MINI has gone to great lengths to make the all new J01 and F66 electric and petrol MINI Coopers appear identical – despite being completely different vehicles. But the more you look inside, the more you find some important and interesting differences.

Unlikely Similarities of the F66 MINI Cooper & U25 Countryman

The U25 Countryman’s center stack and console is very close to the F66 in overall design.

It’s amazing that MINI has been able to create such a similar look given that the J01 and F66 MINI Coopers are based on entirely different platforms. The J01 is an EV platform that’s been co-developed by Spotlight Automotive. On the other hands, the F66 rides on an older, internal combustion platform that secretly has much more in common with the new U25 MINI Countryman.

How is that possible? Underneath the skin, the new U25 Countryman rides on an upgraded chassis based on the UKL platform (now called the FAAR) that has underpinned all MINIs since the mid 2010s. Because the F66 is a heavily revised version of the F56, itself based on the UKL, there are some technical commonalities. It’s because of this that we see shared components between the F66 and U25 like seats and a similar layout in the center stack.

The J01 on the left has a very different layout than the F66 on the right due to different interior dimensions.

The J01 & the F66 MINI Cooper – The Interior Differences

Dictated by different interior dimensions, MINI had to make some concessions with the interior in a couple areas on the J01. Because of the seats being slightly larger and place being subtly different, MINI had to use a small (but usable) armrest attached directly to the driver’s seat and tandem cupholder layout. On the other hand the F66 has more room to work with and a more traditional horizontal cupholder layout with a traditional armrest.

The F66 MINI Cooper’s angled inductive phone charger is also similar to the Countryman’s in design where the J01 has a more slim, lay-flat layout.

Another difference are the seats. While the Countryman and the F66 Cooper’s two different seats are identical (due to the similar underpinnings) the J01 introduces two entirely new seats. Yes they look identical but they are in fact dimensionally different due to the all new chassis. Eventually the J05 Aceman will share them but they will not be compatible with the F66 or U25.

The doors cards are also quite a bit different in design. Here MINI designers had to work with the existing mechanical and crash structure of the UKL platform on the F66. The result is a layout that’s roughly similar to what we’ve seen in the F56.

With the J01, MINI designers were able to completely rethink the door card design. Note the lower door latch and higher armrest. In our time with both cars can see why MINI has done this as it’s a bit more intuitive placement.

Where you grab the door to pull is roughly the same but the J01 introduces a new area that allows for another option to pull the door closed. Again the experience feels a bit more intuitive and ultimately easier to use – at least initially.

You’ll also note that the J01 above has the optional H/K audio system’s extra speaker on the door while the F66 (like the F56) places it on the a-pillar. Again that’s due to the existing design of the wiring harness coming from the F56 that has mandated this layout on the F66. We have yet to test the two systems back to back so we’re not sure if there’s necessarily a difference in sound.

There’s a lot more here – the vent layout, the dash shape and more. But what do you see? What changes do you like/not like? And what questions do you have? Let us know in the comments.