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2022 Mini Cooper S 5-door Review: The Formula Is Intact

2022 Mini Cooper S 5-door | Photo: V.Aubé
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Vincent Aubé
Despite the two extra doors, this Cooper S continues to be one of the best options for having fun behind the wheel

Auto123 reviews the 2022 Mini Cooper S 5-door.

The 2022 model-year brings its share of changes to the Mini Cooper, the little car that in its modern incarnation celebrates its 20th anniversary in Canada. (The original Mini, which was originally sold by British automakers Austin and Morris, was born in 1959).

The current, third generation of the contemporary Cooper has been doing its thing since the 2014 model-year, a virtual eternity for a car within the BMW Group universe. Mini has other priorities, however: the company is currently working on the start of its shift to electric. Yes, a 100-percent electric Cooper SE is already available and a plug-in hybrid version of the Countryman has been in the brand's lineup for a few seasons now, but the British brand is working on a long-term electrification strategy that will lead to an all-electric lineup by 2030.

In the meantime, the Mini Cooper S retains its old formula of a front-mounted turbocharged gasoline engine and a fun-to-drive feel from the moment you get behind the wheel. And it’s hard not to have fun in this lovable bug, which delivers further proof that a car doesn’t have to be big to deliver a good time.

2022 Mini Cooper S 5-door, profile
2022 Mini Cooper S 5-door, profile | Photo: V.Aubé

Minimal exterior details
Of course, the Cooper's unique silhouette remains the same, as does the very British feel. In this 5-door configuration, the Cooper S is slightly larger than the 3-door Cooper. However, the rear doors are still narrow. The opposite would have been surprising since this version is based on the same skeleton as in 2014.

Up front, the bumper is now ringed with a glossy black band around the grille. The openings in the front portion are also new for 2022. As for the 18-inch Pulse Spoke wheels, they add a touch of retro-modernism to the package. And then there are those Union Jack-style marker lights at the rear, which confirm the British identity. Oh yes, I forgot. The white stripes on the hood (a $200 expense) are really spot on with this Iceland Blue Metallic Cooper S!

2022 Mini Cooper S 5-door, interior
2022 Mini Cooper S 5-door, interior | Photo: V.Aubé

Same story inside
The 5-door's cabin is just as small as its predecessor's. Mini has instead focused on connectivity, a buzzword these days. While the dashboard looks familiar, the centrally placed screen is new and is now 8.8 inches. Not surprisingly, those familiar with BMW products will recognize the usual arrangement of the German automaker's infotainment system.

Although the screen is touch-sensitive, users can also access the multiple menus via a thumbwheel and a few buttons installed between the two front seats. The good news is that Mini hasn't removed its traditional buttons for the climate control, traction control, driving modes, heated seats and even the start lever.

Our tester was equipped with the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission used liberally by both Mini and BMW. Purists would certainly prefer a manual gearbox, but Mini's automatic unit works very well with the manufacturer's smaller engines. This explains the presence of this ergonomic lever in the front.

For the rest, the interior respects the philosophy established 20 years ago, i.e. with the use of  wraparound seats and quality materials, and rigorous attention to quality in the assembly. Space is limited, but there's always the Clubman or even the Countryman SUV for those who want more.

2022 Mini Cooper S 5-door, three-quarters rear
2022 Mini Cooper S 5-door, three-quarters rear | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Smile, and the world smiles with you
Most of our test drive actually took place on a portion of Highway 401 leading from Montreal westward to Ontario. At first thought, the Cooper S didn't really strike me as a good choice for a trip to Kingston and back. This isn't the first car you think of when it comes to driving distance. The quality of the pavement below will influence your comfort level aboard the Cooper S, put it that way. But the smooth surfaces of the 401 really made this little car look good, even with its 18-inch wheels and low-profile tires. I Montreal, on bumpy streets, the Cooper S was quite a bit “bouncier”.

Where the city car excels is in slightly more sustained driving. Whether it's moving at the edge of the highway speed limit or hugging a winding stretch of road, the Cooper S behaves with aplomb. The 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine makes its 189 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque felt, while the dual-clutch transmission helps remind us this is an interesting alternative to the Volkswagen Golf GTI.

While the 401 has its share of long, straight and dull stretches, the Mini Cooper S still managed to glue a smile on my face for most of the drive. The very precise steering, the sometimes raucous sound of the engine (thanks to the Sport mode) and the phenomenal handling make the Cooper S a pleasurable vehicle to drive, it’s that simple.

2022 Mini Cooper S 5-door, rear
2022 Mini Cooper S 5-door, rear |

The last word
The Mini Cooper S is not for everyone. The car still sets a benchmark for driving pleasure in a small car, but the experience it delivers doesn't always appeal to many people. Plus, cargo space is a t a premium, and the asking price is far higher than that of a popular subcompact. But to drive such a fun icon, you have to be willing to pay the price - and in this case, the bill comes to $43,630.

The Cooper 5-door is not as “pure” as the Cooper 3-door. However, the two additional doors add a more-practical element. For more space, however, the Clubman wagon is the most logical option.

Regardless of its smallness and the fact that it's been around in this form since 2014, the Mini Cooper S, despite its age, is still a superb option for those wanting to spend quality driving time behind the wheel.

We like

Fun to drive
Mechanics perfectly adapted to the chassis
Efficient at the pump

We like less

Occasionally jerky transmission
Limited interior volume
Expensive options

The competition

Acura ILX
Audi A3
BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe
Mercedes-Benz A-Class / CLA
Volkswagen Golf GTI / Golf R

2022 Mini Cooper S 5-door, badging, rear light
2022 Mini Cooper S 5-door, badging, rear light | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Road Tests and Reviews

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2022 Mini Cooper S 5-door pictures
Vincent Aubé
Vincent Aubé
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 60 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 200 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists