BMW has finally taken the wraps off the first ever five-door version of the Mini hatchback. Internally called F55, the five-door version is based on a stretched version of the same UKL1 platform, which is used in the three-door hatchback. The car will go on sale in the European markets by September this year and is expected to be brought here in early-2015, following the launch of the three-door range.
The five-door Mini looks identical to the three-door car in every aspect, except for the extra doors. The five-door Mini gets the trademark Mini styling cues like the hexagonal front grille and circular chrome-ringed headlamps. Like the three-door version, Mini will offer a high level of personalisation which includes white roof and door mirror caps. The variants will be initially offered with the option of three and four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines from the Cooper range, mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic gearbox.
The five-door version has grown in size to accommodate the two extra doors. The length has been increased by 161mm which translates into an extra 72mm of wheelbase and a large 278 litre boot. The flat loading bay at the back and folding seats with 60/40 split make the car more practical.
The five-door Mini will be followed by a Clubman and then a Convertible variant. Mini says that with the five-door car, they have tried to ‘de-feminise the brand’ and attract more male buyers. BMW, the parent company, hopes to annually sell 1,50,000 units of the this car in its markets around the world.
Despite the small size of the rear doors, the five-door Mini looks well proportioned, if not better than the three-door version. The two extra doors have increased the appeal of the car and while retaining the old-school charm of the original Mini. But being a CBU, we expect the car to be priced in the higher end of the segment. As a premium-hatchback, the Mini competes with Mercedes-Benz A-Class, B-Class and the BMW 1 Series. Fiat and Volkswagen are also planning to bring their premium hatchbacks, the Abarth 500 and the Beetle to India, later this year.