2015 Mini Hardtop 4-door: A stretch in size and appeal
On a mission to attract new buyers, the 2015 Mini Cooper Hardtop 4-door and its Cooper S sibling will go on sale in January. This slightly larger and more practical variation, which is based on the recently released Hardtop 2-door model, is expected to become the best-selling Mini model thanks to two extra doors and modest dimensional changes yielding significantly more space for people and cargo.
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At 157.4 inches (158.0 for the Cooper S) the Mini Hardtop 4-door is 6.3 inches longer than its 2-portal counterpart and has 2.9 inches of additional wheelbase. While no wider, the 4-door also is 0.4-inch taller. Although much of its exterior styling has been directly lifted from the Cooper/Cooper S 2-door, the 4-door does sport a more pronounced "tail" treatment in addition to it elevated roof. The Hardtop designation is a bit of a misnomer in the traditional sense since it is not a B-pillarless design. Dedicated styling flourishes on the Cooper Hardtop 4-door include a White Aluminum finish on its grille ribs and tailgate handle, gloss black front bumper trim and chrome exhaust tips with the Cooper S boasts more the requisite bolder front/rear fascia treatments and wheel/tire upgrades as well as its share of red "S" badges.
Room for five
Inside, the new Cooper and Cooper S Hardtop 4-door models reprise the upgraded look and feel of their 2-door counterparts but feature a 60/40 folding rear seat with belts for three instead of two. In addition to providing back benchers with an additional 1.5 inches of legroom, headroom in the aft quarters is up by 0.6 inch and shoulder room grows by 1.8 inches in all locations. Cargo space in the Hardtop 4-door also gets a boost, rising from 8.7 to 9.2 cu ft, which, like its upgraded head and leg room -- Mini claims are best-in-class stats.
Like the current front-drive Mini Hardtop, the new 4-door will offer two engines and two transmissions at launch. The Cooper Hardtop 4-door will come with the BMW-designed 1.5-liter/134-horsepower TwinPower Turbo 3-cylinder while the Cooper S variant will pack the familiar 2.0-liter/189-horse turbocharged 4-cylinder. Both engines can be backed by either a standard 6-speed manual transmission or optional 6-speed Steptronic automatic. Dynamic Damper Control also will be available on the new Hardtop 4-door as will the full array of driver assist, creature comfort and personalization touches currently offered on the 2-door.
While official pricing has yet to be released, Mini expects the new 4-door models to start at $1,000 above their 2-door counterparts. Barring any last-minute surprises, that should see a 2015 Mini Cooper Hardtop 4-door base price of $22,300 and the 2015 Cooper S Hardtop 4-door starting near $25,385
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