• Mar 29, 2009
It's still too early in the life cycle of the latest MINI Cooper for BMW to make any major changes to the car's basic design, so our interest is naturally piqued by these spy photos of some interesting MINIs caught on German streets, since they appear to sport a mildly-revised front bumper that incorporates restyled air intakes and fog lights.
Since BMW first revived the MINI brand in 2001, the little Cooper has seen just one complete refresh, which took place in 2006 and was followed a year later by the stretched Clubman model. The latest convertible version was just released a few months ago, and all three models were met with mostly positive reactions. So, what's the deal?

According to Global Motors, these changes may make it into production for a new edition from MINI that celebrates the brand's 50th anniversary. It's certainly possible; after all, there's still plenty of life left in the 2009 auto show circuit. Stay tuned.

[Source: Global Motors]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Mini is a great formula for success. It defies the philosophy of other car makers that money can't be made from small cars. Mini also doesn't follow the "small car equals cheap car" philosophy. Why can't others bring some competition to this segment? Even Honda's new small offerings have been relegated to technology of decades past with their drum brakes and rear torsion beams. There appears to be a race to make the cheapest car, even among the hybrids. Hey folks, I want a small PREMIUM car. I want a great engine, modern transmission with perhaps a 5 speed auto DSG and paddle shifters, or even a CVT with manual shift, and a fully independent suspension. Top it off with 4 wheel disc/anti-lock brakes and traction control, and we'll be in business. I'm not asking for anything expensive or technically risky, I'm just asking for you to raise the standard just a bit on occasion and especially not revert to old technology (i.e. drum brakes).

      Congratulations Mini, you rock. The upcoming Mini based SUV will be a huge seller here in the US. And bring us that turbo-diesel. The nay-sayers are clueless when they say that Americans don't want diesels or hatches. Please make mine a diesel with a hatch!

      • 5 Years Ago
      What 50th anniversary? The MINI has nothing to do with the original Mini, except as a pastiche in the looks department, and the name. There is not even the continuity of manufacture that Toyota has with its Corolla name. No, the MINI is a pastiche produced by a German company to cash in on the cleverness of the original: it worked, but don't try and fool us, please.

      Using this logic I'd be expected to believe that half the ditzy semi-embalmed actresses in Beverly Hills are actually the reincarnations of Cleopatra they think themselves to be. They aren't!
      • 5 Years Ago
      They surely will built 50th anniversary models

      who are they? MINI stands for MarketIng geNIouses :D
      • 5 Years Ago
      Uhm, while the link appears to be broken, the little shot you have here looks like a standard Mini Cooper with the Aero body kit's front bumper and the standard black plastic fender flares.
      • 5 Years Ago
      There already is.

      Wood and Pickett have done a 50th anniversary special where only 50 have been made.

      This willl not be a celebratory car, but a marketing exercise.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It'll be something like the MC40 edition from the last generation, little more than a paint, decal, trim package.
      What you're seeing in in the spy photos is most likely test mules of a mid-model refresh like they did between the 2004/2005 model years previously. There'll probably be small changes to the interior and exterior trim, a bump in power, and maybe (hopefully) finally a resolution for some of the problems that have been plaguing some car since 2007.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Although they may announce a few special 50th Anniversary editions at MINI United this year at Silverstone in May, this doesn't necessarily mean these will be the mid-life refresh of the R56. Ken points out the MC40 edition of the R53, which was largely a cosmetic package although in its original concept form there were significant performance enhancements that never made it to market.

        The pictures posted are simply of the R56 MINI with the factory aero kit. Nothing unique visually from the exterior, although they could be test mules for greater bits underneath that would appear in the R56 mid-life refresh. The only major niggle that some owners have had is the cold-start issue which is far from wide-spread. Otherwise the R56 has been pretty-much without any major or wide-spread flaws so I'm not sure what issues you are referring to.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The cold start is the big one, sure it's not widespread but it's common enough to be disturbing to new potential owners and the fact that there's no known fix for it is even more disturbing. I would also hope they'd make some small changes to the ergonomics, things like the radio controls are a little counter-intuitive in day to day use, nothing one can't get around after a week of driving but for some the interior can be a deal breaker.