2015 Mini Cooper / Cooper S 5-Door Hatchback
There’s no question that the 5-Door, as Mini is officially calling it, will attract folks to the brand who shun its less practical or less-mini models. But does practicality need to look like this? The six-door (counting the rear barn doors) Mini Clubman concept that wowed us at this year’s Geneva auto show had us salivating for this car. The show property had it all: Great looks, a sultry roofline, and upscale detailing inside and out.
The production five-door, on the other hand, is no more than a mildly stretched Mini with an extra pair of doors wedged in. Overall length has been taffy-pulled by roughly six inches, while the wheelbase expands by just half that; it’s no wonder the addition of rear doors looks awkward. The handsome Clubman concept, by contrast, stretched a whopping 15 or so inches longer than a Hardtop, affording it far better proportions.
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 to play with 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 hooked to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. Output stands at a respectable 134 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. The hotter choice is the Cooper S, which mates the same six-speed gearboxes to a 2.0-liter turbo four making 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. (An overboost function temporarily bumps the engines’ torque figures to 170 and 221 lb-ft.) Both models are front-wheel drive.
The new hatchback’s relatively mild stretch should iron out the ride a bit and likely won’t prove detrimental to the car’s chuckability. 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.
The 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.
This new car fills dealers’ need for a five-door Mini that’s cheaper and smaller than the Countryman, and they should expect more showroom traffic. But we hope the quirky Clubman concept has a future, barn doors and all, because this five-door—and a potential full-blown SUV—indicates that Mini is thinking more conventionally than ever.