2015 MINI Cooper S 4 Door Hardtop Test Drive

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“2015 MINI Cooper S 4 Door Hardtop”
A stretched Hardtop with two additional doors
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For those who favored the MINI Cooper S Hardtop Coupe, but wanted the convenience of a couple of extra doors, your wish is granted. There is now a 2015 MINI Cooper S 4 Door Hardtop. This means that there’s more MINI, with more possibilities, coming to market only a few months following the launch of the MINI Hardtop 2 door.


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The loveable and iconic exterior of the 2-door hardtop MINI has authentically morphed over into a new body style with added utility and function along with an extra two doors without losing any of its go-kart-like handling capability and all the while retaining the same basic pleasing proportions of the hardtop coupe.

The new MINI Hardtop 4 Door joins the growing MINI family, which now consists of more shapes and sizes than ever before, with more than 20 possibilities. As part of the basic family, there’s the MINI Hardtop 2 Door and 4 Door. The MINI Countryman, MINI Paceman, MINI Convertible, MINI Coupe, MINI Roadster and MINI John Cooper Works. Many of the models offer both Cooper and Cooper S versions and some are available with 4-Wheel-Drive.

The wheelbase of the new MINI Hardtop 4 Door has been extended by 2.9-inches, with the body having been lengthened by 6.3-inches. Headroom is increased 0.5-inches more than the 2-door, with the interior width bumped up by 1.8-inches at shoulder height. All of this equates to an additional luggage compartment space of 0.5 cubic feet for a total of 9.2 cubic feet. There’s room for three in the rear now, and versatility is enhanced by the 60/40 split folding rear seat back.
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Two engines are available to choose from for propulsion for the MINI Hardtop 4-door – both with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology. First up, a 3-cylinder engine with a peak output of 134 bhp powers the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 door. 189 bhp is the output of the 4-cylinder engine in the MINI Cooper S Hardtop 4 door. This latest generation of engines ensures an exceptionally favorable balance between driving fun and fuel consumption with the likewise newly developed 6-speed manual and 6-speed Steptronic transmissions as well as extensive MINIMALISM technology. The go-kart feeling, typical of MINI is ensured thanks to a model-specific version of the refined suspension technology. Dynamic Damper Control with adjustable dampers is optionally available for the MINI Hardtop 4 door. The MINI driving modes ensure made-to-measure sporty flair and comfort.

Functional qualities of the 4-door model are reflected in the clarity of its lines. Its unique roofline and the emphasis of the rear section draw attention to its extended length, while the increased overall height reflects the improved headroom. The design pays homage to the car’s historical roots as well as serving as an evolutionary refinement of the contemporary vehicle concept. Characteristic MINI proportions provide a compact and powerful appearance that underscores the MINI Hardtop 4 door’s extended length. The functional qualities of the 4-door model are also reflected in the clarity of its lines. The unique roofline and the emphasis of the rear section draw attention to the extended length, while the increased overall height reflects the improvement in headroom. The design reflects the car’s historical roots as well as being an evolutionary refinement of the contemporary vehicle concept. Characteristic MINI proportions ensure a compact and powerful appearance which points to the agility of the MINI Hardtop 4 door, as well as its consistency of driving fun.

Like all MINI models, the new MINI Hardtop 4 door displays an unmistakable appearance due to the car’s proportions, typical brand styling and characteristic three-way structure of its body. The large greenhouse and roof are separated from one another in visual terms, with window graphics tapering off visually to the rear, and contributing to a strong wedge shape in profile and indicating the forward thrust of the vehicle even when stationary.

The wide track and short overhangs emphasize the athletic stature of the new MINI Hardtop 4 door, which is underscored by a striking sill line between the front and rear wheel arches. The character line below the side windows provides a dynamic downward thrust that directs attention to the large wheel well openings.
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Iconic design features include the hexagonal contour of the radiator grill, the side indicator surrounds, the circular headlights, the upright rear light clusters and black periphery around the bottom edge of the body. The contours of the headlights, rear lights and wheel arches are emphasized by precise edging.

In the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 door model, the ribs of the radiator grill and tailgate handle are finished in White Aluminum. The bumper trim, integrated into the radiator grill also acts as a number plate carrier, and is finished in high-gloss black, while the exhaust tailpipe is chrome. The MINI Cooper S Hardtop 4 door model draws the distinctive and striking sporty flair from such features as a radiator grill with honeycomb pattern, a bumper trim in high-gloss black, an additional opening in the bonnet, brake air ducts integrated in the lower air inlets and a separate rear apron with exhaust tailpipes arranged at the center. This model variant also bears a red “S” logo with a chrome border, not only on the side scuttle elements but also on the chrome bar of the radiator grill.
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The circular headlights are bordered by a wide chrome ring, with arched turn indicators arranged in the lower section. In the standard version, the daytime driving light and the sidelight are located inside the additional headlights, while fog lights may also be included as an optional.

The horizontal structure of the cockpit and the circular or elliptical contours of central features such as air vents, instruments and door trim are traditional MINI design elements. The instrument cluster on the steering column displays road speed, engine speed and fuel supply via superimposed circular instruments. The speedometer scale includes a color panel for Check Control messages, vehicle status displays and visual indicators relating to driver assistance systems currently activated. With the key inside the car, the engine can be started by pressing the toggle-type start/stop button located in the middle of the center console, which lights up red. Above the toggle switch there are three circular control switches for heating and air conditioning. Operating switches for headlights and fog lights are on the instrument cluster next to the steering wheel, and the electrically controlled power window controls are integrated in the door trim panels.
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The hallmark MINI center instrument, with its indicator elements and extended functionality, significantly intensifies interaction between driver and car, with the center of its interior surface serving as a 4-line TFT display or as a color screen up to 8.8 inches in size that shows operating feedback for vehicle functions as well as the special graphics for MINI Connected Services. The selection and control of these functions is facilitated by a Controller in the center console, which comes in conjunction with the Radio MINI Visual Boost, the MINI navigation system and the Wired Package. The MINI Cooper S Hardtop 4 door is fitted with sport seats as standard, which are also available as options in the Cooper model.
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My test 2015 MINI Cooper S Hardtop 4 Door model came with the 6-speed Sport automatic transmission and wore an exterior finish of Carbon Black over Electric Blue metallic with Black Rallye stripes, while the interior was done in Black leatherette. The base sticker read $25,100., which rose to a total of $35,900. After factoring in the options which included: the metallic paint, Cold Weather Package, Fully loaded and Premium Packages, Sport Package, MINI Yours Interior Style Fiber All, Sport Automatic Transmission, JCW Steering wheel, Anthracite headliner, Rear Park Distance Control, MINI head Up Display, and Destination charge.

SUMMARY: The new 2015 MIINI Cooper S Hardtop 4 Door serves up an exhilarating ride, both visually and in terms of performance over challenging routes – a grin-producer of the highest magnitude.

Acceleration is instantaneous, thanks to the Turbo technology, although, when prodded with gusto torque steer can be an issue; gear changes are smooth with r the Sport automatic transmission. Handling remains athletic and positive, carving efficiently through challenging curves in a spirited and controlled manner. Braking is highly efficient, bringing the go-kart-like MINI to a halt in short order. Experiencing the Mini is a joy to the devout gear head. Driving the extended “Funster” is a rewarding exercise, initiating an insatiable degree of lust to own one. The exhaust note of the Cooper S alone, may well be worth its additional cost. Add the potency of turbocharging to the maneuverability and stability provided by the sport-tuned suspension and the Cooper S Hardtop 4 Door is a clear winner, particularly when set in sport ands manual modes.
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Visually, the MINI Cooper S Hardtop 4 Door still displays a pleasing design for MINI fans, but there were some changes made that will likely draw the ire of traditionalists, such as: moving the familiar, center-mount speedometer to a point directly ahead of the driver, repositioning the window controls from the center console to the doors, and the addition of a retractable Head Up Display similar to that found in some Mazda models – all changes dictated by the automotive industry in the interest of safety. The new double-pull release for the hood as also found on recent BMW models may be the next thing to go because some EPA official disagrees with the principle.

The new MINI Driving Modes allow an individual set-up involving not just the characteristic curve of the accelerator and steering but also engine acoustics, and in the MINI Cooper S – provided the relevant features are present – ambient lighting, the shift times of the automatic transmission and the characteristics of Dynamic Damper Control, the latter system is optionally available for the first time. The modes SPORT and GREEN can be activated in addition to the standard MID mode. In conjunction with an automatic transmission, the efficiency-oriented GREEN mode also features a coasting function with a decoupled drivetrain.
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Bottom-line, this latest 4 Door MINI Hardtop needs to be experienced first hand to fully appreciate all of its enhanced features and equipment, which are literally too extensive to detail here. It successfully blends heritage with innovation.


 

SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 MINI Cooper S 4-DR Hardtop


  

Base Price: $25,100.
Price as Tested: $35,900.
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter MINI TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder with High Precision Direct Injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 189 @ 4,700-6,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 207 @ 1,250 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed StepTronic Sport automatic with paddle shifters.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-Wheel Drive.
Suspension: Front – 1-link drive suspension strut axle is fitted with aluminum swivel bearings as well as axle supports and wishbones made of high-strength steel and a tube-shaped stabilizer bar.

Rear – High-strength steel types are also used for the rear central pivot axle and there is a rear tubular stabilizer bar.

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS, EBD, CBC, DSC, Drive-off assistant, Brake dry function, Fading Brake Support and DTC.
Tires: Pirelli Cinturato P7 optional 18-inch mounted on 8 “V”-spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 101.1 inches
Length Overall: 158.0 inches
Width: 68.0 inches – excluding mirrors
Height: 56.1 inches
Curb Weight: 2,895 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 11.6 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 26-mpg city / 33-mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.32
0 – 60 mph: 7.7 seconds – Top Speed = 129 mph.

  


Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.

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