MINI 5-door hatchback - Engines, drive & performance
For its blend of performance and economy we’d recommend the MINI 5-door Cooper model
A MINI wouldn’t be a MINI if it didn’t have buckets of character and wasn’t good fun to drive: fortunately, the MINI 5-door has both of these qualities in abundance. It’s slightly heavier than the three-door model, but it still handles like a go-kart, with lots of grip and light, accurate steering that ensures the nose goes exactly where you point it. The ride is on the firm side but settles down comfortably at motorway speeds, and there’s very little lean in corners. With adaptive suspension fitted, the MINI offers more composure and comfort than sporty rivals like the SEAT Ibiza FR.
It's a shame the Cooper S can't quite match up to a Ford Fiesta ST because it doesn't quite have the Ford's level of involvement. This is mainly because of the steering, which is fast to respond but doesn't offer much feedback.
MINI introduced a dual-clutch DCT seven-speed automatic gearbox to replace the older six-speed automatic, and the new gearbox is more in keeping with the MINI's sporty nature, providing smooth yet rapid gear changes - but we wish there were shift paddles behind the steering wheel.
MINI 5-door petrol engines
The MINI One is powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine that produces 101bhp. 0-62mph takes 10.6 seconds, and this engine feels perfectly able to deal with the cut and thrust of urban traffic, while still returning decent fuel economy.
A 134bhp version of the same 1.5-litre engine is found in the MINI Cooper, and the extra power has a marked effect on acceleration. It emits an eager rasp on its way from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds. That should be fast enough for most people and its revvy character makes it the better choice for enthusiasts. In fact, we think it's the sweet spot in the MINI 5-door range.
But if the Cooper isn’t fast enough, there’s always the MINI Cooper S, with a 176bhp 2.0-litre engine that catapults the five-door from 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds - just a tenth of a second slower than the equivalent three-door. It feels quick thanks to plentiful pulling power but the engine doesn't sound very inspiring, which is a shame considering the original Cooper S was famed for its burbling exhaust and characterful supercharger whine.
The MINI 5-door is the only petrol MINI model not to feature a range-topping John Cooper Works edition, so you’ll need to upgrade to the MINI Clubman JCW or Countryman JCW if you want the best possible performance and need rear doors. The Sport trim still features all the JCW badges, like in the picture above, but without the extra power.
While the regular three-door MINI hatchback is now available with a pure-electric powertrain, there’s no indication that the manufacturer will be building a five-door model. This is a shame, as the electric powertrain really suits the MINI hatchback, with it being as sporty and surefooted to drive as the petrol-powered version. We’ve reviewed the MINI Electric separately here.