Mini 5-Door Review and First Drive

by under Review on 03 Nov 2014 04:55:36 PM03 Nov 2014
Mini Cooper 5-Door
FROM $27,750
Fuel Consumption

It’s a more spacious/practical Mini; beaut engines; gorgeous interiors


Cooper S Pirelli tyres a little noisy on poor roads

Mini calls it ‘Adooorable’, we’re calling it practical. Whatever the description, the all-new Mini 5-Door model is the car for those who crave a Mini but whose lifestyle dictates more passenger and cargo space than the 3-Door model.

Hey, we’re in that category for one simple reason – we have children. The 5-Door then is the Mini for family buyers who don’t want to go down the wagon/SUV route of Clubman/Countryman.


An addition to the lineup of the third generation Mini, the 5-Door arrives immediately following celebrations at the Oxford, England plant to celebrate production of the 3-millionth Mini since the historic nameplate returned – under ownership of Germany’s BMW – in 2001. Mini Countryman and Paceman models are manufactured in Austria.

Locally, Mini Australia is on-track for another sales record this year and recently delivered its 25,000th vehicle to a customer in Sydney. And Australian buyers have green-lighted the all-new Mini three-door with sales in September up by 23 per-cent compared to September 2013.


Mini 5-Door Overview

The second body style of the all-new third generation Mini lineup to hit Australian shores, the 5-Door arrives in the familiar lineup of entry-grade ‘Cooper’, range-topping ‘Cooper S’ and mid-grade turbo-diesel called ‘Cooper D’. Specifications mirror the equivalent 3-Door models.


So that means lots of kit, lots of technology and sensational value-for-money

The full range is:

Cooper (6-speed manual)  $27,750
Cooper (6-speed automatic)   $30,805
Cooper D (6-speed manual)  $32,900
Cooper D (6-speed automatic)   $35,955
Cooper S (6-speed manual)    $38,050
Cooper S (6-speed automatic)  $41,505

Mini 5-Door Engine

Under the bonnet, Mini 5-Door features the familiar powertrains of the 3-Door lineup. As we know, the all-new 3-Door debuted an all-turbocharged lineup of three and four-cylinder engines.

Headline billing goes to the 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit powering the sporty, range-topping Cooper S. With 141kW of power between 4700rpm – 6000rpm and peak torque of 280Nm from 1250rpm, Mini’s 2.0-litre petrol engine is a delight.

Mini Cooper employs the remarkable 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine with its purposeful growl and astonishing 100kW/220Nm combining with combined-cycle fuel consumption of just 4.9l/100kms.

And of course the Cooper D gets the 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbo-diesel which is point blank one of our favourite engines. Sure the 85kW/270Nm are important stats but just as important is the responsive and quiet operation – brilliant! – and 3.8l/100kms fuel consumption.

Mini 5-Door The Interior

The most popular vehicles traded-in by people buying Minis are larger hatchback models from rival brands so those buyers will immediately get a sense of familiar dimensions when they open the door of the all-new 5-Door model. At 2567mm, the wheelbase of the 5-Door is 72mm longer than the 3-Door and there’s 15mm of extra headroom.


So, rear seat legroom in the all-new Mini 5-Door matches other hatchbacks. Rear seat passengers will notice items like trim choices, window buttons and door handles mirror those hallmark stylish one up-front.

You can fit three in the rear seat - just like a regular five-door hatchback - and the two outboard positions have ISOFIX child seat anchorage points.

The rear seat folds for cargo versatility and we have 278-litres (67-litres more than the 3-Door) of usable space or 941-litres with that rear seat folded – and that’s impressive.


Otherwise the Mini 5-Door mirrors the 3-Door with that brilliant updated interior design and dashboard, beautiful trim choices and materials and lots of high-gloss black highlights. Fortunately Mini hasn’t changed its fundamentals – the design echoes the 1960s originals and we still love the beautiful retro-style switchgear.


Mini 5-Door Exterior & Styling

You’ll never mistake the 5-Door as anything other than a Mini but, by the same token, styling changes at the rear are obvious to accommodate those extra two doors and length. All-new Mini 5-Door is 161mm longer than the 3-Door at 3982mm (4005mm for the Cooper S) and 11mm higher at 1425mm.

While Mini hasn’t followed others in trying to disguise its 5-Door model (the door handles aren’t hidden and are chrome), from the front to the A-pillars the newcomer is identical to the 3-Door model and that extra 161mm of length is all aft of those pillars. Some 70mm of the extension is in the wheelbase and this means extra space for those in the rear.


You will also notice in the pics the Mini 5-Door gains thin C and D-pillars (the D-pillars tapered at an angle to maintain the characteristic squat look). In profile, Mini says the extra length of the 5-Door actually emphasizes the separation of the body and glasshouse.

And of course the 5-Door comes with Mini’s usual massive choice of exterior colours, accessories, graphics, decals and optional black or white roof and mirror caps.

Mini 5-Door On The Road

If you’ve previously driven a Mini, your mind pulses with anticipation as you walk towards a new model. You recall those past acquaintances - all ridiculously sharp steering, pointy response, virtually flat cornering and punchy engines – and wonder if it could possibly be replicated or improved.

With the all-new 5-Door, as it is with the third-generation 3-Door, the answer is yes, yes it can improve. As we found out when Mini invited to sample the all-new 5-Door range over the sporty roads from Adelaide through the Barossa Valley and Murray Bridge.

We drove both Cooper and Cooper S models with the six-speed automatic transmission and a Cooper D with the six-speed manual gearbox. The Mini 5-Door is only around 60kgs heavier than the 3-Door – not enough to notice really.


Call us ‘lead-foots’ but it was the racy Mini Cooper S which we liked the most. The grunt of the 141kW/280Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre engine came a little easier, the sharper dynamics courtesy of the bigger wheel/tyre combo and the more pronounced change when the ‘Sport’ drive mode is selected certainly ticked our boxes.

For turbo-diesels, there are not many better than the Mini Cooper D. That 1.5-litre has the hallmark growl of a three-cylinder when you give it a clip, but under all other circumstances is astonishingly quiet.

At first impression you may falsely perceive its 270Nm of torque to be a tad restrained. But get used to the effortless shifting from that six-speed manual and take a glance at the speedo and you’ll soon realize this thing is rapid. A true European turbo-diesel in every sense.

You would not be alone in thinking the Mini Cooper feels like an ‘atmo’ 2.0-litre such is the shove-in-the-back you get from that staggeringly impressive turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine. No steering wheel paddle shifters in Mini’s entry-level model and we’ve driven autos with faster shift responses than this six-speeder but we’ve entered the ‘Splitting Hairs’ realm here.


What all three models share is that hallmark Mini ‘go-fast’ driving dynamics. Mini says it’s ‘go-kart’ like but that suggests it’s harsh – which it isn’t.

The all-new Mini 5-Door – like the 3-Door – is firm, precise, sporty and direct in all situations…just as we like it.

But it’s no firmer than say a Volkswagen Golf GTI so family buyers shouldn’t feel intimidated.


Mini 5-Door Issues

Cooper S is our favourite Mini 5-Door, no doubt about it. But over those drivers roads up in the Barossa Valley -  with their coarse-chip surfaces - the larger wheels and Pirelli rubber did introduce some noticeable extra tyre noise.


Mini 5-Door Verdict

Mini continues to do great work and the third-generation range with its extra tech, extra features, better engines and better chassis is an all-round superior vehicle to its predecessor. So there were expectations the 5-Door model would be likewise.

And it is.

For families.


Our recommendation is if you don’t need the extra passenger and cargo space of the Mini 5-Door then buy a 3-Door. Because it more faithfully pays homage to the iconic original British car and ultimately is just a bit more pointy/go-kart in the driving dynamics.

But if you’re a family or need those crucial extra cubic-centimeters of boot space, relax and go for the Mini 5-Door. You get all of Mini in a larger package with no compromises.

Mini 5-Door The Competition

Of course in many ways Mini is unique. No other hatchback really equals the Mini for authentic style inside and out.

But here are a few other European hatches to throw-in to the mix:


Citroen is a brand on the move. The DS4 is a little pricier ($34,990 to $40,490) but delivers styling just a tad out of the box and a sharp drive.

Peugeot 308 starts at $27,490, ranges to $34,990 and offers both petrol and turbo-diesel engines. Sure the styling isn’t as edgy as Mini, but the latest 308 is a good-looker, offers handy interior space and points/steers quite well (although not as sporty as Mini).

Entry-level Renault Megane starts at $20,990, diesel starts at $25,990 and the range goes to $39,490. Like the 308, the Megane, while handsomely styled, doesn’t turn heads like a Mini. Make no mistake however, the Megane is a pearler, both 1.2-litre and 2.0-litre petrol engines are lively, interiors are top-notch and the drive is pin-sharp.

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