With the 2015 MINI Cooper S 4-Door, it’s obvious that MINI is still in the business of making bigger cars. While it enrages some, it may appeal to folks who could care less about the brand’s history and more about driving dynamics. Because the 2015 MINI Cooper S 4-Door is a great driver’s car.
… but it’s not very MINI-ish…
Compared to a regular New MINI, the 2015 MINI Cooper S 4-Door has 2.9-inches of additional wheelbase and it is 6.3-inches longer. This allows 1.5-inches of extra space for the back seat passengers and 4.4 cubic feet of additional cargo space (13.1 additional cubic feet of cargo space). Maximum cargo space is 40.7 cubes with the back seats folded.
The 2015 MINI Cooper S 4-Door now has a proper 60/40 split rear seat. This means that (technically) you can hold up to three people in the back, or two people with a large item laying on the 40% side. These seats fold fairly flat, but overall space is less than vehicles like to Toyota Yaris or Honda Fit.
Regular-sized adults can fit in the back fairly comfortably. The driver, even if he/she were slightly over six-feet tall, can move up quite a bit as front legroom is surprisingly generous. The rear passenger has space for his or her knees as the front seat-backs are scalloped out for additional knee-room.
Grade school and middle-school children find it pretty comfortable.
MINI’s turbocharged 189 horsepower (at 6,000 rpm) 2-liter, four-cylinder engine makes 207 lbs-feet of torque way down at 1250 rpm. Our tester was equipped with a six-speed automatic gearbox with paddle-shifter. Despite preferring BMW’s excellent manual transmissions this six-speed auto is one of the best in its bracket.
MINI’s official EPA numbers are 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway; and my average (after hard driving) was an impressive 27 mpg.
With a base price of $21,700 for the base model, our tester’s MSRP was $36,900.
Depending on the packaging and drivetrain, the 2015 MINI Cooper S 4-Door can weigh up to 135-lbs more than its 2-door equivalent. It’s not very noticeable; however, at the track and equipped with snow tires, the 2015 MINI Cooper S Hardtop 4-Door was a few seconds off the pace of its smaller brethren. Much of that has to do with the tires, but that extra weight is bound to slow it down too.
The biggest gripe is directed at the BMW-sourced iDrive infotainment system. It is very difficult to use, not particularly intuitive and it is not very user friendly. But, how about those speakers? Once you do figure out the system, acoustics are awesome.
As for the interior? It’s nearly identical to the smaller MINI with the exception of the two extra door handles.
It competes against vehicles like the Volkswagen GTI (4-door), Ford Focus ST and even the Mercedes-Benz GLA. It’s more expensive than most, but It has an identity all of its own and it’s a unique feeling machine. Its lack of ubiquity makes it special; that and its love for being driven very hard.
Despite the extra bulk, the 2015 MINI Cooper S 4-Door is one of the best (daily) diving MINIS built. It’s extra length makes for a much more compliant and sophisticated highway ride. It’s just as nimble feeling as the smaller one, but this one actually feels more car-like and less go-kart-like. It holds more, feels settled and solid while never forgetting it’s built for fun.
Every time you sit in it, you forget its elongated, awkward exterior and remember how much fun it is to drive. It may not be what people consider a “MINI” to be, but it IS a great car to drive – whatever you choose to call it.
Here’s the snow tires we used while testing.