms of what models we’ll see and when we’ll see them. Today we’re doing just that. After the break is a full run-down of MINI’s release schedule for it’s next generation F5X models (excluding any Countryman related models). continued →
Sep 30th, 2013
What automatic will MINI use in the F56? That’s the question I asked MINI USA Head of Product Pat McKenna last week when MINI USA brought MotoringFile to its US Headquarters to discuss the F56′s technology. The response was unexpected; the current 6 Speed Aisin automatic. The immediate follow-up was, why would MINI stick with the six speed when competitors are moving to 8 and 9 speed quick-shifting automatics?
The answer was straightforwart. According to Mr. McKenna, MINI is happy with the performance of the Aisin unit for the time being. With some mechanical revisions and totally revamped software, MINI believes the updated transmission will keep pace with the industry – including the VW GTI’s six speed DSG (which is a DTC or dual clutch transmission). continued →
Sep 29th, 2013
Last week MINI USA invited MotoringFile to its New Jersey headquarters to discuss the highly-anticipated 2014 F56 MINI, and specifically, the new family of engines powering the car. MINI has grand plans for the F56 and the entire family of MINIs it will spawn. At the heart of all of it is this new range of petrol and diesel power plants. For the US that range will comprise of two engines at launch: a 1.5L three cylinder and a 2.0L four cylinder. The new range represents significant departures for MINI in both cylinder count and size. But before we dive into the details, lets talk about why these engines are so important for MINI and parent company BMW.
Sep 29th, 2013
MotoringFile has just returned from a F56 product briefing wherein MINI revealed some key facts about the highly anticipated F56. But before we go into detail about the big picture technology under the hood, we thought we’d talk about some of the more long-awaited details first.
- Cooper: 134 bhp (up from 121)
- Cooper S: 189 bhp (up from 184)
- Cooper: 162 ft lb (a 30% increase, up from 114)
- Cooper S: 207 ft lb (up from 191)
Sep 5th, 2013
According to Automotive News Europe and “sources” BMW will let the current agreement to produce the “Prince” family of engines lapse in 2016. While this isn’t a surprise (we’ve known for many years that BMW intended to go it alone for 3 and 4 cylinder engine production) this is the first time we’ve seen a semi official mention of it. The Prince has had an up and down life (that we’ll go into more in-depth later) but can be considered a success for both BMW and PSA in terms of performance, efficiency and number produced.
So what will replace the venerable Prince engine range? Late this year BMW will be introducing the B38 and B48 series of three and four cylinder engines destined for all front wheel drive MINIs and BMWs. The engines will be more powerful, burn less fuel and weigh less than their predecessor.
The timing of Prince production ending in 2016 makes a lot of sense for MINI. The last of the R56 based models will be at the end of their life by then and BMW will be gearing up to release an updated version of the B37 and B48. But it’s the details of the engine range that are so interesting. continued →
Jul 25th, 2013
A few weeks ago MINI’s carefully planned launch for the 3rd generation MINI (aka the F56) was rudely taken off script. Over 25 photos were taken of the F56 in various states of undress during a marketing photoshoot. And the reaction to what was seen wasn’t good. Due to the angle, lighting and the fact that the photos we’re taken using extremely long zoom lenses from far away the F56 did not come out looking good.
From what we know of the car the photos didn’t do the overall shape and design justice. And apparently MINI agreed immediately releasing a rather cheeky PR response. But today MINI is giving us much more on not just the new F56 MINI but the entire future of MINI design. Make no mistake this is a concept car. But the overall shape and many of the design features here are lightly disguised versions of what we’ll see on the F56.
With Anders Warming now fully leading the design team there’s never been a better time to take a step back and look at the future of the brand. From what we see here and what we know, it looks pretty bright to us. But we’ll let you be the ultimate judge after seeing the gallery, reading the interview and watching video after the break. continued →
May 31st, 2013
And the shift knob for all MINIs for the next 7-10 years. Discuss.