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Auto Show:  2014 Paris Auto Show

2015 MINI Hardtop 4 Door: Paris Auto Show


author photo by Josh Sadlier October 2014

What Is It?

We suggest thinking of the 2015 MINI Hardtop 4 Door as a miniature Volkswagen Golf/GTI. That's big news, because until now, MINI has avoided conventional 4-door hatchbacks like the proverbial plague. Remember the unloved 3-door Clubman, with its reverse-opening rear Club Door and barn-style cargo doors? They still sell it, actually, but it hasn't exactly given VW much to worry about. How about the Countryman, a high-riding 4-door that looks like MINI's interpretation of the Subaru Outback? Then there's the Paceman, a peculiar 2-door-coupe version of the Countryman. All of them drive with typical MINI zest and offer usable back seats besides, but why not just build a proper 4-door hatch?

Someone finally saw the light, whether at MINI or parent company BMW, and the result is the Hardtop 4 Door, a premium and practical compact with room for four (or five in a pinch), iconic style, serious performance potential and excellent fuel economy. Sounds like a GTI, right? Well, almost -- the Volkswagen doesn't quite nail the style piece. We can't help thinking that MINI was sitting on a gold mine here; they had all the pieces in place, and it just took a while to put them together. Whether it's powered by the base 134-horsepower turbocharged 3-cylinder or the S model's 189-hp turbo four, the 2015 MINI Hardtop 4 Door is going to be a hoot. The extra set of doors should vastly broaden its appeal.

Before we work ourselves into too much of a lather, let's remember that the Hardtop 4 Door is considerably smaller than the VW is. With a wheelbase of 101.1 inches, the MINI trails the Golf/GTI by 2.5 inches, and it's a whopping 17 inches shorter overall. Implications? Here's one: MINI says that the Hardtop 4 Door's cargo capacity behind the rear seats is just 9.2 cu ft., whereas the VW siblings can swallow 22.8 cubes.

Remember this: The beloved previous-generation GTI (discontinued after 2014) had a 101.5-inch wheelbase, just 0.4 inches longer than the Hardtop 4 Door's wheelbase. While the MINI may not be able to fit much in its trunk, it seemingly has the rest of the boxes checked -- at a significant discount, no less.

We can't wait to drive one.

How Much?

$22,550 for the base model, $25,950 for the S.

When Can You Get It?

January 2015

Add It to Your Shopping List Because...

You have a hankering for a 4-door sport compact, but most of the options seem too tacky or juvenile -- and the GTI is yesterday's news.

Other Cars to Consider

Volkswagen Golf/GTI -- Don't sleep on the base Golf, which offers a pretty zesty 1.8-liter turbo four. The GTI is the gold standard.

Ford Fiesta ST -- Moderate boy-racerish tendencies here, but if you don't mind, you'll be rewarded with a really sweet-driving hot hatch.

Used Volkswagen GTI -- Lots of excellent certified pre-owned specimens are out there for the taking, generally for much less than the price of a new MINI Hardtop 4 Door S.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 MINI Hardtop 4 Door: Paris Auto Show - Autotrader