After the introduction to the first ever four-door MINI Cooper this year, BMW is going to continue to upgrade its British marquee for the 2016 model year, with the new MINI Clubman. The Clubman was always a bit of an oddball; it was slightly bigger than the standard Cooper, yet didn’t boast much larger passenger or cargo space.
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It seemed like a cool little shooting brake, but never really caught on. MINI and BMW aim to rectify this, however, and are making this new Clubman quite the intriguing package.
For 2016, the Clubman has grown substantially over the previous generation, now giving owners an actual usable rear seat. MINI claims the Clubman will now actually seat five comfortably, as it now has three seats in the rear as opposed to the previous Clubman’s two. Both exterior and interior dimensions have grown on MINI’s new shooting brake, sporting a 27 cm growth in length, 9cm in width, 10 cm in wheelbase and now has 360 liters of luggage space which turns in 1,250 liters with the rear seats folded down.
Either way, the Clubman is quite the spacious MINI.
Looks are pretty standard MINI, especially in the front where not much is different from the standard Cooper and Cooper S. It’s the rear that’s changed quite a bit. Instead of the suicide rear doors of the original, the new Clubman is now a true four-door. The oval taillights have also been moved to the rear barn-style doors (which can now be power operated via keyfob or with a foot motion if the Comfort Access system is optioned), as opposed to being mounted on the D Pillar. All in all, the Clubman is an attractive package, as it follows in the footsteps of the already attractive Cooper. It’s definitely more handsome than its slightly awkward predecessor.
The interior has received a massive upgrade from its original, as well. With it mostly being the same as the Cooper, albeit just bigger and with what seems to be nicer materials, it looks very good. Ergonomics are typically MINI odd, but, like the Cooper’s, are getting much better.
The massive center screen still dominates the dashboard, though the dash trim now runs the length of the entire thing, a la Jaguar XJ. Materials still seem top notch, and diamond-stitched leather is an option as well as a slew of John Cooper Works interior options.
Powertrains will be standard MINI as well. The base car will come with a 1.5 liter TwinPower turbocharged three-cylinder engine, making 136 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. It will also be good for around 5.1 liters per 100km (46mpg equivalent). Mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic, the base Clubman should be able to go from 0-60mph in about 9.1 seconds. Not blistering speed by any means, but certainly fast enough to have fun and is justified by the outstanding economy.
The Clubman S will pack a 2.0 liter TwinPower four-cylinder engine, making 192hp and 206 lb-ft, which will propel the Clubman S to 60mph in 7.2 seconds with the manual or 7.1 with the optional eight-speed ZF automatic. The Clubman D will use a 2.0 liter TwinPower four-banger, making 150hp but 243 lb-ft and will do 0-60mph in 8.5 seconds while returning 4.1 liters per 100km (57mpg). The eight-speed is available only on the Clubman S and Clubman D, while the base car makes due with MINI’s older six-speed unit.
As a whole, the Clubman seems to be a far more practical version of the already very good MINI Cooper. We tested the Cooper S 4Door back this past winter and came away impressed with its driving dynamics, fuel economy and overall build quality. The only thing that lacked was rear seat and cargo room, despite its 4Door size. It turned out that the rear seat ate up too much cargo room to make it a practical hatch.
This new Clubman seems to be rectifying this issue, as it will have superb cargo space as well as a perfectly usable back seat. If the Clubman turns out to be as fun to drive as its smaller Cooper sibling, which I surmise it will actually be better due to its longer wheelbase, than MINI will have brought back the fast, fun and premium shooting brake.