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PostSubject: MINIs London World Premiere Event   22nd November 2013, 01:15


On Monday 18th November, Sir Alec Issigonis’ 107th birthday, the new F56 model rolled off the production line at the home of MINI Plant Oxford, and to celebrate, MINI held the first of 3 world premieres in London.  The other 2 being Los Angeles and Shanghai, which would be held over the following few days.

Around 500 guests were invited for the evening, including myself and Ben (Lytesben), which was hosted at the Sorting Office right in the heart of the City, and was a fantastic venue for such an event.

As part of the registration when we arrived, we were given a blue wristband, which we would discover more about later. The evening then started off with drinks and snacks, whilst guests were being interviewed and photographed. The MINI was due to be unveiled to us at 8PM, and with 5 minutes to go we heard a loud heartbeat and our wristbands flashed, so we rushed over to the stage area to get a good position near the front!

As the seconds counted down, the heartbeat got faster and faster and we were treated to a video introduction across the wall at the back of the stage, featuring Sir Alec Issigonis and his original designs right through to the current designs of the F56, the history of MINI, and everything in between. After the video, a door opened and the F56 drove out onto the stage – this was our first glimpse!

The designers then gave us an introduction to the new MINI, before Ellie Goulding took to the stage behind us, not to sing, but to kick off the night’s entertainment with an excellent turn behind the DJ decks!

After Ellie, we were then treated to an hour-long live set from Fenech Soler. I’ll be honest, neither Ben or I had heard of them before, they are a synth-pop band and they were absolutely fantastic, the crowd loved them! After Fenech Soler, Little Dragon DJ Set took to the stage to keep the party going right through til the end of the night. There was also a Street Kitchen available, where you could help yourself to freshly cooked food.

We then took the opportunity to go and have a proper look around the F56, as current MINI owners we could get right in and have a look at all the little things that maybe non MINI owners wouldn’t notice. MINI had 2 cars there for us to look at, a Cooper and a Cooper S. The first thing you notice is the front end of the car, which obviously looks a lot different to the outgoing 2nd generation MINI, in particular the striking headlight design with integrated DRL’s and indicators and LED side/fog lights (which plenty will be pleased to hear!) in the bumper below. The bonnet now slopes more, with the bonnet scoop on the Cooper S being smaller than the previous models.

When you move round to the back, the rear lights appear much larger as well, the MINI badge has moved into the rear bootlid handle and those with a keen eye will notice that the rear exhaust trim on the Cooper and Cooper D models has moved from the offside to the nearside. The model designation badge has also moved lower down to the bottom right corner of the bootlid, similar to the placement on the Paceman and Countryman. There are also LED number plate lights now. Moving round to the side, the eagle-eyed will notice that the fuel cap has also swapped sides, from the nearside to the offside now and on opening the doors, the classic 'squeeze' style door handles have changed for a more conventional pull style handle.

The inside of the car is perhaps where the biggest and most noticeable changes are, while you can still see hints of the previous 2nd generation styling in there, it is a complete redesign. First of all the MFSW controls have swapped sides – the audio and telephone controls are now on the right, and the cruise controls are now on the left. The headlight switches have moved from the left hand stalk, and are now located on the knee bolster, to the right of the steering wheel.

Looking at the centre console and the toggle switches, you’ll notice that the window and central locking switches have now moved onto the doors, freeing up some of the toggles. In their places, you can now find the switches for parking sensors, traction control, auto stop/start, etc. Perhaps most noticeable though, is the large red engine Start Stop toggle in the middle and no slot for the key fob – the fob now just needs to be inside the car for you to be able to start it.

Moving up the centre console, there are a new row of buttons for things such as heated seats, heated windows, and air con. Above these, there are 3 round dials, which control the dual zone climate control. The centrally mounted speedo has now moved across to behind the steering wheel, which frees up the space at the top of the centre console for just the audio, or if you have navigation etc. specced, then the screen is still located here too. There is also new mood lighting throughout the car, which changes with various settings, conditions and modes.

There is a completely new gear stick design, and the Sport setting is now located on a switch which flicks to the left or right behind it, there is also a Green mode which means there are now 3 different modes available to you – Sport, Normal or Green. Located just beside the handbrake is a completely new design of the controller for navigation equipped cars, gone is the tall stick, and it’s been replaced with a controller more familiar to the iDrive controllers found in BMW’s, which feels a lot easier to use actually.

The new seat designs feel very comfortable to sit in, particularly the Cooper S seats, which feel more like the Recaro seats that were previously available on the 2nd generation and GP2. The interior of the F56 feels like a really nice place to be!

Overall the F56 is a fantastic looking MINI, both inside and out, and I can see them selling really well. I know a lot of people have been put off the looks from some of the spy shots that had been doing the rounds, but the photos don’t do it justice, go and have a look at it in the metal when the car is in the showroom and I guarantee you will pleasantly surprised – it is a seriously good looking car, with some amazing technology, I’m also looking forward to seeing how the new engines perform.

Going back to the evening, after exploring the MINIs, we made the most of what was an excellent night and were the last to leave the Sorting Office – the music had stopped and the lights were all on when we finally left!

All that’s left to say is a massive thank you to MINI for a fantastic night, and I’m looking forward to seeing The New Original in showrooms early next year.


Now for some photos, sorry they're not brilliant, it was fairly dark inside:
































































And here's a video (sorry for the rotation towards the end!):


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Last edited by 118 on 22nd November 2013, 12:02; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: MINIs London World Premiere Event   22nd November 2013, 07:22

I think I may like it (apart from the long bonnet) it's pretty cool and love the interior.
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PostSubject: Re: MINIs London World Premiere Event   22nd November 2013, 10:45

You know you want one Razz ha

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PostSubject: Re: MINIs London World Premiere Event   22nd November 2013, 12:27

Great write up Ian - It really looks the business. And now my side / fog question has been answered Smile
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PostSubject: Re: MINIs London World Premiere Event   22nd November 2013, 14:30

Great write up Ian! Sounds like a brilliant night! Its a shame they didnt video more of it for their launch video for us to all see. Great pics too!
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PostSubject: Re: MINIs London World Premiere Event   22nd November 2013, 20:16

Great pics and write up Ian Smile Better than what we watched on the internet!!
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PostSubject: Re: MINIs London World Premiere Event   22nd November 2013, 20:39

I know that Ian has already put up his write up but here is mine, pretty similar but we were there together Smile


The MINI London World Premiere.

Monday 18th November. The first of three World Premieres of ‘The New Original’ – the next generation MINI – took place in London in front of 500 selected guests at The Sorting Office on New Oxford Street.


Ian (118) and I were two of the lucky people to be invited and upon entering the venue; registration presented us with blue wristbands – which held a secret in themselves. The evening began with a wide selection of food and drink whilst more arrivals, pictures and interviews took place. It wasn’t long before a photographer was before us and we were being asked to pose for a couple of snaps.

All around the venue were projections showing a countdown until the grand unveiling which was to take place at 8pm. As the time got closer a steady heartbeat could be heard and at 5 minutes to go a loud heartbeat and a long flash from our blue wristbands signalled it was nearly time. Ian and I made our way over to the stage area to get a good position right at the front!

As the minutes and seconds counted down, the general chitter chatter quieted down and the heartbeat steadily got faster and faster until a video introduction across the shutter door appeared showcasing Sir Alex Issigonis and the evolution through the generations of the MINI. Then, the shutter slowly rolled up and all eyes in the place were staring, looking for that first glimpse of the ‘The New Original’.

Rick Edwards then drove a Blazing Red Cooper onto the stage and we were all given an introduction to the new MINI by the car designers themselves. Shortly after, Ellie Goulding was introduced on the stage behind us to kick off the evening’s entertainment. Despite many expecting her to sing, Ellie was actually taking a turn behind the DJ decks.

After Ellie’s set, Rick Edwards then arrived back on stage to introduce one of the pleasant surprises of the night, the Northamptonshire electropop band Fenech Soler.  Neither myself nor Ian had heard of them before, but I will say that were absolutely fantastic and they will definitely be making their way into my playlist. Following Fenech Soler, the DJ decks came back out for Little Dragon to take to the stage and see the festivities out.

Whilst there was still a fairly large crowd surrounding the MINI we decided to see what was on offer at the Bar, after all it would have been rude not to. After milling around we decided to make our way over the MINI and have a real good look around. I can imagine that many non MINI owners may not notice much difference in the design – I know many who still claim not to see the difference between the R50 and the R56. The first feature that you will notice has changed is of course the front. This is one aspect that I know has been extremely controversial within the MINI crowd. All I can say is that is a rather striking with more of a slope to the bonnet, still with a scoop for the Cooper S (albeit smaller than the outgoing model), and the new headlights incorporating curved DRL’s and indicators. The bumper has also been completely redesigned, but still retains the classic hexagon style grill as seen on the classic Mini.

Moving around to the sides, the overall shape remains the same, meaning there is no denying that this is still a MINI. The side scuttles have been overhauled with a new indicator design that almost wraps around the scuttle itself. The door handles have also been replaced with a more conventional pull out style. Looking down the side, it is also clear that the fuel cap has swapped sides.

The rear of the car has also seen a redesign, although still nothing completely radical. The first thing you will notice is the enlarged rear light clusters reincorporating the reversing lights at the bottom – as seen on the pre-lci MINIs. The MINI badge now sits in the boot handle itself, and I was half expecting having to press that to open the boot but it is still the same design as the current R56. The model designation has been moved to the bottom of the boot lid as seen on the Countryman and Paceman models. The rear exhaust on the Cooper and Cooper D models has again swapped sides, presumably because of the change of sides for the fuel tank.

Stepping into the F56 is where the biggest changes have happened. This is pretty much a complete redesign, whilst still retaining some elements of previous models. The controversial centre speedo has been removed to be replaced by a more conventional one behind the steering wheel – along with a side rev counter and fuel gauge. The MFSW controls have swapped sides with the audio controls now being on the rights – I imagine many there will be many confused R56 owners pressing the wrong buttons to start with. The headlight switch has moved from the stalk, to the right knee bolster.

The centre console has a familiar circle design with heater controls below above the iconic toggle switches. The stereo occupies the space formally inhabited by the speedo, or if you have navigation etc specced this is taken up by glorious screen. Around the top of this is a half circle of mood lighting that changes colour depending on the settings selected along with various other lights in the doors etc. The climate/heating controls sit below all of this in the form of three around dials. Sitting below these are a row of new buttons controlling things such as heated seats, heated windows etc. Finally at the bottom of the console sits the famous toggle switches. The centre one is a slightly larger flat design which is the new Start/Stop button. One thing about this, is that there doesn’t appear to be a slot for the key, suggesting just having it present in the car is all that is required.

Down the middle, the three buttons before the gearstick have gone, with the sport button being repositioned as a left/right flick switch – a completely new Green mode has been introduced with the new car. Next to the handbrake sits the new controls for the navigation system. It is much more reminiscent of the iDrive control as found in new BMW’s – I will say that it appeared to be much more intuitive to use. The seats are a very nice place in which to sit. The seats in the Cooper S on show felt like Recaro seats with lots of adjustment and finally the ability to adjust the seat depth to offer more support.

Looking through a brochure I have, there appears to be many ways in which you can spec your new MINI into your perfect car. The F56 is one seriously stunning looking car in the metal. I know many saw the first spy shots that didn’t really show it in a good light, but I think that is a judgement that people need to make once they have seen it in person. After all, the existing model is 7+ years old now and I honestly believe that this is fantastic evolution from the R56. I’m sure that we will all be driving around in them soon enough.

Overall, I think that the evening was absolutely brilliant, (so much so that we were the last to leave when the music stopped and the lights came back on) and I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to attend the event. I commend MINI for putting on such a show and continuing to create such an iconic car.

Now to wait for ‘The New Original’ to appear in showrooms across the country next March.


Last edited by Lytesben on 22nd November 2013, 21:48; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: MINIs London World Premiere Event   22nd November 2013, 21:40

Great write up, was able to watch the video too, gave me goosebumps Smile

Is the boot really that big?afro 
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PostSubject: Re: MINIs London World Premiere Event   22nd November 2013, 21:58

*Vikki* wrote:
Great write up, was able to watch the video too, gave me goosebumps Smile

Is the boot really that big?afro 
It was a fantastic event. The whole atmosphere with the heartbeats and the flashing wristbands was amazing.

The boot is definitely bigger than the R56, and it also has a false floor, so what you see in the picture lifts up and there is loads more space below as well thumbs up
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PostSubject: Re: MINIs London World Premiere Event   22nd November 2013, 23:45

Thanks everyone, and thanks to Ben for posting too Very Happy

Yeah the boot is a good size, and as Ben says it has a flatfish load floor like the Clubman has - reading through the specs I think that's something you have to spec or comes as part of a pack though Smile

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PostSubject: Re: MINIs London World Premiere Event   23rd November 2013, 08:12

Guys, what a excellent write up!

I love it and have already requested a brochure from Stratstone with a view to putting in a deposit ( refundable just in case I don't like it of course) to secure a build slot when they're launched on March 15th.
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PostSubject: Re: MINIs London World Premiere Event   23rd November 2013, 20:57

Thanks John Big Grin

I think you'll love it when you see it in the metal, and you won't regret putting a deposit down Very Happy

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