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Thoughts on F56 / Just ordered Lava Yellow

7545 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  LetsMotorHard
I have a 2012 Coupe S and I think the interior fit and finish is just as quality as the 5 series BMW I got as a loaner last time I had my MINI in for oil change/service....

having that GF just ordered a 2014 from the Factory and we test drove a few of the new ones and here are my impressions:

The Non S with the 1.5 three-cyl engine is very quick....nearly as quick as my 1.6 Turbo S and has plenty of torque....however, as nice and fancy-ier as the interior is, the plastics (especially on the door) are a bit cheaper feeling then the previous gen MINI....think new Jetta (which she also cross-shopped) in that they are thinner and there are mold seams that you can feel when you rub your hand on the door...not the case in my 2012.

Other areas that I feel BMW cheapened the newest MINI are the outer door handles....I have nice solid chrome/metal door handles affixed solidly to the car and a squeeze type trigger...the thing feels very solid...on the 2014 it looks the same but it completely pull the whole chrome/plastic handle and it hinges away from the car like my old Chevy Tracker...feels cheap and plasticy and that over time it will break (like it does on the Tracker). Also the interior door handles are still the chrome cup type but are now plastic and do not feel nearly as heavy or quality as my metal chrome interior door handles. One other thing that really freaked me out about the new interior door handles is that the door lock/unlock switch is IN the moving part of the chrome/plastic door handle. Do not like.

It seems all MINIs now come standard with auto start/stop when you come to a complete stop...she hated that. So I looked around for a switch similar to the one in the 5 series BMW I had as a loaner and sure enough, to the left of the Start/Stop toggle is the Defeat switch. Though I thought the Start/Stop was much faster and more responsive on the MINI than it was on the 5 series BMW.

Also, my UFO key feels very solid and heavy and has mass to it...the new UFO is bigger (think puffier) yet weighs almost nothing....and in my 2012 you place the UFO/key into a slot then use the push button to start the the 2014 the UFO just has to be inside the car somewhere...she is fine with that because she'll just throw it in her Purse, but as a guy, and a bit of an old-schooler, I like to "put" my key into the car where it will always be when I need it. I know I could just throw it into a cup holder or something, but I really think car makers who use this "it just has to be in the car" method should offer at least a key holder place like m 2012 has. (The new Jetta she drove also uses this feature and there is also no where to put the key in the VW).

The glowy ring around the info-tainment is can switch between driving modes: "Green", "Let's Motor" and "Let's Motor, hard" (not making this up)....the bezel changes color from Green when in Green mode, to yellow in Motor and Red in Motor Hard mode. Pretty cool but reminded me of the same feature I saw in the Nissan Juke 2 years ago.

The glowy mood-ring also changes based on radio volume and moodlight setting. Over all pretty neat and I am sure girls will love it as my GF ooohed and ahhhed when I showed her the toggle on the roof that changes the mood lights...once I hit that perfect shade of pink she yelled "oohhh stop there, I like that one". Nuff my MINI I like the deep red.

The boot is much bigger than the 2013 model though the over-all car doesn't really seem that much bigger. With a 2014 parked next to a 2013 the size difference is very mild and the biggest difference is the hood/bonnet is much longer on the 2014 vs the almost stubby looking 2013 and the 2014 feature larger tail-lamps but they do not seem out of place or improperly proportioned to me at all. And for those asking, the new MINI is still smaller than a Golf.

I tried to talk her into a 2013 on the lot to get a great deal (plus I am partial to the interior of the 2013/2012) but she really wanted the newest hotness and spec'd out her custom order from the factory came in much cheaper than a similar 2013 would have a year ago, so kudos to BMW for actually finding ways to lower the price, but personally, I see what they did there (cheapened interior in places etc)

And I am one of the handful who really likes the Tach with digital speedo over the steering wheel...I never look at the huge white dinner plate in the middle of my dash except to look at fuel level and radio display.

I do think the 2014 is a nice car and it will make a nice addition to our MINI "family" but I think the previous Generation was a bit more (perceived?) quality in materials. Though most of the Toggle switches remain and their function (up or down, both do the same function) many will be happy that they finally moved the window switches to the door instead of in the center mass where the new engine start/stop toggle is as well as the Auto Stop/Start defeat toggle is.

BTW, she ordered hers in Lava Yellow...pretty sexy color

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Welcome to the forums! So if she has the good taste to choose a new MINI, does this mean she's a keeper? :D

Glad you pushed her not to buy a Jetta! I enjoy VWs but there is no comparison between Jetta and F56.
Hello! Welcome to the forum and thanks for your comments.

Quality is a funny thing and is clearly subjective.

I remember taking delivery of my second gen R56 MCS and immediately thinking that the quality of some of the switchgear and the seats were worse than that of my previous first gen R50.

I've been really impressed with the quality of the third gen F56 cars that I've sat in and do feel that it represents a big step over the R56. In fairness I don't have experience of the coupe but the interior handles of my R56 were definitely plastic and felt cheap.

I absolutely agree with you about the third gen door handles. I was hoping that they would have that solid metal feel, hinging about a point perfectly but I don't like the way that they 'wobble'. A shame really.
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welcome. thanks for sharing your insights

and congrats on the new purchase.

share some photos when you get it .
Thanks for the warm welcome everyone, this looks like a great forum
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