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Marvellous Mini’s growth spurt

13.11.2014

I’M a huge history fan and believe everything has a story behind it. So when BMW revived the much loved Mini brand a good few years ago, I welcomed the new generation of this British icon as it continues to grow and evolve.

In fact, earlier this year we saw the arrival of the new Mini, which I was fortunate enough to drive at launch and was glad to see its bloodline still remained true, particularly when it came to the styling and go-kart like handling.

I admire what Mini has done when it comes to stretching and pulling the Mini’s bodies into various shapes and forms to satisfy customers’ demands. While they might not appeal to everyone, variety is the spice of life and the newest addition to the Mini family works well.

It’s difficult to imagine that the British premium brand has never done it before, but the new five-door Mini is a practical revelation.

The thinking behind it is simple: Customers purchasing the Mini three-door will one day become parents or grow their family and will need a practical solution, while remaining with the brand.

Growth spurt

Enter the five-door Mini, which enjoys an increased wheel base of 72mm as well as 72mm more legroom. Furthermore, the luggage space grows by 67 litres to a usable 278 litres. To make the car more practical, the body length has grown by 161mm to 3 982mm (Mini Cooper S five-door is 4 005mm) and has grown about a head taller, too.

Looky-looky

From a styling perspective, the new derivative retains all the same lines and curves as its skinnier three-door sibling. The hexagonal radiator grille, headlamps and rear lights with wide chrome surrounds still make an appearance. The ultra-modern design ushers in the new era for the brand and the strong stance works well with the various design elements. For the Cooper S, a roof and exterior mirror caps in contrasting colour can be added on request at no extra charge.

Can you handle it?

Driving dynamics and handling for the new model haven’t changed and the car still feels nippy and fun to drive as it delivers a responsive feel behind the wheel. The same engines also do duty as the twin power turbo three-cylinder engine with 100kW is the pick of the bunch. I thoroughly enjoyed this powertrain’s tug and sporty attitude last time and it remains the same. The Cooper S will still boast the four-cylinder 141kW petrol engine, available with the standard six-speed manual box or an optional six-speed Steptronic transmission.

The increased weight of 60kg does affect the performance slightly, but it won’t be felt in everyday life. The Cooper S will go from 0-100km/h in 6.9 seconds and the three-cylinder will take around 8.2 seconds.

It’s a small sacrifice for added usability and I do believe this new offering will open the brand to a new range of customers.

The new Mini five-door comes with a five-year/100 000km maintenance plan.

Pricing:

Mini Hatch (M)  R305 000
Mini Hatch (A) R321 900
Mini Cooper S (M) R372 000
Mini Cooper S (A)  R388 900

     

Article written by Stuart Moir
13.11.2014
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