[Updated with larger photos after the click!] MINI has been dropping hints about the interior in the R56 for several months now. Today we take a look at the progression of the interior from it’s earliest stages to the most recent test mules.

In early March MotoringFile showed a very early model of the new interior.

Later that same month a clear image of a somewhat more refined design model became available. In retrospect, this model is turning out to be a more accurate prediction of the R56 interior than even the concepts shown later in the year. It features such utilitarian items as the correct number of air vents, windshield defroster vents on the outside corners of the dash, cup holders, and a glove box.

Then in September the Frankfurt and Tokyo Concepts made their debuts. The concept interiors were remarkably close to the design model photos from earlier in the year with a few noticeable omissions – cup holders, the pillars along the central stack, the glovebox, and the air vents near the speedometer.

In these next two photos we can see how MINI is experimenting with both a two spoke and a three spoke variant of essentially the same steering wheel.

Another feature that disappeared from the design model interiors for the concept interiors was the MINI “wings” logo from just above the lower bank of toggle switches.

The latest interior photos we have come by way of Edmunds and AutoBild, and show an interior much closer to production. Some of the features that were omitted from the design models for the concept interiors are now clearly back in place – the air vents near the speedometer, the defroster vents at the base of the A-pillars, the MINI wings logo in the central stack, and the horizontal information bar embedded in the speedometer.

Anthracite Interior fans apparently have something to look forward to with the R56 – Anthracite Turn Signal and Wiper Stalks!

While these latest photos do provide quite a bit of confirmation in terms of which elements of the concept interior will make it into production, one feature not shown is the area below the central stack. Because of this, it’s unclear if the “floating” central stack will make it into production without the pillars currently featured on the R50 and R53. That said, given how closely the rest of the interior is coming into line with the design study interiors featured at the very top of this article, it is probably a safe bet that the R56 will have pillars when the final production interior is revealed.


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