Measuring a compact 4m from nose to tail, the five-door is 72mm longer in the wheelbase than the three-door and 161mm longer overall, with the extra wheelbase length going entirely into the rear cabin. BMW says the new car also offers 15mm more headroom and a useful 61mm of extra interior width “at shoulder height”.
Boot space is now fully competitive with rivals at 278 litres, up 67 litres on the three-door. This just pips the 270-litre boot capacity of the Audi A1, which BMW sees as one of the five-door Mini’s key rivals. With the 60/40 spilt rear seats both folded, the Mini’s maximum load capacity is 941 litres, again ahead of the A1’s 920 litres.
BMW’s engineers have gone beyond simply increasing the basic load capacity of the Mini five-door and added a number of neat features to improve the utility of the car. There’s the option of a folding false boot floor which can be fitted at two different heights, the upper of which allows a completely flat load bay when the seats are folded forward. Unusual extendable clamps have also been fitted to the rear seatbacks, allowing the backs to be locked in an upright position in order to further increase the load space.
Subjectively, this new Mini’s looks appear better balanced than those of the three-door. The longer, higher nose of the Mk3 hatch is now offset by the car’s extra length. The five-door is also marked out by a distinctive shoulder on its rear rather than having the three-door’s near-upright tailgate.
The rear doors are short, although the height of the door aperture aids access to the rear cabin for taller adults, and while the front sports seats fitted to the car pictured here are substantial, their backs feature a large cut-out to accommodate the knees of taller rear passengers. The low roofline is also relieved inside with a ‘scooped-out’ headlining, which offers surprisingly decent headroom.
While getting in and out requires some agility, a 6ft-tall rear passenger can sit behind a similarly sized driver, albeit with just a few millimetres of knee and head clearance.
In the front, the new dashboard intrudes on the driver’s sense of space and the seating position remains unusually low, but there’s a decent amount of shoulder-room for two adults.
Mini sources believe the new five-door model will attract more male buyers and help to “de-feminise the brand” and balance the split between male and female customers.
Industry wisdom suggests that female car buyers will buy a model that is seen as a ‘male car’ but male buyers will not buy what’s perceived as ‘female’. This sub-strategy might also explain why the third model to appear in the Mk3 Mini range will be the longer and wider Clubman sports estate rather than the popular convertible.
The five-door will be available in three solid and nine metallic colours, including the colour pictured above, which has been revived from the original launch colours for the 2001 Mini Cooper S. A black or white roof and door mirror caps are no-cost options.
BMW is also offering the option of a mobile phone SIM card that can be embedded in the dash. This can be used with an emergency call system to contact a central call centre in the event of a collision, transferring information such as the car’s location, the number of vehicle occupants and which airbags may have been triggered.
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