It’s here – the MINI so many of you’ve been waiting for. A new MINI Cooper with no plug, no range anxiety and plenty of gasoline in its veins. This is the F66 and it’s the last ever petrol powered MINI Cooper. What’s new, what’s old and how does it stack up to all the MINI Coopers that came before it? Today (finally) we find out.

The F66 MNI Cooper may look all new to the casual observer but as you know if you’ve been reading MotoringFile, it’s not. Why? MINI is putting enormous investment in electrifying the product line-up with the J01 MINI Cooper, J05 MINI Aceman and U25 Countryman (available as both ICE and EV). This enormous investment prompted a decision; completely drop the ICE powered Cooper, spend billions creating a new one or thoroughly rework the current F56 adding performance, technology and a new design inside and out. In the end there was only one choice. The F66 is that answer.

Today we not only get to see the F66 MINI Cooper for the first time. For quite a few markets ordering books are also now open as well. In fact MINI has never had such a tight window between debut and production as the F66 will begin rolling down the line in Oxford England on March 1st. The reason for this is not confirmed but we suspect that MINI would much rather focus attention on its all electric offerings and the new Countryman.

As with the F56, the F66 will spawn two other variants; the five door hatch (F65) and convertible (F67).

F66 MINI Cooper (three door)F65 MINI Cooper (five door)F67 MINI Cooper Convertible
Cooper C 2-door hardtop (F66)Cooper C 4-door hardtop (F65)Cooper C Convertible (F67)
Cooper S 2-door hardtop (F66)Cooper S 4-door hardtop (F65)Cooper S Convertible (F67)
Cooper JCW 2-door hardtop (F66)Cooper JCW Convertible (ICE)

There’s also a revised name to go along with an entirely refreshed car; MINI Cooper C as well as the more familiar MINI Cooper S. What’s the “C” stand for? According to MINI it’s short for “Core”. The “C” and “S” model denotations will apply to all petrol powered MINIs while we’ll see “E” and “SE” on all electric models.

Performance Upgrades for the F66 MINI Cooper C & Cooper S

MINI has upped the ante in terms of power with both models. The F56 Cooper is getting a 14% power upgrade going from 134 hp to 156 hp in the F66 Cooper C. This change takes the C from 0-62 mph (0 to 100 km/h) in 7.7 seconds. The more powerful F66 Cooper S gets a less dramatic 7.4% horsepower boost from 189 to 204 hp but sees a significant torque increase to 221 lb-ft. This gets the new F66 Cooper S to 62 mph in 6.6 seconds (60 in 6.3 seconds). And keep in mind these are both likely a conservative numbers knowing how BMW calculates figures.

ModelF56 CooperF56 Cooper SF66 Cooper CF66 Cooper S
Power134 hp189 hp156 hp 204 hp
Torque162 lb-ft/1480 rpm206 lb-ft/1350 rpm 170 lb-ft/1,480 rpm221 lb-ft
TransmissionManual/DCTManual/DCT7 speed DCT7 speed DCT

The Design of the F66 2025 MINI Cooper

Even though MINI made the decision to heavily revise the F56 rather than to create an entirely new car, there’s almost nothing that the designers left untouched. The exterior design is evolved to match the J01 MINI Cooper with the goal to make them look identical to the casual observer. MINI’s hope is that a potential buyer would be choosing ICE versus EV without styling differences to muddy the waters.

This will extend to almost every aspect of the cars. As you can see the F66 has (almost) identical wheels, mirrors and even lighting (including those controversial taillights). But interestingly no exterior parts are shared between the two cars no matter how similar they look.

The J01 MINI Cooper EV and the F66 MIMI Cooper (ICE)

MINI designers have applied the minimal design language we’ve seen on the J01 MINI Cooper by eliminating all non-functional vents, scoops and design elements.

The result is that the F66 has a clean and minimal aesthetic that at first glance looks refreshing. But more on our first hands-on impressions later. This is a car that is subtly new in almost every way. MINI has gone beyond just revising the bumpers, wheels and lights and have a completely new hood (with no faux hood scoop) and a rear hatch that’s been reshaped requiring an all new rear fender shape. So extensive are the changes that the only exterior piece of the F66 that’s identical to the F56 are the doors.

The F56 vs the F66 – subtle differences abound

The F56 vs the F66 The Surprising Differences

While the F66 is based on the F56, the dimensions aren’t identical likely due to styling and even an few engineering changes. For instance the F56 has a length of 3863mm vs 3876mm for the new F66. The reason is the revised front and rear bumper design. But more interesting is the height change. The F56 is 1414mm vs the F66 which is higher at 1432mm. This is due to MINI increasing the standard wheel size of the Cooper from 15? to 16? wheels while increasing the tire size slightly as well.

But most interesting is the width change. The F56 Cooper has a width of 1727 mm vs the F66 which is wider at 1744mm (both without mirrors). That 17mm difference may not sound like much but BMW and MINI don’t typically increase the width of a car solely because of aesthetics. This change is due to wider wheels and tires (205mm to 215mm) that allow for a more concave wheel design on the Cooper S and JCW (which we’ll see later this year).

ModelF56 CooperF56 Cooper SF66 Cooper CF66 Cooper S
Length (mm/in)3863mm / 152.1 in3863mm / 152.1 in3876mm / 152.6 in3876mm / 152.6 in
Height (mm/in)1414mm / 55.66 in1414mm / 55.66 in1432mm / 56.4 in1432mm / 56.4 in
Wheelbase (mm/in)2495mm / 98.23 in2495mm / 98.23 in2495mm / 98.23 in2495mm / 98.23 in
Curb weight (kg/lbs)1256kg / 2,769 lbs1289kg / 2,841 lbs1260kg / 2,778 lbs1285kg / 2,832 lbs

Then there are the small styling tweaks that aren’t obvious at first. The headlight placement looks identical at first glance. But in person you can see how MINI has moved the lights very slightly forward and made them slightly more upright. This works in conjunction with the new hood and simpler face of the car to create a more upright silhouette.

Headlight may look identical but it’s actually subtle different to work with the overall design of the car.

A Small Weight Change

One of the biggest critiques of modern MINI is that they appear to be getting larger and heavier with every generation. That’s actually not historically true. The R50 (manual) had a DIN weight of 2,535 lbs which then decreased to 2,513 with the R56 Cooper (manual). While that weight finally did go up with the noticeably larger F56, it wasn’t as much as most assumed. The F56’s DIN weight is 2,701 lbs in manual form and 2,756 with the DCT. Given that the F66 will only be available with the DCT, let’s compare those two numbers.

The F56 Cooper DCT weights in at 2,756 lbs. The new F66 Cooper DCT has a curb weight of 2,778 lbs, a 22 lbs difference. Given the added emissions and safety additions (and not to mention the new tech), a 22 lbs increase feels like a win in a world of 6,000 SUVs.

The Interior of the F66 MINI Cooper

While the exterior changes on the F66 may be surprising given its F56 origins, the interior is downright shocking. MINI has turned the F56 into a completely new car with all the design language, materials and technology found in the J01 MINI Cooper.

there’s a big environmental impact due to the production of leather in the quantities that companies like MINI need. So much so that MINI has made the bold decision to eliminate leather from its coming starting with the all new J01 MINI Cooper electric

What’s wrong with leather? It’s complicated. While the leather industry is vocal about its use as a smart byproduct of livestock farming, there’s some serious concerns around its production and amount of impact it has on the environment. Converting animal skin to leather demands vast energy and involves hazardous chemicals like mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, oils, dyes, some cyanide-based finishes. Suffice to say it’s not the most natural and environmentally safe process. It’s also not inline with MINI’s brand image of being environmentally conscious and animal friendly. But how do you replace something as iconic as leather seats?

BMW and MINI are so confident in products like Vescin (BMW’s version I called Sensafin – an improved version of Sensatec) they they’re already being used in several cars with MSRPs well over $100,000.

What’s it like in person? Getting into the new F66 MINI Cooper, it’s clear that Vescin is a step-up from what we’ve known as Leatherette. The off-white perforated seats in the F66 MINI Cooper we experienced were softer to the touch than leatherette and felt much more supple. But how do they compare with leather? In short very well. Compared with the standard Chesterfield or Cross Punch leather seating, Vescin feels softer and more premium. It’s not on par with the feel and softness of MINI’s Lounge Leather but then again that’s $2500 option on the Signature Trim.

The physical controls in the new F66 are relegated to this strip below the circular display.

The MINI Cooper Manual Is Eliminated

As the F56 production ended over 50% of JCW hardtops sold in the US were equipped with the manual transmission. So this change is a big one for some markets and certain models. But the economic realities of complying with European legislation have forced MINI’s hand which means the F66 will have only one transmission across the line-up. That transmission is the familiar dual clutch 7 speed with some small refinements. Let’s hope that adds up to quick shift times.

The move to replace the manual is all about the costs associated with meeting European emissions standards. While North America doesn’t have the same requirements, the case couldn’t be made due to investment required vs the expected sales. Even with a 50% take rate on the JCW for instance, that quantity can’t pay of the costs associated with further developing and/or maintaining the option.

Making this change even more dramatic is MINI’s new dash mounted gear selector. Designers have replaced the center console mounted gear lever with a small dash mounted toggle. The rational is logical as the design simplifies the process of selecting park, reverse or drive while freeing up interior space for storage, screens or other functionality. More importantly MINI still offers wheel mounted paddles for manual control of the DCT. Read our first impressions of this new shift lever here.

The Hidden Exhaust of the F66 MINI Cooper C & Cooper S

MINI Designers have also hidden one important functional aspect of the F66 that would have differentiated from the electric J01 – the exhaust outlet. We can confirm the exhaust on the Cooper us is a single pipe tucked under the left side of the rear bumper, bent down, ending flush so it’s impossible to see without looking underneath.

The idea of the MINI Cooper and Cooper S having hidden exhausts actually has some historical precedent. European automakers had a similar design solution years ago when they hid exhaust outlets on many of its V8 models in the late 90s and early 00s. It was a time that customers wanted performance models to have a more discrete look due to concerns of being too aggressive. The larger, most luxurious Audis, Mercedes and BMWs all did this at one point or another. 

Look for the new F66 MINI Cooper JCW to offer a different solution however.

The F66 MINI Cooper JCW is coming later this year

The F66 2025 MINI Cooper Model Range 

Produced in Oxford, the F66 will take over as the F56 ends production in February of 2024. That means we’ll see the first F66 MINI Coopers roll off the line next March as the plant begins it’s pivots into a new generation of MINIs.

The F66 MINI Cooper FamilyDrivetrainStart of Production
F66 MINI Cooper155 HP (Petrol)03/2024
F66 MINI Cooper S200 HP (Petrol)03/2024
F66 MINI Cooper JCW231 HP (Petrol)11/2024
F65 MINI Cooper 5 Door155 HP (Petrol)07/2024
F65 MINI Cooper S 5 Door200 HP (Petrol)07/2024
F67 MINI Cooper Convertible155 HP (Petrol)11/2024
F67 MINI Cooper S Convertible200 HP (Petrol)11/2024 
F67 MINI Cooper JCW Convertible231 HP (Petrol)03/2025*
* unconfirmed

As you can see above the changeover will happen in three phases. The first is the iconic two door Cooper which is be available at launch in Cooper and Cooper S models (the Cooper C Comes to the US in the fall). Next will be the five door F65 MINI Cooper launch in both Cooper and Cooper S models. Finally the brand will launch its last F66 variant, the F67 convertible in Cooper and Cooper S models. We believe the JCW F67 will either launch simultaneously or follow in March of 2025.

The highly anticipated F66 MINI Cooper JCW will likely launch this fall and begin production in November.

Head over to our first hands-on experience with the all new F66 MINI Cooper if you want to hear our initial impressions. And make sure to let us know what you think of MINI’s last ever ICE powered Cooper in the comments.