The only sure prediction of the weather is that it’s unpredictable. In similar fashion, just when you think you have the Mini line-up figured out, in storms a new model. Officially, this is the Mini Cooper Hardtop 4 door. But, call it whatever you want, it still looks like fun to us.
If you’re keeping up, you’ll know that the “new” Mini Cooper is well into its 3rd generation. It kicked off last year with a redesign of the quintessential Hardtop 2 Door. So, this year that new platform will envelop more models, the first being a 2015 Hardtop 4 Door.
Though it adds 2 doors, 3 inches of wheelbase, and 6 inches of overall length; the spirit, style, and enjoyment factors of the iconic Cooper hardtop remain fully intact.
So, there’s still the friendly wide mouth face, long flat roof, and slanted hatchback with prominent spoiler up top that we’ve all come to love.
Technically a first time model, as it replaces the quirky 3-door Clubman, the Hardtop 4 Door follows the traditional Mini formula with both regular and S model. S trim adds a honeycomb grille with brake cooling ducts just below.
At the rear, there’s a unique fascia with dual, center mounted exhaust tips; and of course multiple treatments for the roof and hood stripes. LED headlights are an option; and much like the taillights; they appear larger in size with each new generation. A Sport Package upgrades the standard 16-inch alloy wheels to 17s.
Powertrains carry over from the 2 Door, which means a 134–horsepower I3 turbo is standard. It sounds solid with more than adequate power for most owners. S models get the 2.0-liter turbo-4, with 189–horsepower and up to 221 lb-ft. of torque when overboost is engaged. It easily goes better, but generates less satisfying sounds than the 3-cylinder.
A 6-speed automatic is available, but we guarantee you’ll have much more fun if you stick with the standard 6-speed manual and its impressive mechanical feel.
Of course the whole reasoning for offering the 4 Door is to make the rear seats more accommodating. And while access is certainly improved, we’re still talking about young teenager-size space, though an added center seatbelt means you can now cram one more back there in a pinch.
The traditional rear doors also make things easier for tossing in a bag, or reaching cargo with the rear seats folded. Maximum cargo space climbs to 40.7 cubic-ft., although that’s still less than in the equally entertaining Volkswagen GTI.
As for the living space up front, it’s remains a truly unique place to take in some scenery; even though the large, active LED-ringed central pod now serves as a more traditional infotainment display, including optional navigation. All of the traditional gauges have been moved to the steering column. While we miss the central speedo, this setup is worlds better.
Thankfully, all of the playful toggle-style controls remain, as it’s refreshing to not have to do everything through a touchscreen for a change.
When zipping around with those additional friends on board, the ride of the 4 Door Cooper S is still stiffer than most would like, yet another reason to stick with the base Cooper; but the additional wheelbase makes it seem a little smoother than the 2 Door.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for a 4 Door Cooper S manual are 24-City, 34-Highway, and 27-Combined. We averaged an acceptable 26.1 miles-per-gallon of Premium. So the Energy Impact Score is a good one, with 12.2-barrels of oil burned and 5.4 tons of CO2 emitted annually.
Prices start very reasonably at just $1,000 over the 2 Door prices, putting a base Cooper 4 Door at $22,550. The S starts $25,950. But, it won’t take you long to get well over $30,000 should you check more than a few boxes on the order sheet.
So, it’s yet another unique offering from Mini; as they seem to be doing as good a job as ever of making the new even more charmingly familiar. And while the 2015 Mini Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is not quite as roomy as the borderline-crossover Countryman, it’s much more useful than the 2 door; and a lot more sensible than the odd-ball Clubman. But you don’t buy any Mini for its sensibleness, you buy it… for the fun of it!
Engine: 2.0 liter
Torque: 207 lb-ft.
EPA: 24 mpg city/ 34 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 12.2 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 5.4 tons/yr