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First drive: MINI 5 door Cooper S. Image by MINI.

First drive: MINI 5 door Cooper S
The Cooper S version of the new MINI 5 door is competent, but we'd stick with the diesels.

   



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MINI 5 door Cooper S

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Ok, so the Cooper S version of the new MINI 5 door isn't the most important model for the British market, but there are few direct rivals on sale with its combination of 192hp performance, 52.3mpg economy and, now, five-door practicality - all for well under 20,000.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: MINI 5 door Cooper S auto
Pricing: 5 door Cooper S starts at 19,255
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol
Transmission: front-wheel drive, six-speed automatic (six-speed manual is standard)
Body style: five-door hatchback
CO2 emissions: 125g/km (Band D, 110 per year)
Combined economy: 52.3mpg
Top speed: 143mph
0-62mph: 6.8 seconds
Power: 192hp at 4,700- to 6,000rpm
Torque: 280Nm at 1,250- to 4,750rpm (up to 300Nm on overboost)

Exterior Design: 2 2 2 2 2

Subjective, perhaps, but we don't like the protruding nose of the new MINI, nor the awkward rear haunches and slope of the back window on the 5 door model. Choose your colours and wheels carefully.

Interior Ambience: 4 4 4 4 4

Real premium quality inside with tactile switchgear and plenty of material options. We could do without some of the tackier functions of the ambient lighting and some of the graphics are very cheesy, but a big step forward from the previous MINI.

Passenger Space: 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Much better in the rear than the regular MINI thanks to 72mm more in the wheelbase, but adequate rather than generous space in comparison to other cars. No legroom for centre rear passenger. Front seat occupants can stretch out in all directions of course.

Luggage Space: 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

The boot is about 32 per cent larger than the three-door MINI's, which existing owners will love. That means it carries more stuff than the Audi A1 Sportback too. Plenty of oddment storage space in the cabin as well.

Safety: 4 4 4 4 4

The latest MINI Hatch hasn't been through the Euro NCAP tests as yet, though given its predecessor's score we'd expect it to get five stars. Until it does we'll not. All MINI 5 doors get front and side airbags, plus curtain airbags for the front and rear seats. ISOFIX child seat mountings are standard in the back.

Comfort: 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

The longer wheelbase of the 5 door model helps reduce the tendency of the MINI to bobble about on certain surfaces, but the Cooper S model remains firm on the road - if not excessively so.

Driving Dynamics: 4 4 4 4 4

It's expected that most buyers of the MINI 5 door will be a little less interested in its on-the-limit behaviour, instead just hoping it feels as agile and direct in everyday driving. It certainly does that, making it more engaging than most cars in the class. In comparison to the MINI 3 door the steering is a little slower (though still wonderfully direct) and the car is a fraction less agile and adjustable mid-corner. Nonetheless, up the pace and the Cooper S model responds keenly making it as quick a coverer of ground as ever. Torque steer is kept to a minimum and the front wheels deal well with the performance on tap - in the dry at least.

Powertrain: 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

There's nothing much wrong with the turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine under the bonnet; we just don't think it suits the 5 door variant very well. At low revs it sounds good, especially in Sport mode, where there are pops and bangs from the exhaust every time you let off the throttle. It's quiet otherwise though, and very smooth. Sadly, while extending it to the redline is necessary to access full performance, it's not rewarded by an interesting exhaust note. The six-speed automatic transmission is a good partner for it, smoothly shifting between ratios in default mode, speeding things up in the Sport setting and allowing the driver to take control with a set of paddles behind the steering wheel. We'd still prefer the excellent (standard) six-speed manual gearbox.

Potential Alternative

The Audi A1 Sportback can be ordered with a 185hp 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine under the bonnet. It's only offered in the sportier S line trim level and with the S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission, which makes it a very close specification to the MINI tested here. The Audi is 22,040 on-the-road, though, even if it's more attractive looking to our eyes.

What to Order?

Given that the 5 door is just 600 more than the regular MINI, it really does come down to practical needs. We'd stick with the 3 door version unless we needed the easier access to the rear seats and the bigger boot. We'd also favour the Cooper D over the Cooper S, and not just because of its enhanced efficiency numbers - it's just as good to drive, fast enough for anyone and, as a bonus, nearly 2,000 cheaper.

Regardless of which 5 door variant you opt for, the standard specification is generous, including as a minimum, air conditioning, Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Leather upholstery really lifts the interior and go for a dark metallic colour to make the car look its best.


Shane O' Donoghue - 14 Sep 2014



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2014 MINI 5 door Cooper S. Image by MINI.2014 MINI 5 door Cooper S. Image by MINI.2014 MINI 5 door Cooper S. Image by MINI.2014 MINI 5 door Cooper S. Image by MINI.2014 MINI 5 door Cooper S. Image by MINI.

2014 MINI 5 door Cooper S. Image by MINI.2014 MINI 5 door Cooper S. Image by MINI.2014 MINI 5 door Cooper S. Image by MINI.2014 MINI 5 door Cooper S. Image by MINI.2014 MINI 5 door Cooper S. Image by MINI.



2014 MINI 5 door Cooper S. Image by MINI.
 

2014 MINI 5 door Cooper S. Image by MINI.
 

2014 MINI 5 door Cooper S. Image by MINI.
 

2014 MINI 5 door Cooper S. Image by MINI.
 

2014 MINI 5 door Cooper S. Image by MINI.
 

2014 MINI 5 door Cooper S. Image by MINI.
 

2014 MINI 5 door Cooper S. Image by MINI.
 

2014 MINI 5 door Cooper S. Image by MINI.
 






 

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