This Mini still has that go-kart stance and handling it’s famous for, but it’s now all grown up inside. It’s as if it went off to college and returned with its trademark outgoing personality, but more mature and sophisticated.
For 2015, the Mini Cooper S Hardtop now has four doors and a little more room inside. The rear doors make it easier to get into the back seat, but it still can be a tight squeeze sitting back there.
Having two extra doors also means there is more cargo space, especially with the 60/40 rear seats folded.
The first indication that this Mini is more urbane comes when you flip the start switch, the engine quietly powers on and a head-up display rises from the dash in front of you. The display shows speed, navigation and other information. You’ll need that extra help in monitoring your speed if you switch the Mini into Sport mode, one of the three driving modes available.
Sport mode tunes the engine for greater driving agility, and adjusts the engine, steering and transmission setting points for a stiffer, sportier ride, according to Mini. The pedal is very responsive in Sport, and you’ll be looking at that head-up display a lot in this mode because this Mini can easily and effortlessly exceed local highway speed limits.
The other two driving modes are Green and Mid. Green maximizes driving range and saves fuel. Mid is what it implies: It’s a middle point between Green and Sport. I mostly drove in Mid, which was a nice compromise between Green and Sport.
The center stack is dominated by the large, circular video display that in earlier models was the speedometer. Most of the time, mine was split with radio or other media information on the left and the navigation display on the right. Speed is now displayed in a center dial in front of the driver, but I rarely looked at it because of the head-up display.
Creating all the excitement under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. It will do 0 to 60 in a crisp 6.6 seconds and generates lots of low rpm torque. The six-speed automatic can be shifted with paddles on the steering wheel.
The ride is firm in Green mode, and gets increasingly firm in Mid and Sport, but the Mini always feels solid and planted on the road. The front seats are comfortable and have adjustable thigh support. The cabin is quiet at highway speeds with just a little noticeable road and wind noise.
Four years or 50,000 miles.
The base price of the Mini was $25,100. Options included the Electric Blue metallic paint, power-folding mirrors, heated front seats, navigation, keyless entry, panoramic moonroof, Harman/Kardon premium audio, 18-inch Mini Yours Vanity Spoke wheels, LED fog lights, LED headlights with cornering, turn signal lights, Mini Yours interior style in fiber alloy, sport automatic transmission, leather steering wheel, black bonnet stripes, anthracite headliner, park distance control and a head-up display. Including destination, the sticker price was $36,050.
2015 Mini Cooper S Hardtop 4 door
Engine: 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque.
Transmission: Six-speed Sport automatic transmission with shift paddles, front-wheel drive
Wheelbase/length: 101.1/158 inches
Weight: 2,930 pounds
Base price: $25,100
As driven: $36,050
MPG rating: 26 in the city, 33 on the highway