The Mini is now a little bigger. Mini’s latest three-door generous size increase does make for a roomier interior, but the car looks like a “five-fourths scale Mini”. Some like it and some don’t. And now Mini is expanding the brand with a volume-expanded five-door. There’s no question that the 5-Door will attract folks to the brand who shun its less practical (i.e. smaller) models.
About half—1.5 inches—of the five-door’s additional wheelbase has been translated into rear-seat legroom, and if they’re stubby, at least the rear doors will make it simpler to access the back seat. The new Mini’s cargo hold will swallow 9.2 cubic feet of stuff behind the back seats, 0.5 more than before.
Aside from rear passengers having door pulls and C-pillars in their peripheral vision, folks in a five-door will occupy an almost identical interior. The five-door hatch can carry five people, though, whereas the Hardtop accommodates only four.
The five-door’s hood will hide the same engines as in the Hardtop. That means base Cooper models get a turbocharged and direct-injected 1.5-liter three-cylinder gas engine (134 horsepower) hooked to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. The hotter choice is the Cooper S, which mates the same six-speed gearboxes to a 2.0-liter turbo four making 189 horsepower. (An overboost function temporarily bumps the engines’ torque figures to 170 and 221 lb-ft.) Both models are front-wheel drive. The larger Mini hatch utilizes the same strut front and multilink rear suspension setup, and it shares the option of adaptive dampers that allow the driver to tailor the ride and handling.
Baltimore’s premier mini dealer tells us that Mini five-door will be available with a host of driver-assistance technologies, including a head-up display, road-sign detection for speed-limit placards, camera-based adaptive cruise control, collision and pedestrian-impact warnings, and even an automatic braking function. This sort of gear should, like the pair of rear doors, help expand the Mini’s appeal.