You know the story already: Every Mini revision has gone hand-in-hand with an increase in size—and to be fair, also in maturity. The 2015 Mini Hardtop's growth spurt offset some real improvements under the skin. And now, Mini is bringing a four-door stateside, what amounts to a hardtop with a stretch. Since this is allegedly a Mini, dimensions are important. Let's talk numbers: The wheelbase grows by 2.9 inches, the body is 6.3 longer, it's half an inch taller. And it's heavier, of course—105 to 125 lbs heavier, according to Mini and based on preliminary US figures, depending on model and transmission.
Unfortunately, the wheelbase stretch and the extra doors result in some awkward proportions. I've personally always liked the long, lean look of the Clubman—a good compromise between traditional Mini aesthetics and increased space for stuff for those who need it. But it didn't have proper rear doors. In solving the rear-door issue, the 4 Door seems to accentuate the 2015 Mini's fussier details more than the Hardtop does.
I guess the silver lining here is that the new Mini Hardtop is really good, judging by the reports trickling in from staffers who have sampled it. Since the 4 Door shares all the functional bits with the Hardtop, a little extra weight shouldn't kill the mood completely. And the 4 Door will still offer a six-speed manual, the same turbo engines that the Hardtop sports: a three-cylinder turbo that makes 134 hp, and the 184-hp turbo four in the Cooper S trim.
If this all makes it sound like the Mini 4 Door is identical to its Hardtop sibling in everything but dimensions, you'd be correct. And also, the price tag. For the extra doors and chassis stretch, Mini asks for a $1000 premium.
No word on when the Lego version will be available.