’15 Mini Cooper hardtop to add 2 doors

The 2014 Mini Cooper S hardtop on a fall afternoon. (Bud Wells photos)

The 2014 Mini Cooper S hardtop on a fall afternoon. (Bud Wells photos)

The little Mini Cooper showed a bit of growth this year, having been stretched 4 inches in overall length on an inch-longer wheelbase, and it is 1.7 inches wider.

Some performance pop, too, has been added to the 2014 Mini Cooper S hardtop – not enough to call it a Super Duper Cooper, though sufficient for a more fun drive. Under hood is a new 189-horsepower, 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder engine with a 6-speed Getrag automatic transmission.

For the coming model year the really big news, effective following the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays, will be the arrival of the 2015 Mini Cooper Hardtop Four-Door, a hatchback that goes on sale in January.

It will be the first four-door for the Cooper hardtop. Pricing will begin just below $22,000, about $1,000 higher than the standard two-door Cooper.

The four doors will make the new Mini more accessible for four-passenger use than is the original. The wheelbase will be expanded by 2.9 inches and the overall length by 6.3 inches.

Engine choices will be a 134-hp, 1.5-liter, 3-cylinder or the 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder. Both are turbocharged. Standard transmission will be a 6-speed manual, with a 6-speed Steptronic automatic optional.

The Cooper four-door will be a competitor of the Honda Fit, Kia Rio, Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic.

A choice of three driving modes – Sport, Green and Normal – enhanced the driver control of the ’14 Cooper S hardtop I drove. Shift points were more pronounced and suspension stiffened in the Sport setting, while the eco-minded Green set tamed the performance and upped the fuel mileage. Overall fuel mileage average was 31.3 miles per gallon, right in the middle of its EPA estimate of 26/35.

Pricey options such as the sport transmission, navigation, panoramic moonroof, leather seats (heated) and harman/kardon premium sound pushed the Cooper’s price from MSRP of $23,600 to a sticker of $37,395.

The big circular informational screen offers navigation, audio selection.

The big circular informational screen offers navigation, audio selection.

Among other options were racing green metallic exterior finish, power folding mirrors, automatic climate control, 18-inch cone-spoke silver wheels, LED headlights, head-up display, satellite radio and anthracite headliner.

The Mini Cooper, built in England, was reintroduced into the U.S. in 2002 by its parent company, Germany luxury-car maker BMW, after an absence of 35 years. A convertible was soon added, and, later, two larger models, the Clubman and Countryman.

Here are the specifications for the ’14 Mini Cooper S Hardtop:

  • Wheelbase 98.2 inches
  • Length 151.9 inches
  • Width 68 inches
  • Height 55.7 inches
  • Curb Weight 2,760 pounds
  • Track 58.5 inches front, rear
  • Ground Clearance 4.9 inches
  • Turn Circle 35.4 feet
  • Drivetrain Front-wheel-drive
  • Engine 2.0-liter twinpower turbo 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower/Torque 189/207
  • Transmission 6-speed automatic
  • Steering electric power
  • Fuel mileage estimate 27/38
  • Fuel mileage average 31.6
  • Fuel Tank 11.6 gallons, premium
  • Wheels 18-inch
  • Cargo Volume 8.7 cubic feet
  • Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles basic, 4/50,000 powertrain

Competitors Ford Focus ST, Volkswagen Golf R, Kia Soul, Nissan Juke, VW Beetle, Mazda 3

Assembly Plant Oxford, England

Parts Content Germany 35%, England 25%, U.S./Canadian 5%

Base Price of Lowest Model $20,745; Base Price of Review Model $23,600; Destination Charge $795; Sticker Price $37,395.