The F56 MINI Cooper has had a good run. Introduced in early 2014, it was originally intended to be out of production by 2021. However a massive shift in EV strategy meant the brand would need to be predominantly focused on developing electric MINIs; the J01 electric Cooper, J05 electric Aceman and the ICE and electric U25 Countryman. Subsequently MINI made the call to extend the F56 production lifecycle from 7 to an unheard of (in the BMW world) 10 years. However that decade of production is finally ending and along with it an era.
First some background on why there are not one but two new MINI Coopers. Because the world (and our charging infrastructure) isn’t quite ready for EVs, they are splitting the core model – the Cooper – into two distinct products. In an unprecedented move there will be two next generation MINI Coopers (hatches) built on opposite ends of the planet on two different platforms. The J01 electric MINI Cooper is an all new design from the ground up and will be built both in China and Oxford UK. The F66 (built in the UK) is a heavily modified F56 with all of the J01’s technology and new interior and exterior design touches applied.
All of this means that MINI is finally ready to kill the F56. And sooner than some of you might expect.
The F56 will end production in March of 2024. Along with it a handful of options like the beloved manual transmission will also cease production (although we hope to see it back in the US eventually). This means that orders would need to be placed likely in January for the last batch of F56 production. Here’s the full production schedule as our sources are reporting.
The F56 End of Production Schedule
|F56 MINI Cooper (ICE) / Oxford, England||End of Production|
|F66 ICE Cooper 3 door||03/2024|
|F66 ICE Cooper S 3 door||03/2024|
|F66 ICE Cooper JCW 3 door||03/2024|
|F65 ICE Cooper 5 door||03/2024|
|F65 ICE Cooper S 5 door||03/2024|
|F67 ICE Cooper Convertible||07/2024|
|F67 ICE Cooper S Convertible||07/2024|
|F67 ICE JCW Convertible||07/2024|
the F66 MINI Cooper – A Worthy Successor to The F56?
On paper there isn’t a massive difference between the F56 and its mechanically identical successor the F66. But the differences are in details. And as it turns out, the details are pretty important.
As you can tell by its codename, the F66 is an evolution of the F56 which it shares a chassis with. However MINI is refreshing the exterior design to better match the all new J01 electric MINI Cooper. Outside these changes will be evident in the revised lights front and rear and even a slightly shortened front overhang. The key theme appears to be creating design consistency with the future of the brand – the all electric J01 MINI Cooper. The goal is clearly to unify the design language across all models allowing consumers to have a choice that feels strictly about the propulsion system and nothing else.
What that means for the F66 remains to be seen but you can be sure that the MINI Design team will follow the form follows function design ethos we’ve seen in the leaked J01 Cooper SE and U25 Countryman S. In other words the F66 will likely become a bit more minimal in design while allow the needed function or engine and brake cooling to drive its exterior design of the higher performance models like JCW.
Power for the F66 will be very slightly evolved from the F56 on the Cooper and Cooper S. However it would appears that the JCW might be stuck at the 231 hp figure the F56 has been at since 2015.
|F66 ICE MINI Models||Engine Code||Horsepower|
|F66 MINI Cooper||TBD||155 hp|
|F66 MINI Cooper S||TBD||200 hp|
|F66 JCW MINI Cooper||TBD||231 hp (unconfirmed)|
On the tech front MINI will be radically updating the F56 with much improved ADAS systems allowing for higher levels of autonomous driving similar to the L2 systems found in modern BMWs. Also new will be a massive OLED center display that will house almost all controls of the car.
The F66 Start of Production Schedule
The flip will happy quickly as MINI will begin early production for the F66 in March of 2024 for the most markets. The US will see production begin in July of 2024 for the Cooper and the JCW will follow that late in 2024. Finally we’ll see the F67 convertible debut in late 2024 and early 2025.
|F66 MINI Cooper (ICE) / Oxford, England||Start of Production|
|F66 ICE Cooper 3 door||03/2024 (07/24 – US)|
|F66 ICE Cooper S 3 door||03/2024|
|F66 ICE Cooper JCW 3 door||11/2024|
|F65 ICE Cooper 5 door||07/2024 (11/24 – US)|
|F65 ICE Cooper S 5 door||07/2024|
|F67 ICE Cooper Convertible||11/2024|
|F67 ICE Cooper S Convertible||11/2024|
|F67 ICE JCW Convertible||TBD|