Almost a year ago we reported that MINI was busy finalizing plans to launch an unprecedented 2nd facelift for its core small car range (the F56 family including the F55 four door and F57 convertible). Why the 2nd facelift (or LCI in BMW-speak)? Let’s dissect.
With BMW delaying the launch of the 4th generation “new” MINI to 2023, MINI needs to keep the F56 fresh. The originally planned LCI came and went in 2019 with only light changes. So light that we immediately wondered if it was a cost cutting move or something else was brewing. After reaching out to sources we learned that MINI was likely going to apply a second, more style oriented LCI later in the life-cycle of the car.
We now know what they did was take the styling elements that were planned for the first LCI, add a few things and create a second refresh.
The 2021 MINI Cooper Facelift
Here it is in all its glory. What do these photos actually tell us? Not a ton on the surface but luckily our sources have helped us decode them.
That grille. It’s becoming much more cohesive and yes larger than before. In fact our sources tell us that it’s simply a smaller version of the Clubman’s new 2020 front-end. You can clearly see the resemblance in form in this photo of several 2021 F56 mingled with a refreshed 2020 Clubman.
It all makes sense given Oliver Heilmer’s focus on simplifying the form language of the brand over the last few years.
The Chin is Dead
The original plan was the kill it in 2019 with the first LCI. Or so we’ve been told. But now with the 2021 LCI MINI is finally eliminating awkward, rectangular chine on the Cooper S and JCW models. In its place is a more refined looking series of air intakes that serve aero, engine cooling and as brake ducts. You can see it in camouflaged JCW form here.
RIP chin. We won’t miss you.
The rear is all about simple lines and a functionally driven aesthetic. Those last words are music to our ears as we’ve grown tired of the overly dramatic rear valance on the Cooper S and JCW models. In its place are simple lines and a refined rear fog light design. You can see the Cooper S and JCW version here if you can get past the camouflage.
Timeline and Launch Dates
Our sources are rather vague on this last point but we have an idea. Given that the next generation small MINI is scheduled for a late 2022/early 2023 introduction we would expect to see BMW plan for this last LCI to be in the market for almost 18-24 months. That would mean a spring 2021 debut for the 2nd MINI Cooper facelift.
You can see the entire suite of photos at Carscoops.