By using a longer and wider body, the five-door is able to offer 72mm more legroom for rear passengers, who can also now access the new row of three seats via small but useful rear doors.
Boot space is up to 278L, which, although still comparatively low, is 67 more than the three-door hatch. It retains the shallow glass area and overall look of the big-selling hatch, with a slight additional bulge at the boot to allow for the extra luggage capacity.
Overall, the new kid is 16cm longer and 1cm taller plus eking out 6cm of extra interior width, almost making it a halfway house between the three-door hatch and the high-riding five-door Countryman.
There will be two solid and nine metallic exterior paint colours, Mini has confirmed, while the Cooper S and SD models will be visually distinguished by a honeycomb pattern in the radiator grille, an anthracite bumper trim, bonnet scoop, brake air ducts integrated in the lower air inlets and a separate rear apron with exhaust pipes located at the centre.
It will be made available only in Cooper and Cooper S guises at first, with D-badged diesel variants of the same trim levels. The Cooper and Cooper D will both use three-cylinder turbocharged engines pushing out 134 and 114bhp respectively.
Moving up to the Cooper S and the Cooper SD brings heavier but more powerful four-cylinder powerplants claiming 189 and 168bhp, with this performance bias conjuring impressive 0-62mph acceleration stats of 6.8 and 7.4 seconds.
Official fuel economy extends as high as 78.5mpg in the Cooper D, although drivers are unlikely to recreate this on the road. Prices will start from £15,900, with Mini’s famous options list on standby to bolster specifications.
The Atom PL1 has the same 350bhp supercharged 2.0-litre Honda engine, sequential gearbox and spectacular performance as the regular car - with a 0-60mph time of 2.5 seconds it can match most superbikes - but with the addition of Avon and Somerset Constabulary livery, aerodynamic pursuit lights and safety equipment. Although built to the correct specification for pursuit duty, the Atom PL1 is intended to raise awareness of the Safer Rider campaign.
Sergeant Andy Parsons said: “I am really excited that Ariel has joined with us to bring Project Safer Rider to fruition, and I hope that the use of the Ariel PL1 will have a positive impact to promote Road Safety in line with our PCC’s Priorities, and help us to reduce road death and serious injury within the motorcycling community.
“To be safe, rider and machine need to work in harmony. When this happens it feels immediately right. When it doesn’t, things go wrong. Too many injuries and deaths are the result of rider error. Now is your chance to do something about it. Somerset Bike Day has developed from the belief that a trained rider is a safer rider.”
The Safer Rider campaign is being launched at Haynes Motor Museum, Sparkford, Somerset on Sunday June 8 from 10am-4pm.
The Atom PL1 will be on display together with a wide range of different Police vehicles and Police displays. Additionally there will be opportunities to learn new skills and talk to experts regarding the correct use of brakes, slow-riding practice, machine maintenance, further training opportunities and regular First Aid presentations for First On Scene.
As a result, the organisation has stepped up to take part in the forthcoming Trading Standards conference at the end of June, after a successful trial last year.
Running for three days from June 30 at the Harrogate International Centre, the event is the biggest gathering of trading standards officers and enforcement professionals in the UK.
With its main theme of ‘changing behaviour’, TyreSafe claims that it sees the event as “an ideal platform to continue its ongoing education and awareness activities designed to reduce the number of part-worn tyres being illegally sold in the UK”.
TyreSafe will set up a stand at the conference explaining the dangers and legal pitfalls surrounding part-worn tyres, and why fitting them to any car could be a fatal error.
The Police will get a talking to as well, with TyreSafe planning to explain a “robust” method of checking the safety of part-worn rubber.
“Last year’s conference was incredibly successful for TyreSafe and we are delighted to announce our return in 2014,” said Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe.
“As a direct result of our participation in 2013, many Trading Standards offices around the UK carried out local investigations which have resulted in numerous education initiatives and even prosecutions and arrests of unscrupulous sellers. We look forward to developing this dialogue even further this year.”