What is it?
The three-cylinder, turbodiesel version of the all-new F56 Mini hatchback. All-new, in this case, really does mean all-new. The F56 is based on a BMW-engineered platform and is powered by new BMW-engineered three- and four-cylinder turbocharged engines.
Mini is claiming that this model is significantly more refined, safer and better made than the outgoing R56 Mini, which still had its roots in the original 2001 R50 Mini.
The F56 is also bigger in every dimension. At 3821mm long it is 98mm longer (with 28mm of that inserted into the wheelbase) and 1414mm tall, some 4mm taller. The overall width of the car is up by 44mm, with the front track 42mm wider and the rear track 34mm wider. Boot space is up by 30 per cent to 211 litres and the rear seatbacks are now split 60/40, rather than 50/50.
Despite its newness, the styling of the new model has not strayed far from its two predecessors. Out on the road, it’s most identifiable by its bigger headlamps (and their distinctive ring-shaped LED running lights) and by the somewhat oversized rear lamp clusters. Otherwise, in the metal, the F56 is a more handsome, more professionally executed piece of work than the two previous Minis.
That execution extends into the interior which, while it benefits from a significant hike in build quality and finish, sticks with the rather cartoonish and oversized design themes of the R56. Beautifully made, the facia is dominated by the giant circular centre screen, while the speedo and (tiny) rev counter are now mounted on the steering column. The toggle switches have survived the redesign and Minis equipped with the Media Pack XL get a massively improved iDrive-style controller between the front seats.