Young families rejoice, for MINI has brought us a five-door variant (yes count them), that is not only bigger but also slightly spacious as well as having greater engine displacement and ... power.
Not to mention, the ladies would seriously find this five-door runner a joy to drive with its mesmerising colours and animations at the front of the cabin to keep the young ones buckled-up at the rear, while enjoying what the car has to offer - performance and practicality.
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Guys fret not, for although this new MINI has strong appeal among the ladies, the performance is assured to be “grin-tastic”.
The new third generation MINI (F56) with five doors that we tested is currently priced at RM236,888 on-the-road including GST without insurance. It shares the UKL 1 platform with the MINI Clubman (F54), which simply means the interior boasts more legroom and elbowroom for passengers in the rear.
What we loved the most was the Jukebox-like multifunction appearance with a 6.5-inch LCD display that’s surrounded by a LED light bar, which flashes green when in “Green” mode and red when in “Sport” mode.
But we’d have to say that the biggest improvement would be the boot space that’s been increased by 118 litres to 278 litres compared to the second generation MINI Cooper (R56).
The five-door Cooper S is significantly larger than the outgoing R56 with a wheelbase of 2,567mm (+100mm); it stands 1,425mm-tall (+18mm), 1,727mm-wide (+43mm) and 4,005mm-long (+276mm).
Despite the increase in dimensions, it still retains those subtle curves all around, the flat “floating roof” and the lack of overhang for the front and rear, which proudly states its bloodline.
Under the hood, lies a 2.0-litre turbocharged B48 engine from BMW (marking a departure from the Prince engine), and married to a six-speed gearbox which produces 189hp from 4,700 to 6,000rpm and 280Nm (overboost: 300Nm) of torque from 1,250rpm.
While rolling on 17-inch wheels with 205/45 series tyres, the five-door is capable of sprinting from 0-100kph in 6.8 seconds and onwards to a top speed of 230kph.
The dashboard design goes back to more conventional ways where the tachometer and speedometer are located behind the steering wheel.
The most significant part about the five-door MINI is the ease in which all of us can get in and plonk ourselves on the comfortable anthracite-leather seats. It simply feels far less claustrophobic than before.
As for cabin space, the five-door MINI has made a quantum leap forward and admittedly, after taking a seat in the relatively upright position and flipping the bright red start-stop engine toggle to fire up the B48 engine, the tune seems to indicate performance.
Rolling off the line, many would already surmise that the five-door MINI’s ride is a stiff one and that’s just in normal mode; Green mode will have the suspension feel marginally less harsh and the engine a little less responsive if comfort and economy are the priorities.
Sport mode simply transforms the car into something else. The exhaust pops and crackles, the suspension disallows roll, the gearbox hastens the shifts and the engine perpetually wants to reside nearer to the red zone.
Piloting this plus-sized MINI is effortless; the view is aplenty with the cabin feeling cosy while the controls are within easy reach and rear-seated passengers actually feel a touch of comfort.
The go-kart handling characteristics are very much pronounced when flinging it around corners although it could do with a little more firmness to its bite when getting up to and probably over our highway’s speed limits.
When travelling above the 115kph, wind noise will become quite apparent, which could be attributed to the rather upright windscreen.
It doesn’t seem that aerodynamic at all, but it’s been infused with dollops of fun that simply perks up anyone that needs a little “pick-me-up” - it simply welcomes everyone with open doors.
Although the MINI’s gotten larger, there’s always “room” for improvement and while the rear doors have added practicality to them, it can be a tad challenging for those with bigger body size.
We also found that while the car was still moving, it was possible to shift the stalky gear selector into reverse - which wasn’t alarming, till we looked down and realised what had happened.
A locking mechanism or some sort would be very much preferred once its gone out of gear and simply requiring the driver to press the button on the gear shifter to re-engage it would be best.
Although the car is still rather compact, the ladies seem to all agree that a reverse camera and a powered tailgate would ideally complete the package when parking and removing their collapsible pram from this “five-door cutesy” (their words).
But with its newfound levels of practicality, the five-door MINI is able to bridge the emotional divide between man and machine - making it a bundle of joy, especially with its more powerful engine.