First Drive 2015 Mini 5-door Cooper S Automatic -The Auto Channel
By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
September 13, 2014
Last Tuesday, the three-millionth Mini, a 5-door model - dubbed 4-door in the US- rolled off the assembly line of Plant Oxford. That very same day, the first drive event of this latest addition to the Mini line-up took off in nearby Henley-on Thames, the small town that is famous for its rowing regatta.
The evening before, we were briefed about the ins and outs of the new variant by Anders Warming, Head of Mini Design. Walking us around the new Mini, he showed details and differences of the 5-door compared to the 3-door model.
“The 5-door model is not an extended 3-door body. It is not that simple,” says Warming, “the wheelbase has been lengthened by 72 mm (see technical details for US system) and the rear overhang by 39 mm, which means that the 5-door variant is 161 mm longer. But we wanted to maintain a proportionally short roof. Therefore the angle of the rear window is larger and we added a spoiler at the back. Nevertheless, the total height is 11 mm higher than the 3-door version. But in the middle the roof is just a couple of millimeters higher to create a better balance.” He also pointed at the aerodynamic shape of the black C-styles.
“The nose has kept is bold hexagonal design, with pedestrian protection inside the grille. The honeycomb pattern emphasizes the sportiness of both the Cooper S and SD.”
But the modern 5-door Mini does, because the BMW Group realized that a lot of customers who had been waiting for such a variant, took other models. As the 5-door segment is twice as big as the 3-door segment, it was an obvious choice. The more so, since it is crystal clear that the addition of new variants has worked out very well. Global sales are continuing to grow and Plant Oxford has reached its maximum capacity, reason why BMW made a deal with Dutch company VDL which started production in a plant in The Netherlands last July.
In June, the Auto Channel already published the details of the new five-seater. LINK http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2014/06/05/111183-first-ever-mini-hatch-with-5-doors-arrives-this-autumn.html. It will be available from the market launch with six models, two petrol and two diesel engines and the 6-speed manual transmission as standard in all models.
North-America will get two engines to choose from: the 1.5-liter 3-cylinder in the Mini Cooper Hardtop with 136 hp and 162 pound-feet of maximum torque (170 ft-f b with over boost). The other one is the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder in de Mini Cooper S with 192 hp and 208 pound-feet of torque (221 lb-ft with over boost). The 6-speed Steptronic transmission will be an option for all models except the Mini One D. The Cooper S and Cooper SD can be ordered with the optional 6-speed Steptronic Sport transmission.
First, I drove the Cooper S with the new turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder petrol engine with 141 kW/192 hp and 280 Nm/206 pound-feet of torque (300 Nm/221 lb-ft with over-boost). It is fast and delivers its power spontaneously. But the Cooper S lacks the so-called ‘ go-kart’ feeling of the 3-door variant. That is no surprise as it puts 1240 kg in the scales (60 kg heavier than the 3-door) and it is higher as well. That does not mean that I am disappointed by its handling, especially when realizing that this is a family car that people buy with a different mind set than when they want a go-kart. However, the added weight in combination to the longer wheelbase result in a better stability, especially on somewhat bumpier roads. And also at speed on the short stretch of Motorway, the Mini proved to be very stable.
Handling in tight turns is trustworthy with Cornering brake control and the electronic limited-slip differential, that apply brake force to control wheel spin. The engine is quick and works very well together with the quick-shifting 6-speed sports automatic. And when you push the throttle, over-boost function of the turbocharger adds for a more sporty feeling, however short it is. And when you are a bit too optimistic, the electrically assisted EPS unit with Servotronic function helps to get you back on track again
I also took the Cooper SD for a spin on the country roads and back into town. It has the 3-cylinder diesel engine with TwinPower Turbo Technology Its 2.0-liter diesel engine produces 125 kW/170 hp and 360 Nm/265 pound-feet of torque.
When you start the engine its sound it quite obvious that of a diesel, but on the road, you do not hear it anymore. With its torque of 360 Nm/265 pound-feet, the engine really pulls from 1,500 rpm on and the Sports automatic takes care of the rest, working very well together with the engine, so that also in this respect you do not need to think. When you use the paddle shifters you can also leave it up to the transmission, that takes over when you forget to shift. Only in full manual mode, you have to use the paddles at the steering wheel the way you think is best for your drive.
The best seating position to drive the new Mini is easily found and in the rear, there is ample space for two grown ups, thanks to the longer wheelbase and the increased height of the roof. There is also enough room in the luggage compartment to take two carry-on rollers and a somewhat larger suit case. The content is 67 liter (2.3 cu-ft) more than that of the 3-door Mini: 278 liter and can be extended to 941 liter with the rear seats folded down.
The new Mini, is equipped with the technology and all safety and comfort features that we already know from the 3-door variant. Mini Connected apps are now also available for Android smart phones. The new model can also be customized with the Mini Yours program.
The 2015 Mini 5-door will reach US dealerships as 4-door model at the end of this year and will be on the market in January 2015. Prices are $1,000 over the 2-door variant.
Technical Details Mini 5-dr Cooper S automatic
Engine 4-cylinders, turbocharged Capacity 1,998 cc Power 192 hp @ 4,700-6,000 rpm Torque 207 (210 lb-ft@ 1,250-4,750 rpm Transmission 6-speed automatic Weight 2,733 lbs Length/width/height 158 x 68 x 56.1 in. Wheel base 101.1 in. Luggage compartment 9.8 - 33.2 cu-ft Acceleration 0-62 mph 6.8 sec Top speed 144 mph Fuel cons. city/highw/comb.(est.) 5.4 l/100 km (EU cycle) (43.5 mpg) CO2-emission 125 g/km Price $ 27,200 (incl. $ 850 Dest. & Handling)