By: IOL Motoring Staff
Oxford, England - Minis are great for trendy singles and young couples but their three-door architecture is less than practical for families. Or it was; now there's a more practical five-door version aimed at Mini lovers with families. It now offers seating for three in the back and the entire 72mm of extra wheelbase (over the three-door) goes to legroom, while the five-door also offers 15mm more headroom and 61mm more interior width at elbow height.
Luggage space is a creditable 278 litres - 67 more than the three-door - and the rear seatback splits 60:40 to turn the five-door Mini into a stylish little delivery van.
At 4005mm overall it's 184mm longer overall than the recently-launched three-door version, and 11mm higher at 1425mm; overall width is unchanged at 1727mm. The rest of it is pure Mini, with the signature hexagonal grille, chromed trim around the headlights and tail lights, and contrasting roof and side mirror housings.
HERE THIS YEAR
The new five-door Mini will be released in South Africa in November 2014 in Cooper (100kW, 1499cc TwinPower turbopetrol three) and Cooper S (141kW, 1998cc TwinPower turbopetrol four) variants, each with direct fuel-injection, fully variable valve control, variable camshaft control and a six-speed manual gearbox as standard issue; a six-speed Steptronic or Steptronic sports transmission will be an option.
In this application, the three-cylinder Cooper engine is rated at 220Nm from 1250-4000rpm (230Nm with overboost), good for 0-100 in 8.2 seconds and and 207km/h flat out, at an quoted cost of 4.8 litres per 100km and 111g/km of CO2.
The two-litre four in the Cooper S, however, raises the bar to 280Nm between 1250 and 4750rpm (300Nm with overboost), 0-100 in less than seven seconds and 232 at full tilt boogie, while squandering a quoted 5.9 litres per 100km and belching 136g/km of CO2.
The longer, taller five-door Mini is unavoidably heavier than its three-door sibling so, in order to ensure the wheel-at-each-corner directness that defines a Mini, the new model has its own specific single-joint spring strut front and multilink rear axles, with revised spring and damper settings.
Servotronic electromechanical power steering is standard, as is dynamic stability control with traction control. An electronic differential lock with performance control is optional on the Cooper and standard on the Cooper S.
The Cooper comes out of the box wearing 15” alloys, while the Cooper S has 16-inchers; special order rims are available up to 18” diameter.
MAKE YOUR MINI SPECIAL
As with the three-door, the driving instruments (revs, speed, distance and navigation) have been moved to a racing-style pod on the steering column, with infotainment centred on the big round display in the traditional centre spot, above the keyless start/stop rocker switch (as long as the fob is in the car!), while the power window controls are in the doors.
The comprehensive catalogue of extra-cost add-ons includes a head-up display, parking sensors, rear-view camera, camera-based active cruise control, collision and pedestrian warning with braking function, high beam assistant and road sign detection.
Or you can ask for LED headlights and tail lights, an LED interior lighting package with orange-coloured ambient lighting, two levels of onboard navigation and a Harman/Kardon audio installation.
Extra fun stuff includes teleservices off a permanently installed SIM card, and a wide - and expandable - range of functions via your smartphone, including exclusive-to-Mini functions such as mission control, dynamic music, driving excitement and minimalism analyser, as well as real-time traffic updates.
Prices, as usual, when they get here.