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As I have mentioned on a few other threads we've at last got our new MINI Cooper in pepper white, with 16" victory spoke wheels, heated seats and heated front screen. So here's my first thoughts and observations and for context, we've previously owned a 1st gen. petrol Cooper, a 2nd gen. petrol Cooper and a 2nd gen Cooper D Clubby.

At the showroom on Monday I had a long and friendly chat with the sales & finance team at Rybrook, Shrewsbury (thanks Jack and Dan) followed by a professional technical handover to demonstrate features & controls as well as highlighting what had changed since my previous model. Then it was time to take her out on the road :)

I cannot fault the way the car performs. The brakes are much more positive than our 2nd. gens... back up to how I remember the 1st gen brakes worked; nice and 'grippy'.

And that 3-cylinder engine.. what a stunner. Furthermore, let's remember here we're talking about a box-fresh engine. Torque-y or what? How will it drive when it's matured a little? Even at low revs in 6th you can tell the car is just waiting, poised for take-off. Please excuse me but I've got to reiterate that this new Cooper, as we know, is only slightly less powerful than the original 1st gen Cooper S. So if anyone in here really wanted an F56 in 'S' form but didn't want to pay for it, DON'T PANIC, KEEP CALM. You'll be fine with the straight Cooper engine. It's a beaut. Totally.

Flick the Sport ring to the left and there's a noticeable change in how it responds to a blip on the throttle. We had sport mode on our 2nd gen. petrol Cooper. That did a similar same thing but it was quite subtle I thought. However, sport mode on the F56 is far more obvious. As we know, sport mode doesn't change anything really important (except maybe the steering weighting) but the way the car wants to take off more eagerly is fun. Sport mode reprograms your brain more than it does the car. ;)

And then there's Green Mode. Well , yeah, green mode. Thank you MINI designers, thank you. Thank you for not making green mode the default setting. Thank you, thank you, thank you....

How about that rev matching as you change down? I like that. I like that a lot. But remember to push the clutch pedal all the way down or it doesn't work and your downshifts are as bad as they always were. First gear feels a bit hard to engage when pulling away. Is that just me? Had that on previous Coops and it seemed to loosen up after a while. Reverse is still a swine; you need to wrestle the gear stick into place... almost needs two hands. But the gearbox is still new and overall it's slick and precise. In our previous MINIs reverse was hard to enagage.. unless... unless... you're in a hurry to pull away at the change from amber to green. Then the gearstick misses 1st, slips effortlessy into reverse and creates surpise, fear and panic in the driver behind.

Bad practice I know, but the driver's door armrest is in just the right place for me.. elbow on arm rest, hand on steering wheel, perfect. I'm still getting used to the steering though. Somehow different to what I'm used to. There's a narrow 90 degree turn into our cul-de-sac and I'm under-steering a tad. I'll adjust, it's a different car after all. Then my parking will tighten up a bit too.

I said when I joined here that we kept our spec as low as possible to keep control of the cost. I was particularly concerned about sticking with the basic spec radio because I'd had the Harman Kardon upgrade twice before and enjoyed it. No worries. Basic spec audio is fine. The 4" full-range door speakers work great; I don't miss the A pillar tweeters at all. I find with treble set at -1 and the bass at around -2 or -3 it's well balanced and bassy without too much of that tuneless 'thump' cars are prone to. Managed to hook up my phone via USB with no problem and was soon flicking through my car 'juke box' folder. Phone paired easily via Bluetooth too though haven't made any calls yet.

What about those new front seats? That adjustable-for-thigh-length feature is just perfect. We do a 450 mile round trip every month or two and, after a couple of hours' driving, previous MINI seats gave us grief. Our neighbours with their 2nd gen Cooper find the same. Pressure points at the back of the legs, not good. My wife was not keen to get yet another MINI because of that lack of comfort. We might even have gone over to a Golf :| but, although we haven't taken a long trip yet, I'm sure the new seats will prove to be just right.

Anything else? General build quality is superb. Just closing a door is a joy. Nice noise. A quieter drive too. Again, very good for those long hauls. The flip-up boot floor is brilliant. Why couldn't we have had that in our Clubby? Overall a nicely put-together car. As others have said it's more obviously a BMW quality vehicle now.

Regards,

Derek
 

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Great write up agree with all your comments.Glad you love your f56 with the 3 cylinder engine. It really is superb and I do keep trying to tell everyone who cares to listen.


I agree reverse has always been a bit fiddly in minis and the f56 is no exception. I look at learners in them and pity them.they seem Quite popular driving school cars and I can only assume it's because youngsters want to drive them. Mind you if they can manage a mini.........
 
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A great review, thanks for sharing. My comments in bold:

And that 3-cylinder engine.. what a stunner. Furthermore, let's remember here we're talking about a box-fresh engine. Torque-y or what? How will it drive when it's matured a little? Even at low revs in 6th you can tell the car is just waiting, poised for take-off. Please excuse me but I've got to reiterate that this new Cooper, as we know, is only slightly less powerful than the original 1st gen Cooper S. So if anyone in here really wanted an F56 in 'S' form but didn't want to pay for it, DON'T PANIC, KEEP CALM. You'll be fine with the straight Cooper engine. It's a beaut. Totally.

Agreed. The loaner I drove with the 3-cylinder was unexpectedly quick, and fun. What a great engine.

Flick the Sport ring to the left and there's a noticeable change in how it responds to a blip on the throttle. We had sport mode on our 2nd gen. petrol Cooper. That did a similar same thing but it was quite subtle I thought. However, sport mode on the F56 is far more obvious. As we know, sport mode doesn't change anything really important (except maybe the steering weighting) but the way the car wants to take off more eagerly is fun. Sport mode reprograms your brain more than it does the car. ;)

My first impressions are the same. The steering feel for me (S with Sport Suspension) doesn't change as much as it did on my R56, but the engine changes dramatically. It is much, much more eager to go when in Sport Mode. The response is instantaneous with what feels like the full capability of the engine just waiting to blast off. Mid Mode, the car just seems like a well-powered, sporty car. Sport Mode, it's a MINI!

And then there's Green Mode. Well , yeah, green mode. Thank you MINI designers, thank you. Thank you for not making green mode the default setting. Thank you, thank you, thank you....

LOL agreed. I have not driven one mile in Green Mode. That would feel like gelding a stallion.

How about that rev matching as you change down? I like that. I like that a lot. But remember to push the clutch pedal all the way down or it doesn't work and your downshifts are as bad as they always were. First gear feels a bit hard to engage when pulling away. Is that just me? Had that on previous Coops and it seemed to loosen up after a while. Reverse is still a swine; you need to wrestle the gear stick into place... almost needs two hands. But the gearbox is still new and overall it's slick and precise. In our previous MINIs reverse was hard to enagage.. unless... unless... you're in a hurry to pull away at the change from amber to green. Then the gearstick misses 1st, slips effortlessy into reverse and creates surpise, fear and panic in the driver behind.

Rev matching is brilliant, will be even more so when the software update enables rev matching into 2nd.

On my R56 I did the accidental reverse thing a couple of times, it was one of the less amusing ways MINI provided Driving Excitement, for sure.

On my F56 I don't have an accidental reverse problem, but I have inadvertently selected 3rd instead of first a couple of times. Fortunately, the selected gear is displayed on the instrument cluster, so if I am unsure if I have the correct gear all I have to do is glance down to verify. Excellent, thank you BMW!


I said when I joined here that we kept our spec as low as possible to keep control of the cost. I was particularly concerned about sticking with the basic spec radio because I'd had the Harman Kardon upgrade twice before and enjoyed it. No worries. Basic spec audio is fine. The 4" full-range door speakers work great; I don't miss the A pillar tweeters at all. I find with treble set at -1 and the bass at around -2 or -3 it's well balanced and bassy without too much of that tuneless 'thump' cars are prone to. Managed to hook up my phone via USB with no problem and was soon flicking through my car 'juke box' folder. Phone paired easily via Bluetooth too though haven't made any calls yet.

Same here. I think we are the only two people with the base radio on the forum! The Glass Cockpit is very cool and useful, but if you are funds-constrained, there is no shame in going with the base unit, it's perfectly fine.

I am planning to add a HUD from Navdy, which is $299 if you preorder. And With $90 worth of parts from Amazon and a tiny TFT display I already own, I am planning to install a backup camera. Of course the built-in systems are preferable, if you want to $pend the money for them. I loved the backup sensor/camera implementation on the loaner I drove-- Brilliant feedback. If I could have afforded it I would have bought it. But now I'm going the DIY route.


Anything else? General build quality is superb. Just closing a door is a joy. Nice noise. A quieter drive too. Again, very good for those long hauls. The flip-up boot floor is brilliant. Why couldn't we have had that in our Clubby? Overall a nicely put-together car. As others have said it's more obviously a BMW quality vehicle now.

I concur completely.
 

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As I have mentioned on a few other threads we've at last got our new MINI Cooper in pepper white, with 16" victory spoke wheels, heated seats and heated front screen. So here's my first thoughts and observations and for context, we've previously owned a 1st gen. petrol Cooper, a 2nd gen. petrol Cooper and a 2nd gen Cooper D Clubby.

At the showroom on Monday I had a long and friendly chat with the sales & finance team at Rybrook, Shrewsbury (thanks Jack and Dan) followed by a professional technical handover to demonstrate features & controls as well as highlighting what had changed since my previous model. Then it was time to take her out on the road :)

I cannot fault the way the car performs. The brakes are much more positive than our 2nd. gens... back up to how I remember the 1st gen brakes worked; nice and 'grippy'.

And that 3-cylinder engine.. what a stunner. Furthermore, let's remember here we're talking about a box-fresh engine. Torque-y or what? How will it drive when it's matured a little? Even at low revs in 6th you can tell the car is just waiting, poised for take-off. Please excuse me but I've got to reiterate that this new Cooper, as we know, is only slightly less powerful than the original 1st gen Cooper S. So if anyone in here really wanted an F56 in 'S' form but didn't want to pay for it, DON'T PANIC, KEEP CALM. You'll be fine with the straight Cooper engine. It's a beaut. Totally.

Flick the Sport ring to the left and there's a noticeable change in how it responds to a blip on the throttle. We had sport mode on our 2nd gen. petrol Cooper. That did a similar same thing but it was quite subtle I thought. However, sport mode on the F56 is far more obvious. As we know, sport mode doesn't change anything really important (except maybe the steering weighting) but the way the car wants to take off more eagerly is fun. Sport mode reprograms your brain more than it does the car. ;)

And then there's Green Mode. Well , yeah, green mode. Thank you MINI designers, thank you. Thank you for not making green mode the default setting. Thank you, thank you, thank you....

How about that rev matching as you change down? I like that. I like that a lot. But remember to push the clutch pedal all the way down or it doesn't work and your downshifts are as bad as they always were. First gear feels a bit hard to engage when pulling away. Is that just me? Had that on previous Coops and it seemed to loosen up after a while. Reverse is still a swine; you need to wrestle the gear stick into place... almost needs two hands. But the gearbox is still new and overall it's slick and precise. In our previous MINIs reverse was hard to enagage.. unless... unless... you're in a hurry to pull away at the change from amber to green. Then the gearstick misses 1st, slips effortlessy into reverse and creates surpise, fear and panic in the driver behind.

Bad practice I know, but the driver's door armrest is in just the right place for me.. elbow on arm rest, hand on steering wheel, perfect. I'm still getting used to the steering though. Somehow different to what I'm used to. There's a narrow 90 degree turn into our cul-de-sac and I'm under-steering a tad. I'll adjust, it's a different car after all. Then my parking will tighten up a bit too.

I said when I joined here that we kept our spec as low as possible to keep control of the cost. I was particularly concerned about sticking with the basic spec radio because I'd had the Harman Kardon upgrade twice before and enjoyed it. No worries. Basic spec audio is fine. The 4" full-range door speakers work great; I don't miss the A pillar tweeters at all. I find with treble set at -1 and the bass at around -2 or -3 it's well balanced and bassy without too much of that tuneless 'thump' cars are prone to. Managed to hook up my phone via USB with no problem and was soon flicking through my car 'juke box' folder. Phone paired easily via Bluetooth too though haven't made any calls yet.

What about those new front seats? That adjustable-for-thigh-length feature is just perfect. We do a 450 mile round trip every month or two and, after a couple of hours' driving, previous MINI seats gave us grief. Our neighbours with their 2nd gen Cooper find the same. Pressure points at the back of the legs, not good. My wife was not keen to get yet another MINI because of that lack of comfort. We might even have gone over to a Golf :| but, although we haven't taken a long trip yet, I'm sure the new seats will prove to be just right.

Anything else? General build quality is superb. Just closing a door is a joy. Nice noise. A quieter drive too. Again, very good for those long hauls. The flip-up boot floor is brilliant. Why couldn't we have had that in our Clubby? Overall a nicely put-together car. As others have said it's more obviously a BMW quality vehicle now.

Regards,

Derek
Them new seats look and feel great and that extra padding was what mad eme get the chili pack. Nice reading your review,its the simple things like the door closing sound that just add to the appeal of this new car.
 

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...Reverse is still a swine; you need to wrestle the gear stick into place... almost needs two hands. But the gearbox is still new and overall it's slick and precise. In our previous MINIs reverse was hard to enagage.. unless... unless... you're in a hurry to pull away at the change from amber to green. Then the gearstick misses 1st, slips effortlessy into reverse and creates surpise, fear and panic in the driver behind.
great review Derek, i laughed at this. day 2 with my new baby and this happened. I was messing around with the entertainment system and the light changed unbeknownst to me. Drive behind hoots and i panic and doesnt it just slide into reverse no effort needed. so chuck it out and back into first but just enough time for me to make to light and not the driver behind... i think he was quite irate
 
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