Here it is then – the proof that the MINI is no longer mini… After a series of more unusual body styles cueing people up for the era of change, BMW has revealed the first images of the new MINI 5-Door Hatch ahead of its debut at the Paris Motor Show next week.
The wheelbase of the 5-dr is 72mm (or almost three inches) longer than the 3-Door model, while the boot space has been increased to 278 litres – still not huge by the standards of the class, but big enough for the extra shopping and pushchair that many owners of the original BMW MINI find themselves lugging around these days. And that’s exactly what MINI has done – created a car to appeal to those who bought the first generation cars as youngsters to keep them buying the MINI brand.
A good thing? Well, it depends on how your bread’s buttered, for there will no doubt be hundreds if not thousands of fans of the original Mini out there who are mortified that the iconic name is being applied to a more family-oriented hatchback being sold in the busiest sector of the European new car market. In many respects, and as a classic Mini owner, I’m one of them.
But conversely, the fact that BMW is taking MINI into the busiest sector of the car market and doing so with a brand that’s got a huge fan base is good for British jobs isn’t it? And consequently a good thing for our industry…