It was while looking at the new five-door Mini under the studio lights that I finally wished that BMW would build a full-blown Golf rival under the Mini brand. 

Add another 25cm to the length, stretching the rear cabin and boot, and give the big Mini a slightly more aggressive bum-up stance, and bingo – you’ve got a viable, big-selling Euro-hatchback. 

It would also have Golf-beating quality and the sort of premium image that will ensure BMW sells them to paying customers at healthy transaction prices. 

What’s most striking about the new-generation car is the sheer quality of its execution. The doors are weighty in the hand and close with a marvellous thwack. The quality of the interior fittings – especially the dashboard – isn’t so far adrift of what you’d find in big premium cars.