For those who have always fretted about the BMW owned iconic British carmaker putting 2 doors less in their cars, there’s some good news. For those who’ve loved the 3-door Minis for the same reason, the exact opposite is in play. The beloved 3-door Mini is going 5-door in order to be able to compete with the likes of the little Mercedes’ and Volkswagens.
The 3rd generation Mini comes with a fresh new styling and thus adds an all new variant in the super hatch lineup since no Mini ever before – except for the clubman and countryman – had had more than 3 doors. The new Mini has been stretched by a total of 161 mm, 72 of which goes into the elongated wheelbase and the rest adds to the rear cargo space and bumper. The overhangs on either end are still relatively short, but a closer look does indeed assure that it looks stretched. For a car that has always been seen as this quick, taut, road legal go-kart sort of compact with its wheels all the way out, the obvious stretching can appeal to some, and appall the rest.
New horseshoe daytime running lights
Overall, the styling is well in line with what the next generation of Minis should be like, keeping the design identity of the original Mini alive and complete with the new horseshoe signature daytime running lights, a fresh new front grille and rear hatch, cosmetic treatment for the tail lamps and rear bumper details. The 3rd generation Mini is well finished and more, in comparison to its predecessors and even the major upgrade in question – the two rear doors – look as much a part of the complete package both visually and functionally, as any other part of the car and fit in quite well.
From the rear three quarter perspective, when one sees it drive away, the car gives away the actual “stretch” that it has undergone. The overall length is well under 4 metres at 3982 mm, and the SD version tips just slightly over, at 4005 mm. Available in three variants like the 3-door Minis, the 5-door versions are called Mini One, Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S. The diesel variants have a D suffixed to their name.
The Engines offered on the next gen Minis are just about the same as their previous lineup. There are three petrol units – a 3 cylinder, 1.2 litre, 102 bhp version for the Mini One, a 3 cylinder 1.5 litre, 136 bhp version for the Cooper, and a big 2.0 litre, 4 cylinder 192 bhp version for the Cooper S. The three diesel units comprise of a 1.5 litre, 3 cylinder, 95 bhp machine for the One D, a 3 cylinder, 1.5 litre, 116 bhp one for the Cooper D, and a 2.0 litre, 4 cylinder engine that produces 170 bhp for the Cooper SD. All the engines come factory fitted with BMW’s Twinpower Turbo technology.
Better ride quality
From those who’ve lived the experience of driving it before it hits the display and goes up for sale, the car feels heavier and bigger than the 3-door versions. With the space and feel of a large hatch, the Mini retains its precision handling and great steering response and drive quality. The diesel unit packs quite a punch and makes a lot of noise, automatically instigating the person with the steering wheel in his hands to misbehave with it a bit, and it takes it all without the slightest hiccup. It drives its best in the Sport mode, where the throttle response and gear shifts are well in sync and car displays great agility, tightens up quick and nice and delivers the promised “go kart” experience, although for the sake of it maybe, or a lighter more relaxed drive, one could toy with the Mid and Green modes as well.
The paddle shifters are great fun and drive the transmission like a knife through melted butter. On the more rough and bumpy roads, the car shows how it isn’t soft like its previous version and the longer wheelbase provides for a far better ride quality. This exciting development is just the right thing to appeal to Indian buyers.
With the flood of European and other imported hatchbacks in the Indian market, it is of great importance for BMW to bring the new range of 3 and 5-door Minis to India. The “Long” man will hit our shores hopefully by late October or November this year and will be brought in as a Complete Body Unit CBU. The pricing can be expected to be in the 30-35 lakh range.
Stay tuned to the Big Mini. Winter is coming.