The first and third sketches are courtesy of Autoexpress and are just here to illustrate a few ideas in the story below. They are rough and shouldn’t be taken as anything other than sketches from an outside source.

BMW Insider Herr26 on several websites as well on MF with his insight into the upcoming 3rd generation MINI. Code-named the F56, the next MINI will debut at MINI United 2012 (one of the reasons it was post-poned as we previously reported) and then at the Paris Mondial l’automobile in October of next fall.

We’ve reported previously on the F56 sharing a chassis and engine range with the upcoming front wheel drive BMW. In fact the two cars will be virtually the same technically with only the visual design (inside and out) and the software disguising the two. At launch engines will range from a 1.5 three cylinders to (if sources are to believed) an updated version of the 1.6L four cylinder.

But what will it look like? That’s the big question that has been on the minds of many of our readers. And that’s where Herr26’s recent comment on MF can shed some light:

>I recently came up close and personal with the car which showed some devious changes hidden under the camouflage which I will go into.

>There was a MINI Cooper S (F56) Prototype @ Garching today , here for a quick runabout by the M chassis engineers as it so happens. It was also a chance to get a closer look at the car to what is being hidden underneath it’s camouflage and there is a lot being hidden.

>For example the roof of the car is fake and is using the roof from the current car. The clue is and is evident on the photographs of the scooped prototype. Is the A-Pillar you can see the space in between the roof and pillar.

>The roof also carries on the new MINI motiff such as on the Coupe and Countryman with the step just at the C-pillar. The exposed metal and glass is disguised by the camouflage. The C-Pillar hides something else that it wraps around the rear of the car more snuggly with a larger hatch opening. The outlines on the bootlid are false.

>At the front of the car the hood covering is actually a moulded piece of vacumned plastic which covers up the more raked back front end , The bumper is also fake covering up the lower part of the MINI signature grille. which becomes larger for a more signature identity.

>For the first time in a MINI and to give the impression of it being “all grown up” there is now creases on the body. Although the rendering is not exact to the forthcoming car. It shows some ideas that are evident on the scoop photographs.

>AutoExpress have produced a rendering of the new car whilst I would agree with the front of the car with it’s more prominent nose and the inclusion of a nose cone taking away the typical MINI Clamshell bonnet in favour of a more compact clamshell hoodline.

>One thing being debated is the inclusion of a scoop for the MINI Cooper S. Given in the R56 the scoop is virtually redundant, but considered a characteristic styling element of the Cooper S , some proposals equal to a hood bulge in the centre or BMW-M like bonnet vents.

>The front lights are almost exact to the placement and shape of the car – They are further melted in the front wings for a more raked back , sportier appearance and helps idenitfiy the car’s MINI-ness. Illuminated rings around the main headlight unit is carried over from the MINI Rocketman Concept car.

>MINI also gets creases for the first time which can be seen on scoop photographs especially around the a-pillar , front wing side repeater.

>This rear however was one such possibility by reversing the MINI typical shape and lay it across the bootlid surrounded by a MINI badge like the Paceman. This decision has been reversed in favor of a more typical MINI appearance. The hatch for example is now wider and wraps around the C-Pillar .

>The interior although using a BMW dashboard agains strikes the evolutionary balance with a typical MINI centre speedometer. Given the more sportier appearance of the overall look of MINI Gen 3. The interior especially the dasg gets a more raked back look instead of the classic upright look.
The centre speedometer remains but becomes more function than form.
The car’s communication technology gets the addition of a MINI trackball previewed on the Rocketman placed on the console and steering wheel.

>MINI has always been about “make it your own” and whilst a high level of personalisation will continue. The next car will also allow a personalisation theme of using light. Something similiar in today’s MINI’s but will extend to key areas of the car such as around the speedometer and dash.

>As Norbert Reithofer announced at the UK 500 Million Pound investment. The next MINI family will spawn up to 10 MINI’s.

>The MINI City Car that will come from the looks of the Rocketman Concept whilst the genetics have to change to become production viable and cost effective for production. Will be a seperate MINI model.

There you have it directly from the source. While we can corroborate quite a lot of this but, there are parts that frankly are new to us and un-confirmed. So until we things get closer to production treat much of what you read above as a very strong rumor. And for further reading on the new car, check MotoringFile’s F56 section.

First and third images courtesy of Autoexpress