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2015 MINI Cooper S 5 Door Review 

Every MINI since day one has been a frothy mix of whimsy and practicality and the 2015 Cooper S 5 Door is rolling proof.

  • MINI 5dr 2015
HIGHLIGHTS
ENGINE
1.5L I-3 FWD
POWER
134hp @ 4,500RPM
CURB WEIGHT
1,247 kg
TORQUE
162 lb.-ft. @ 1,250RPM
FUEL TANK CAPACITY
44.0L
ECONOMY
5.9L/100 km
BASE PRICE
$22240
PRICE AS TESTED
$34330

THE PROS & CONS

    • What’s Best: Still a blast to drive after all these years.
    • What’s Worst: Time to think outside the two-box. See what PGO Automobiles (www.pgo.fr) is doing with the MINI engine and drivetrain.
    • What’s Interesting: How MINI designers and engineers keep coming up with new twists on the icon.

Every MINI since day one has been a frothy mix of whimsy and practicality and the 2015 Cooper S 5 Door is rolling proof.

MINI wasn’t the first to adopt the two-box (one box for engine/drivetrain, second box for people/luggage) but it sure made the most of it.

Like today, the original Mini (upper and lower case back then) was offered in a variety of versions. In fact it was first marketed as the Morris 850 and the Austin Seven before they combined to form BMC (British Motor Corporation) and the Mini name came to the fore.

And just to prove badge engineering is nothing new or unique to North America, it was also sold as the Wolseley Hornet and the Riley Elf. There was even an enlarged spinoff with a 1.8-litre MGB engine mounted in the front called the Maxi.

2015 Mini Cooper S Nose

BMC evolved into British Leyland and then Rover, which soldered on into the 1990s when it was bought in 1994 by BMW and Mini came with it. It was not a match made in heaven (or Munich or Coventry for that matter) and BMW closed Rover down in 2000 but retained MINI (now all upper case), bringing out the first new model in 2001.

That the MINI has been a success is undeniable, but what amazes is how the brand has used the same two-box formula and has spun so many different models from it.

Currently there are nine MINIs available – 3 Door, 5 Door, Coupe, Convertible, Roadster, Clubman, Countryman and Paceman. If you add the John Cooper Works version available on five of the models, the permutations start climbing.

RELATED: 2015 MINI Countryman ALL4 Review

We’re dealing here with the Cooper S 5 Door (Base, $26,740, as tested, $34,330), which like the Cooper 3 Door is built on a new platform with two new engines replacing the former 1.6 turbo four-cylinder.

The Cooper gets a 1.5-litre DOHC inline three-cylinder, while the Cooper S has a 2.0-litre DOHC inline four-cylinder each benefitting from BMW’s twin scroll turbo technology for 134 hp and 162 lb/ft of torque and 189 hp and 207 lb/ft respectively on premium fuel.

2015 Mini Cooper S side view

Standard MINI operating procedure is to add a John Cooper Works version about a year after launch of a new model, so look for the 3 Door as a 2016 model and the 5 Door as a possible 2017.

Tested here is the Cooper S 5 Door with six-speed manual transmission (six-speed Steptronic automatic optional) with a fuel rating of 10.0/7.0/8.6L/100 km city/highway/combined. FYI the automatic gets better mileage at 9.2/7.0/8.2L/100 km. Both have stop/start technology.

PREVIEW: 2015 Mini 5 door

I was surprised that both the 3 Door and 5 Door are considered subcompacts, where I would have guessed the 5 Door fits easily into the compact segment. Another surprise is MINI’s first entry into the compact arena won’t come until the all-new 2016 Clubman arrives later this year.

Both the 3/5 Door share 76 per cent of the same parts, the difference being the extra length for the two additional rear doors.

That also results in cargo area that is 67 litres larger in the 5 Door at 278 litres with the back seat up, 941 litres folded.

2015 Mini Cooper S cargo

Hop into the driver’s seat and you are greeted by one of the most unusual instrument panels in the industry, with lots of circular gauges and air vents, a signature nod to the first Mini with just one, big round gauge with everything in it.

Another heritage design cue is the toggle switches found overhead and on the centre stack.

But this is 2015 and behind the retro is a new display and operating concept which can be supplemented with a screen of up to 8.8-inches fitted in the central instrument cluster as well as the MINI Controller with touch-sensitive surface.

2015 Mini Cooper S front screen

An optional LED light ring for the central instruments provides feedback on driving condition as well as on numerous functions activated by the driver.

2015 Mini Cooper S front interior

One thing you also expect from any MINI is the “go kart” handling that made the original such fun.

With a longer wheelbase, it isn’t as nimble on its toes as a 3 Door, but the extra power of the 2.0-litre more than makes up for it.

This week’s tester was fitted with the manual and I truly do feel sorry for those who have never driven a stick before.

As good as dual-clutch shifters are, there is something about hand selecting the next gear and using the left foot to let the clutch bite. You feel so much more in control.

With all the torque coupled to the lightweight, the MINI 5 Door still scoots ahead and lane changes are accomplished with just a flick of the wheel.

It’s great fun and the kind you can enjoy day in and day out and always come away with a great big grin on your face.

2015 Mini Cooper S rear

2015 MINI Cooper S 5 Door at a glance

BODY STYLE: Sub compact five-door hatchback
DRIVE METHOD: front-engine, front-wheel-drive
ENGINE: 2.0-litre DOHC twin scroll turbo inline four-cylinder (189 hp, 207 lb/ft)
FUEL ECONOMY: (Premium) Six-speed manual 10.0/7.0/8.6L/100 km city/highway/combined; six-speed automatic 9.2/7.0/8.2L/100km.
CARGO VOLUME: 278 litres, 941 litres with rear seats folded
TOW RATING: Not recommended
PRICE: Base, $26,740; as tested, $34,330 including Loaded Package, $1,100; Essential Package, $1,200; Wired Package, $1,400; Visibility Package, $1,200; LED Package, $1,000; hood stripes, $350; metallic paint, $590; Harmon Kardon Sound System, $750; not including $1,655 shipping fee

ROAD TEST: 2014 MINI COOPER S

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