Test Drive: 2015 Mini Five Door Cooper S

“Mini, Mini, Mini, Mini – Mini Mini Mini Mini – MINIIIIII!” That’s my Mini song. It’s about the Mini and it is sung to the tune of the Batman theme. You might remember this from the time I drove a Mini Cooper S hatch in 2013, or the time I drove the new and revised Mini in April. Or the time we pitted it against a Fiesta ST for our own personal enjoyment a very important comparison test offering insight for a prospective consumer.

Ah, Mini. But wait... so why, apart from Jacob’s rabid fanboi-ism is he doing yet another Mini review?! Well, those ones all had three doors. And they sucked for things like carrying stuff, or putting my daughter’s car seat in the back, or stretching my legs.

This one has the same sorts of pros. There is the go-kart like handling, the direct-as-an-affronted-Aussie steering, the incredible twin-scroll turbocharged 2.0L engine and the crisp six-speed gearbox.

You get the 189 hp at 4,700 rpm, the  207 lb-ft at 1,250 rpm and the oh-so joyous exhaust burble on liftoff. You get the supportive and comfortable seats, the meaty, responsive steering wheel, and the solid, confidence-inspiring brakes.

“Mini, Mini, Mini, Mini – Mini Mini Mini Mini – MINIIIIII!” That’s my Mini song. It’s about the Mini and it is sung to the tune of the Batman theme...

You also get five doors. Plus appreciably more rear-seat legroom and, just by eyeballing it, about twice the cargo space.

A quick note: if you’re in America it’s called a “Four Door”. Goodness knows how they access the cargo compartment.

In actuality the cargo volume difference is 211 L to 278 L, but the Five Door has at least six inches more space from tailgate to the back seat. It’s enough now to fit a carry-on suitcase or one of my very large backpacks.

The rear legroom is likewise only 37 mm more at 820, but that 4 cm (1.5 inches) makes a world of difference. The ease of access provided by the rear doors makes life far easier, too. As I and my wife both said, this is now perfectly sized for us. We’ve both driven the Hellcat lately though – so we think it needs more power!

In all seriousness, for our city-dwelling family, the Mini is ideal. Ideal. It is beautifully sized, a hoot to drive and big enough to take on both of us plus my four-year-old daughter. It even has spring-load covered ISOFIX (LATCH) anchors for easily attaching child seats.

None of the added size carries much penalty. Weight-wise, the Five Door is just 66 kg heavier than the three door at a svelte 1,313 kg. Fuel economy wise, the EPA rates them identically at 9.8/6.9/8.7 L/100 km city/highway/combined. I ended my week exactly matching the combined rating - and I drove like a madman.

I’m sorry, dear reader, but I have no complaints to give you about this car!

I could tell you how the double-panel sunroof lets a little too much wind noise in, but then I’d have to tell you about the double-panel sunroof with all its light, and that you can snap the covers closed and it actually helps cut down the wind noise a lot.

I could tell you about the finicky buttons and controls for things like heated seats – but they already fixed that in this generation. The seat heater buttons are clearly labelled, the window winder switches are on the door. Perfect.

I’ve spoken before about the Mini-fication of BMW’s iDrive sytem. It’s brilliant. The iDrive system takes some getting used to, but being able to perform any and all functions with a few millimetres of fingertip movement and nothing more is spectacular. This one had the Harman/Kardon sound system (a $750 option) and sounded as good as it felt to use.

The puck controller doubles as a writing pad, so you can simply spell your destination if you want – and most of us can write letters with our fingers without ever taking our eyes off the road.

The BMW/Mini system isn’t overrun with nannies – if you want to do something, you can. Or your passenger can. Whether you’re moving or not. Perfect. Voice to text is a bit wonky and prone to misfire though –  so I guess there is a minor complaint to be had.

You can call up the “driving excitement” display to get a real-time readout of your torque and horsepower usage, but be warned it will make your daughter tell you you’re not using enough. Mini has covered that attitude too – simply turn down one notch to the Auto Okay setting and you get a cute, 30-second animation as the car checks all its systems.

When it tells you the external temperature the Mini is wearing a toque! A toque! If you’re motor is at peak operating temperature, it says so, and shows you a rocket. My daughter cackled her little heart out. Or I did. One of the two.

You can get into a Mini Five Door Cooper S for $26,740. That’s a heck of a lot of fun. The options soon add up though; our tester, as it sat with an almost full suite of add-ons was $33,740 before freight and PDI.

Some of those options were downright necessary. Essentials Package? You’ll need that. It’s $1,200 and includes fog lights front and rear, the panoramic sunroof and crucially for Canada – heated seats.

The $1,400 Wired Package is also too good to pass up- it comes with Bluetooth and USB Audio, navigation, eight-inch touchscreen with puck controller and the Mini Connected internet availability.

For another $1,200 you get rear-view camera, park assistant and head-up display. The head-up display is cool, but this car is still only 4,013 mm long (155 mm longer than the three door) so the rear-view camera and park assistant are nice but nonessential.

The LED Lights package nets LED headlights and fog lights plus white indicators for $1,000. The lights are spectacular, but personally I’d save the grand.

There are bonnet stripes on our tester ($350 if you’re interested) and the previously mentioned $750 sound system.

Those last four represent a total of $3,300 I would save – but I’m still shy of the sub-$30K magic line. And this is where I encounter a dilemma.

The Loaded Package at $1,100 gets you a bunch of mundane things like automatic climate control, comfort access, auto-dimming interior mirror, front-centre armrest and a rain sensor with auto headlamps – plus a completely necessary thing: Dynamic Damper Control.

The secret to the new Mini’s ability to actually ride over bumps – as opposed to hilariously catapulting its occupants into the headliner – is a more refined suspension setup and hardware. The adaptive suspension lets you take advantage of that, while still giving you access to the “I think I skinned my bum on that one” exhilaration of the previous generation.

In short you get to access the refinement and the raggedness all at once. I’m not sure I could forego that. Nah, I could. Turf the loaded package, add in the $250 sports suspension option and BOOM. Mini of Jacob’s dreams for under $30K - $29,590 to be exact.

I’m a genius really. [And also elegant, or so I hear... –Ed.] But wait – there’s a fly in my ointment. BMW did not include the Blue Metallic Paint cost in the as-tested price on this score sheet. They also didn’t note on the spec sheet this was a Cooper S – but I noticed all the badges and extra power and stuff. Without paying $590 for a decent colour you’re stuck with white, red or a horrible yellow-orange. That brings me $180 over my budget.

Wait, when did I start caring about budgets? Oh that’s right, I have a family now. Which brings me to my final point.

Any Mini with a Cooper S drivetrain and brake package is a thing of pure wonder and joy. The question is, what sort of joy do you carry with you? The three-door Mini is for people who’ve never grown up at all and don’t intend to. People who are children at heart, and embody that heart in everything they do.

The Mini Five Door is for all the people who have been dragged kicking and screaming into adulthood, but then realized that being a real adult with children and responsibilities is bulk fun in its own right. People who don’t want to hide their inner child from their actual child.

“Burble burble”. Giggle.

 

2015 Mini Five Door Cooper S
articles_PricingType 2015 Mini Five Door Cooper S
Base Price $26,740
A/C Tax $100
Destination Fee $1,655
Price as Tested $34,330
Optional Equipment Blue Metallic paint - $590, Loaded Package - $1,100, Essentials Package - $1,200, Wired Package - $1,400, Visibility package - $1,200, LED Lights Package - $1,000, Bonnet stripes - $350, Harmon Kardon Sound System - $750.
Optional Equipment
10 0
Scoring breakdowns 8.4
10 Exterior Styling
9 Performance
8 Interior
8 Comfort
7 Fuel Economy