For MINI fans the product code that defines each vehicle internally has become not just an identifier but a rallying cry. Whether you’re an R53 or F57 fan, those three letters matter. Which is why MINI’s next generation product codes are so interesting. They are massive departures and reveal big change ahead for the brand.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the prefix letter isn’t consistent. For this next generation of MINI products there will actually be three families of products. Why the change? Starting in early 2024, MINI will be releasing a new generation of cars and crossovers with a focus on all electrification. Made in the UK, a revised F56 (F66) with internal combustion (ICE) is sticking around for another ten years (as is the manual transmission) but the focus for MINI is on electrification across the line-up. This will start with an all new J01 electric MINI Cooper which will be made in China and will pack much more range and performance in a smaller package than the current car. That will immediately followed by both the all electric and ICE U25 Countryman (made in Germany).
4Th Generation MINI Model Line-Up (2024)
|F66 / Oxford, England||U25 / Leipzig, Germany||J01 / China (GWM)|
|F66 ICE Cooper 3 door||U25 ICE Countryman||J01 EV Cooper 3 Door|
|F66 ICE Cooper S 3 door||U25 ICE Countryman S||J01 EV Cooper S 3 Door|
|F66 ICE Cooper JCW 3 door||U25 ICE Countryman JCW||J01 EV Cooper JCW 3 Door|
|F65 ICE Cooper 5 door||U25 EV Countryman||J05 EV Aceman|
|F65 ICE Cooper S 5 door||U25 EV Countryman S||J05 EV Aceman S|
|F67 ICE Cooper Convertible||U25 EV Countryman JCW*||J05 EV Aceman JCW*|
|F67 ICE Cooper S Convertible||–||–|
|F67 ICE JCW Convertible||–||–|
The J01 Electric MINIs
The all new 2024 electric MINI will be the brand’s first electric vehicle on a dedicated electric platform. Unlike the current MINI Cooper SE which was built on an existing ICE chassis, this new electric MINI will be designed from the ground up to be an electric car which will allow for much improved performance and range. The J01 will initially be built in China however we believe MINI will eventually transition a version to the UK for production around 2027.
What makes the J01 Cooper such a massive car for MINI is that it’s the brand’s first electric vehicle on a dedicated electric platform. Unlike the current MINI Cooper SE which was built on an existing ICE chassis, this new electric MINI will be designed from the ground up to be an electric car which will allow for much improved performance and range. How improved? While we don’t have the final figures, we have some clues.
The other major step MINI is taking here is with the interior experience. Gone is the retro-futuristic details that have been part of MINIs for two decades. In their place is a clean, minimal aesthetic that harkens back to the original 1959 Mini. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be a massive technology upgrade. L1 and L2 autonomy features and a massive circular screen will be major additions as well a revised heads-up-display eliminating the need for a traditional instrument cluster.
According to sources, the entry level electric MINI Cooper will launch with a 40kWh battery (compared to 28.9kWh in the current Cooper SE) combined with an electric engine producing around 180 hp. That should give the car a range between 180 and 200 miles depending on how it’s measured. That would be a dramatic increase over the current 110 range from the F56 based Cooper SE. And that’s the initial release so there’s surely more to come.
You can read more about the J01 here.
The F66 Generation of MINIs
A revised F56 (to be called the F66) MINI will form the basis of the “new” ICE (internal combustion engine) MINI Cooper and will be built at the Oxford plant. This revised car will be an extensively revised F56 that will affect not just the design of the car but the technology and even structure. The look of the car inside and out will nearly match that of the all-new electric MINI built in China. We say nearly because the footprint of the ICE car will be a bit larger and will still include a longer front overhang due to how ICE drivetrains affect pedestrian safety standards. 100% made in the UK at Oxford, this family will include the three and five door Cooper as well as the convertible.
Recent spy photos of the forthcoming revised F56 give us some clues as to what to expect. For starters MINI looks to have slightly decreased the front over-hang. We’ve heard for years the brand had been toying with new crash materials that could pass pedestrian safety standards with less space needed. We also know that Oliver Heimler has gone as record several times that the current car’s front overhang is too large and not in fitting with the brand.
Also present in recent prototypes is a camera and sensor module integrated into the top of the grille. This should allow the F66 to make use of L1 and perhaps even L2 autonomy features seen on some BMWs. Currently MINI has only one vaguely autonomous feature – adaptive cruise. While helpful it really does one thing – follow the car in front. MINI’s aim is to introduce this technology as an option meant primarily for highway purposes and likely only on automatic equipped MINIs.
But perhaps the most pressing reason for MINI to upgrade the Cooper’s camera system is newly introduced EU safety legislation that goes into affect in 2024. More specifically MINI needs to comply with the European intelligent speed assistance (ISA) requirement that has the ability to limit cars speed in urban environments. Yes you read that right.
The U25 MINI Countryman
The 2024 U25 MINI Countryman will move to exclusively being produced in Leipzig Germany alongside X1 and X2 BMWs. Like those cars it will also grow in size to better serve the US market and make way for the smaller Aceman in the line-up. In total we expect the new Countryman to be about 200 mm (8 inches) larger – specifically in the rear. While MINI chose to modify the UKL chassis to shorten the rear giving the current Countryman slightly more MINI-like proportions, we believe this next generation car will more closely follow it’s BMW twins in overall size but lengthening the rear. This will allow for a full electric version of the Countryman for the first time.
The JCW Countryman will also transition into the age of electrification. Our sources have been telling us for the last several years that the next evolution of the 306 hp tune on the B48 four cylinder would include a hybrid component. While that solution might add a bit of weight, it would allow the JCW Countryman around 50 miles of pure electric drive on a single charge. But MINI is well aware that’s not why you buy a JCW. Delivering increased performance will be a 326 hp ICE engine coupled with an electric engine and all the immediate torque you could ever want.
Yes that is a massive circular screen. And yes it’s identical to what we saw a few months ago on the upcoming 2024 MINI electric hatch. But there’s seemingly one difference here – that massive plastic enclosure that connects the screen to the dash. However we believe that enclosure is actually camouflage and the final design will feature a floating circular display like we you see to the right from the 2024 electric MINI hatch leak.
Beyond the massive screen there’s a lot to take in here. The switches and knobs (which are actually marked) are also identical to what we saw in the electric hatch leak meaning that MINI is moving to a consistent user experience across all models no matter where they’re produced or what platform they’re on. That’s an essential move if MINI wants that digital experience to be a selling point of the brand.
Next Generation MINI Timing
Given the supply chain challenges we can’t be too specific. However we believe we’ll see the J01 Cooper debut in late 2023 potentially with the F66 Cooper. Sales will likely commence in 2024. U25 Countryman will likely debut shortly afterwards with sales beginning in 2024.