MINI 5-Door hatchback

More like a baby BMW than ever before

"It's a good choice if you are a family of four, otherwise go for the Clubman."

"I enjoyed revving its engine on mountainous roads. Believe me, the engine is fast!" said Issam.

"Still enjoying its MINI roots, although it has become a baby bimmer."

If we have a quick flashback to the past, we surely remember the whole MINI brand as a mini car, right? What is happening nowadays to MINI? I was in Munich to witness the BMW Group results, and I asked one of the executives at MINI about the whole change in the brand. Specifically, I asked him why MINI has grown up so quickly and has got so many derivatives. I also asked if it is healthy to change the whole concept? He smiled and answered simply: "You are truly right; now as the brand is under BMW's reign, that's what our customers are asking from us and we have to do it. That's one of the reasons why MINI is successful and on the right path."

I grabbed the 2016 MINI 5-door hatchback from the official distributor, Bassoul-Heneine, in Lebanon. One thing that most of you probably don't know, is that MINI in Lebanon scores the best numbers in terms of selling around the Middle East, including Dubai. But, the MINI drivers in Lebanon are not only women, most of the time you can see men (in their 40's and up) cruising around in a Paceman, Clubman, etc.

Now in its third generation under BMW's sovereignty, the MINI is fast becoming a genuine icon. It might be getting bigger every time as I said, but it's also getting enhanced - to the degree that now it truly feels like a cut-size BMW.

From the interior's standpoint, the design brings the MINI up to equality and beyond in several areas, including refinement, interior materials, features, and general comfort. The speedometer and tachometer sit behind the steering wheel and the large round dial in the center of the dashboard shape houses only a display screen. Three rotating knobs work the ventilation system, and generally it's far easier to comprehend how the numerous functions and controls work.

Driving impressions
How does it drive? Surely you must still have in mind the 'Italian Job' movie! It is significantly quieter and more comfortable to drive nowadays with the electric power steering. My test car was the base model, and frankly it seems like I ended up liking the base model better than the Cooper S. It's the three-cylinder petrol that shines brightest to me. It's fast and very impatient to be revved, particularly on blind corners on mountainous roads in Lebanon. It really suits the character of the car, and it sounds great!

Verdict
Despite its limited trunk space for long road trips, the MINI 5-door is an extremely attractive car. Its good looks, good driving characteristics and distinctive charm make it the impeccable addition to a small family. Check out your nearest dealer, and if you're in need of more space you may be better off looking at the MINI Clubman.

Pros: Good to drive, practical, high-quality interior, efficient and fast engine, sharp handling, entry model is better value
Cons: Adding options is quite expensive, small trunk
Rivals: Audi A1 hatchback, Volkswagen Golf, Mercedes-Benz A-Class
One word: baby bimmer
3.5 stars

Specs
1.5 L turbocharged, inline 3-cylinders, 136 hp @ 4500-6000 rpm, 220 Nm @ 1250-4000 rpm (230 Nm overboost)
6-speed automatic transmission, FWD
0-100 km/h: 8.1 sec, top speed: 207 km/h, fuel consumption: 4.8 - 4.9 L/ 100 km
Weight: 1,250 kg

  • mini_hatchback_5-doors_1
  • mini_hatchback_5-doors_10
  • mini_hatchback_5-doors_11
  • mini_hatchback_5-doors_12
  • mini_hatchback_5-doors_2
  • mini_hatchback_5-doors_3
  • mini_hatchback_5-doors_4
  • mini_hatchback_5-doors_5
  • mini_hatchback_5-doors_6
  • mini_hatchback_5-doors_7
  • mini_hatchback_5-doors_8
  • mini_hatchback_5-doors_9

Subscriptions

Raed

Autoshows Calendar

Upcoming Articles

  • Global Drive: 2018 Rolls Royce Phantom
  • Global Drive: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
  • Global Drive: 2018 Jaguar XJR575
  • Editors' Choice: Range Rover Velar
  • Editors' Choice: Lexus LC500h
  • Editors' Choice: Peugeot 3008
  • Editors' Choice: Cadillac CT6
  • Special Feature: Renault Zoe Electric