The F55 MINI four door is MINI’s answer to such cars as the four door VW Polo or Golf. We expect it be a big seller for the brand by injecting more versatility without losing the appeal of the typical MINI small-ness. And now we have yet another look at it thanks to a poster at Newminiclub.nl. The car appears to be the same one spied at the Oxford plant perhaps on its way for a final evaluation in Munich.
Check out the gallery and the full story behind the new F55 MINI four door after the break.
The Release Schedule
The 2015 MINI four door (the name is still TBD) will debut in the fall of 2014. Details have yet to be worked out but expect a roll-out to be slightly compressed in compared to the F56 – meaning it should hit the US before the spring of 2015. This should help give the Convertible room to launch that spring.
Using the next generation hatch (internally knowing as the F56) as its basis, MINI will shorten the front doors and add two small, conventionally opening doors behind them. This will be much like the Countryman’s layout, but in a smaller package. Those rear doors will be on the small side, but still more usable then you might expect. Sources are telling us that the rear doors will extend from the trailing edge of the front doors all the way into the rear wheel arches and up to the gas cap on the right side of the car. Opening those four doors will be completely redesigned door handles, while stylistically they will be similar to the current car, will pivot outward from the front end similar to the mechanism found on newer BMWs.
Inside we’ve been told to expect rear legroom to increase about 5 cm as compared to the next generation hardtop (which will be roughly the same as the current generation). F55 will offer a three person bench seat (like the Countryman and Clubman in some markets) likely as standard.
Stylistically the front of the car will be identical to the new F56. However the rear will be slightly raked as the extra 5 cm of legroom will push the boot out slightly. As these photos almost let you make out, think of shape as almost a fast-back. In total the F55 will likely be at least 5 cm longer than the F56 hatch which will be approximately the same size in length (give or two a cm or two). On the roof the R55 will feature a more subtle version of the Clubman’s “dune-line” roof profile to further distinguish the three and five door hatches.
MINI will even likely market the R55 simply as “the four-door MINI.” It won’t be taking the place of the iconic two door hardtop, but it will be offered for those who want a small MINI with just a bit more practicality. A little practicality wouldn’t hurt the hardtop for many. Have you ever tried to get a child seat in the back of the hatch or perhaps a dog in and out? Then you’ll know why the four-door F55 may go along way in helping Americans overcome their fears of impracticality. For the rest, the original hatchback form factor of the two door MINI will remain as well.
Or thought of another way, it’ll bring some of the Countryman’s gains in practicality, but with fewer of its SUV-bred performance compromises. Imagine being able to more easily haul passengers, kids or pets, but retaining all of the smaller MINI’s handling and lightweight efficiency. That’s a package we can get excited about.
What about the Clubman? Don’t worry MINI still has plans for the “other” MINI. But expect some tweaks to the formula in an effort to make the next generation Clubman (dubbed internally as the F54) a bit more dynamic.