MNI reinforces its British heritage by shining a light on its Union Jack influences in its tail lamps.
That said, it still borrows from the BMW range of engines to pop in a three-cylinder mill that is remarkably quiet and displays none of the rattle that it does in some of the Teutonic models.
The new MINI One 5 Door barrels into the small car category with a an engine that takes it into the A2 VES banding without veering too far away from the characteristics that make this small car a hot number.
The MINI One 5 Door reviewed here offers functionality with back doors and access to a boot that is reasonably sized.
Although keyless entry is not offered, you do get a well-lit welcome with the logo cast onto the ground. You don’t need the round key to crank the engine to life; the red switch in the centre of the dashboard still does that, alongside a switch to turn off the start/stop function.
The large central dial offers a variety of colour coded messages about the audio level, drive mode, and the like. Nice to keep a child or pet engaged, but not much else.
The drive mode is another switch that toggles between Green, Mid and Sport. There’s noticeable difference between the three settings. In Green, the engine still cuts out at standstill, in Mid the drive is smooth, and in Sport there’s a rush of enthusiasm as the 1.5-litre engine does a good job of sounding the part.
But at higher speeds, around 70-80kmh, there’s a tendency for the car to become a bit vague and floaty, though it firms up when it has to get down to business through corners, delivering that assured, go-kart feel.
The 7-speed Steptronic transmission with double clutch takes you through the gears smoothly, and allows for the coasting function in Mid and Green modes. If you feel like switching to Steptronic mode, knock the newly designed gearshift to one side to shift up and down as you wish.
In the cabin, it’s cosy. Balancing on the leather and fabric seats — bigger folks will be spilling out of them — you have to contend with the fact there isn’t an armrest for support in the centre.
Storage spaces are limited to a couple of cup holder slots, door slots that are too far forward and a glove compartment.
A 6.5″ colour screen is still the centre of attraction and besides displaying information it also facilitates connectivity with your mobile phone. Music is delivered with a good deal of oomph though you’ll need to have sound with a high bit rate to fully benefit from it.
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TECH SPECS BMW MINI ONE 5 DOOR
Engine: Inline 3 cylinder, 12 valves
Max Power: 75kW@3,900-6,500rpm
Max Torque: 190Nm@1,380-3,600rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual clutch
VES Band: A2
0-100kmh: 10.5 seconds
Top Speed: 192kmh
Retail price: *$112,088
Please reconfirm price with dealer.
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