The Mini 5-Door is the first five-door Mini hatchback
The doors, by Mini CUTE AS A BUTTON: Called the Mini 5-Door, this latest model is based on an extended version of the Mini 3-Door's platform. There are no steering wheel-mounted shift paddles but the gear lever offers manual changes

IT promises the same fun but with more space. For the first time in its history, the Mini hatchback is available with an extra two back doors. Called the Mini 5-Door, this latest model is based on an extended version of the Mini 3-Door's platform. It is different from the Mini Countryman, which may also have four passenger doors but is a bigger and taller crossover.

At 4,005 mm long, the Mini Cooper S 5-Door is 155 mm longer than the three-door version and 20 mm taller. Weighing in at 1,315 kg, it is also 65 kg heavier than the 3-Door. Its 2,567 mm wheelbase is stretched 72 mm, so that the additional space between the two axles provides 37 mm more legroom for rear passengers. This means that a six-footer can now sit comfortably although rear kneeroom is merely adequate.

The back row may have a third seatbelt but the centre occupant will have to straddle a cupholder, thus likely relegating this position to only the young or immodest.

In line with its more comfort-oriented character, especially for those in the back, the Mini 5-Door has a higher ground clearance for a more forgiving suspension. The springs and dampers on this model are less stiff with longer travel. The ride is still firm and can be slightly bouncy when going fast on an uneven surface. But it not jarring.

At the same time, it is as invigoratingly brisk as the original hatch. The Mini Cooper S 5-Door with its turbocharged two-litre, four-cylinder engine is a powerful performer. With 280 Newton-metres of torque available very early (300 Nm with overboost) and delivered to the front wheels via the familiar six-speed automatic transmission, the Mini Cooper S is spirited. There are no steering wheel-mounted shift paddles but the gear lever offers manual changes. Floor the pedal on the right and it accelerates strongly from stationary. Zero to 100 kmh is 0.1 second slower than the 3-Door. The burbling exhaust even comes with a delicious backfire.

It sticks confidently to the road, with a front axle differential to selectively brake the inside wheel in a tight corner. As expected, the Minis' electromechanical power steering is precise. It is designed to compensate for torque steer, so that flooring the accelerator in a sharp corner won't affect steering response.

The Cooper S is fitted with Dynamic Damper Control as standard. By adjusting the Electric Damper Control valves, the compression and rebound stages vary accordingly. This means there are two damper set-ups depending on whether the Normal or Sport driving mode is chosen - comfort-oriented or a direct and sporty response to road bumps. Inside, the Mini 5-Door gets the usual upscale treatment, with little refinements like the blue ambient light in each door pocket. And despite the small size of the rear door, the glass window can be wound all the way down for an unobstructed view out.

With the same offer of a dynamic driving character, the Mini 5 Door is as fun to drive as the Mini 3-Door - except with more utility, a bigger load space and a roomier cabin for four.

CAR INFORMATION

MINI Cooper S 5-Door 2.0 (A)

Price

:$158,088

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line TwinPower Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1,998 cc

Horsepower

:

189 bhp / 6,000 rpm

Torque

:

280 Nm / 4,750 rpm

Transmission

:

6-speed (A)

Acceleration

:

6.8 sec (0-100 km/h)

Top Speed

:

230 km/h