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Published Date: 30/06/2017

The second generation of the BMW-built MINI Hatch was unleashed in 2006. While the iconic and super cool styling remained pretty much the same, this version was new under the skin. When German engineering perfectionism and British design flair are mixed and shaken, it’s always going to create something that just keeps on getting better and better. On this occasion, spawning the third and current generation MINI Hatch that hit the road in 2014. For anyone wondering what all the fuss is about and how the Mk2 and Mk3 versions compare, read on.

Three doors or five? You choose

Opening up the opportunity of owning a hatchback as cool as the new breed of MINI to people who need an extra dose of practicality is what makes the third generation car (F55/F56) stand out from the second generation version (R56).

Bigger, roomier and comfier

Scooping the Best Premium Small Car of the Year title at Auto Express’ 2016 New Car Awards, plus What Car?’s Best Small Car 2017 in the over-£15,000 price bracket, the third generation MINI Hatch is longer, wider and taller than the Mk2 even in 3-door guise, let alone the 5-door version. This translates into the 3-door’s boot having expanded from 190 litres to a more useful 211 litres, while the 5-door offers 287 litres. For anyone with a relative or friend the height of Peter Crouch, they’ll be much more comfortable in the back of the third generation MINI, which has loads more space and also a more luxurious feel!

Something for everyone

Much more distinctive and fun to look at both outside and in when compared with rivals like the Audi A1 and VW Polo, the Mk3 MINI’s trim levels are generally the same as the previous generation, ranging from One to Cooper and John Cooper Works. In memory of the first ever MINI, the Austin Seven from 1959, a very special Seven edition is also available with unique paint jobs, stunning alloys, the Excitement Pack as standard, half-leather trim and plenty of special little Seven badges.

Great for stylish tech lovers

With a healthy dose of retro touches to keep and win the hearts of new and existing MINI fans, the Mk3’s interior boasts a hugely-tweakable and sporty driving position, and many buttons and switches are now found in even more logical places. MINI’s eye-catching circular infotainment screen is powered by a system similar to BMW’s iDrive and keeps the driver in touch with an array of entertainment and communications gadgetry, and the Mk3 MINI was given a solid 4-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

Fun guaranteed

From the world’s first MINI to the latest third generation, fun driving thrills have always been at the core of the experience. The F55/56 feels every bit like a go-kart and those seeking bigger thrills are advised to go for a Cooper version.

The wide range of petrol and diesel engines have all been massively improved too, from the entry-level MINI One’s 101bhp three-cylinder petrol and 94bhp diesel engine engines to the JCW’s 217bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine. The popular diesel Cooper SD pumps out a torquey 168bhp while offering up to an amazing 70.6mpg in fuel economy and impressively green CO2 emissions of 106g/km, still hitting 62mph in 7.3 seconds.

Instantly recognisable as a MINI, the third generation is bigger, plusher, punchier, greener, techier and sportier than the mark 2. It’s a credible choice for fun-seeking drivers of all ages, and alongside its British flair oozes German quality thanks to its BMW parentage.

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