The wraps are set to come off the new F56 MINI hatch range on November 18 (Alec Issigonis’ birthday), but if you just can’t wait, here’s a closer look at the Cooper version, courtesy of our European spy photographers. Caught undergoing testing in Germany, the shots show that the Cooper makes do without the Cooper S’ bulging lower intake ‘chin,’ honeycomb grille, twin central tailpipes and bonnet scoop.
Previewed by the MINI Vision Concept and to a certain extent the Rocketman Concept, the new MINI has been spotted on a number of occasions – there’s a new wide-eyed look courtesy of its pupil-like DRL rings within its trademark circular headlamps, a more rounded front grille, a longer front overhang and larger tail lamps. The car looks longer and wider than the current model as well.
Spyshots also reveal that the iconic circular central speedometer is gone; in its place sits the radio display and buttons (likely to hold a screen in some models). In another conformist move for MINI (the first being the relocation of the window switches from the centre stack to the doors), the speedo now sits in its own free-standing pod behind the wheel.
Engines have not been officially confirmed, but there’s talk that the turbocharged B38 1.5 litre three-cylinder we tested in a BMW 1 Series last year could be turned sideways and dropped into the new MINI’s engine bay to drive its front wheels.