Autoweek chimes in with their take on the R56. Of course, they loved it, but spent much of the review trying to explain the lack of difference in appearance between the R53 and R56.

>Then there’s the body, also “new.” Quick, look at two Minis side by side, one old and one new, and try to tell them apart. Uh-huh. It’s like the Pepsi Challenge.

>The new car is almost three inches longer in front with a slightly higher hood. This was done to accommodate the new European pedestrian-whacking regulations, which demand that the front ends of all cars have to have upright bulging snouts to more comfortably collect jaywalkers.

They also didn’t seem to mind the Cooper as much as others have.

>The new base Cooper feels just a bit better than before, though the electric steering felt perhaps a little too quick on tight turns. The manual shifter in the Cooper was a little vague at times. The suspension on the base car is set up more for comfort, so it felt a little spongy (should we say “comfort oriented”?) when pushed hard. Tires are 175/65R-15s with an H rating, but 16s are available.

>These complaints are really only very slight degrees of whining. As before, the base car is a good one for those who think the Mini is cute and who don’t take it to track days.

This is also one of the first complaints I’ve seen about the speedo in quite awhile.

>Another vital ingredient in the new Mini’s appeal is its high quality interior. And while the design is new, the cabin retains its unique drama. Our only gripe is the dinner plate-size central speedometer, sized to accommodate the optional navigation screen, but so huge that it overpowers the cabin.

And, finally.

>It would be wrong to end on a sour note, though. The new Mini Cooper improves on the weaknesses of the old car while retaining the character and quality that made it such a success. Another winner from Mini.

[ 2007 MINI Cooper ] Autoweek