The next MINI, dubbed F56, will be unveiled this year, either at the Geneva Motor Show next month or in September at Frankfurt Auto Show. The F56 MINI is built on a new front-wheel drive platform which will be shared between the MINI and the FWD BMW vehicles. The first FWD BMW made its debut in concept form in September at the Paris Auto Show.
Several prototypes are currently undergoing intensive testing and the latest spy photos place them in the snowy Nordic part of Europe.
Under the design direction of MINI’s new head of design, Anders Warming, the F56 will compete with offerings from Audi, the A1 and other non-premium European brands. Design wise, the proportions of the F56 are similar to its predecessor, R56. Some design elements like the headlights and taillights will go through some changes, but will not steer away from the DNA of the British brand.
Inside, the large central speedometer will be replaced by a more conventional speedometer placed behind the steering wheel. Other interior changes are bringing the classy interior design of the MINI inline with more premium products.
Along with a new and fresh design, BMW will also introduce a new family of three-cylinder engines for the MINI. We expect to see an entry-level MINI One and MINI Cooper with power rated just under 100, respectively 130 horsepower. The more powerful models Cooper S and John Cooper Works will continue to use four combustion chambers, but each should provide a little more power than the current generation R56.
The new front-wheel drive platform is well suited for all-wheel drive vehicles, but it remains to be seen if MINI decides to give their sporty and small vehicles four driven wheels.