Big fan of the std 3 door F56, but can't bring myself to like that 5 door...
something inherently off about the shape - the same type of issue that makes the Porsche Panamera so ugly - trying to morph a classic shape into something else
In fact I think if I had to have 5 doors but wanted something smallish with character, I'd have the facelifted Juke Whatcar also reviewed instead (burn the heretic!)
I certainly understand the need for a longer and more spacious car, which logically leads to a four door. I think MINI has done a very good job with this, the car must be bigger in order to add the doors and cargo space required. But it seems that some of the sportiness of the 2 door hatch has been lost in favour of this practicality. The new Clubman will also be a 4 door (actually a 6 door) and if I remember correctly it will be longer than the 4 door hatch. Somehow it looks sportier than the 4 door hatch. If I needed a bigger car and it fit in my crowded garge, I would most likely go for the Clubman. In for a penny, in for a pound as far as size is concerned.
I only wish that the designers of the new Clubman had stayed closer to the R55 which I owned and liked a lot. The single "suicide" door worked very well for left hand drive cars and there was just enough extra space over the hatch. The sportiness was not affected and the car performed beautifully in spirited driving situations.
Overall, I do harbour a fear that overall MINI is losing it's mini-ness. I hope that they don't make the next gen hatches bigger and that they keep a Coupe or Roadster in the lineup.