Savannah, GA, – Now there’s a not so mini MINI available for your driving pleasure. It comes two ways: available as the 2016 MINI Cooper Clubman or MINI Cooper S Clubman. Both models serve up seating for five, with 6 doors (split rear doors) and plenty of cargo space.
The MINI Clubman draws its motive force from a 1.5-liter inline 3-cylinder TwinPower Turbo engine that makes 134 horsepower at 4,400 rpm along with 162 pound feet of torque at 1,250 rpm. The Cooper S variant is powered by a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder TwinPower Turbo motor that delivers 189 horses at 5,000 rpm while also developing 207 pound-feet of torque at 1,250 rpm. The engines of both new Clubmans are mounted forward in a transverse orientation, driving the front wheels.
Energy is delivered to the driving wheels via either a standard Getrag 6-speed manual gearbox or an optional automatic transmission – a 6-speed auto for the Cooper Clubman, and an 8-speed Steptronic automatic, available with F1-style paddle shifters for the Cooper S Clubman.
Both MINI Clubmans provide a refined and firm, European road feel, with a standard adjustable driving mode system, which allows directing the technically sophisticated drivetrain to match the driver’s motoring mood. Sport mode tightens steering and adjusts the throttle profile for a more aggressive driving scenario. Switching to ‘Green’ mode yields more fuel-efficient motoring, with optimized fuel delivery, tweaked shift points and a coasting feature that disengages an automatic transmission when lifting off the throttle.
The Clubman models are both unmistakably recognizable as a MINI while displaying their British heritage and delivering world class handling attributes. The Clubmans represent one of eight available MINI body styles. The MINI Clubman’s new streamlined body is aerodynamically sculpted, and is longer and wider, with sleek, distinctive proportions and stretched silhouette that aren’t just for show. New vertical air curtains on the outsides of the lower air inlet channel direct air around the wheels to a pair of breathers on the other side aid in reducing drag while and creating a smoother, more efficient ride. The handy split rear doors are power operated and open wide at the touch of a switch in each handle allowing for loading and unloading bulky items into the 17.5 square foot boot, which increases to 47.9 square feet with the rear seats folded down.
The surprisingly spacious interior consists of a premium cabin with a new center console design. It is well appointed, with five high-end leather upholstery options, such as Chesterfield leather with diamond pattern stitching. Subtle ambient lighting enables the creation of varying cockpit moods with 12 settings and 255 color tones. A dual-pane panoramic sunroof is optionally available, that adds nearly 11 square feet of glass, enhancing the view for both front and rear passengers.
MINI Connected is standard fare in the Clubman, featuring a high-resolution 6.5-inch or optional 8.8-inch display, designed to seamlessly integrate technology into the MINI – from popular apps like Spotify® & Pandora®, to hardware like GoPro® and more.
An optional Park Assistant utilizes sensors to size up a potential parking spot to ensure that the MINI will fit. Then, the system will partner with the Park Distance Control to take over and steer the car into place with precise prompts for the driver when to brake, apply the gas and shift between forward and reverse.
Safety features include options such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Dynamic Stability Control and Head-Up Display, which add to peace of mind and convenience.
There are more than 50 million ways to configure MINIs, and as with all MINIs, the Clubmans provide a 3-year/36,000 mile no cost maintenance program from boot to bonnet, and a four-year/50/000 mile limited warranty.
The MINI has been motoring about for more than 50 years, often criticized and considered an unsafe vehicle by the likes of Ralph Nader – but what does he know. Created by Sir Alec Issigonis and introduced August 26, 1959, the classic MINI is still an incredibly popular little car after 50 years. Hypothetically, only 10,000 were sold here in the U.S. over an 8-year period, but today, more than 12,000 are registered — they must be multiplying somewhere, even if they’re not related to the Rabbit — take that Ralph and VW. In essence, the MINI was an “engineered” car, rather than a “styled” car, or car by “design, hence its immense popularity and perpetuity. Love for, and acceptance of, the original MINI has been shared over its legendary lifespan by common folk and royalty alike. Its heritage is neo-European.
During the national press introduction, my driving partner and I had the opportunity to experience both the Cooper and Cooper S Clubman. We began our test drive with the MINI Cooper Clubman with the 6-speed manual gearbox. It wore a British Racing Green exterior with a silver top and a Black Pearl cloth/leatherette interior. The base price was set at $24,100., while the final sticker came to $30,750. Our MINI Cooper S came with the 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters and Chesterfield leather interior. The exterior wore a Pure Burgundy metallic finish topped by a gray metallic roof. It’s base sticker read $27,650, while options bumped the final tally to $39,550.
SUMMARY: Despite the fact that the new MINI Cooper and Cooper S Clubman is longer (wheelbase and overall length), wider and taller than the Cooper and Cooper S 4-door hardtop, they still handle with the characteristics of a Go Kart, bringing a smile to the countenance of all onboard during spirited maneuvers, while providing greater versatility and functionality. The new Clubman has increased in length by 10.9 inches, with a 4-inch longer wheelbase and a 2.9-inch increase in width than the standard four-door MINI Cooper that adds to its stability.
The configuration is slightly different than the earlier version of the Clubman – rather than the previous model’s “suicide” third door, the new model is a traditional four-door with dual doors that open wide from the center. Currently, there’s only the one four-door body style with the dual rear cargo doors, and only the Cooper and Cooper S trim levels, but a high-performance John Cooper Works edition is anticipated down the road. There will likely also be all-wheel-drive examples for those in more frigid climates.
The ride quality is firm, riding on run-flat tires, but not objectionable. The steering is spot on and instantly responsive. Acceleration is certainly more than adequate, but due to the Clubman’s increased weight over the regular four door MINI it doesn’t seem as quick. A more robust engine and exhaust note would be a welcome addition, increasing the sporting flavor of what is now a more refined and sophisticated MINI, suitable for long distance travel in comfort.
For those who desire an increased level of performance, an optional Sport package is available, but most Clubman buyers probably won’t be going autocrossing. There are however other options available for You-ification.
- On the TFLcar scale of:
- Buy it!
- Lease it!
- Rent it!
- … or Forget it!
I give the 2016 MINI Cooper & Cooper S Clubman a Buy It! for a practical and extremely fun to drive MINI with added versatility.
2016 MINI Cooper and Cooper S Clubman Specs:
|2016 MINI Cooper Clubman||2016 MINI Cooper S Clubman|
|Price as Tested||$30,750||$39,550|
|Engine||1.5L inline 3-cylinder TwinPower Turbo||2.0L inline 4-cylinder TwinPower Turbo|
|Power||134 bhp @ 4400 rpm||189 bhp @ 5000 rpm|
|Torque||162 lb-ft @ 1250 rpm||207 lb-ft @ 1250 rpm|
|Transmission||6-speed manual or 6-speed Steptronic automatic||8-speed Steptronic automatic|
|Drivetrain layout||Transversely mounted front engine, front wheel drive|
|Curb weight||3,015 lbs. (w/automatic)||3,235 lbs.|
|EPA-estimated fuel economy||25 / 35 mpg (city/hwy)||24 / 34 mpg (city/hwy)|
|Top speed||127 mph||142 mph|
|0-60 mph||8.9 seconds||6.9 seconds|
The 2016 MINI Cooper S is a small, sporty car that’s great on twisty roads as Roman and Tommy discover in this TFLcar VLOG Review.
|Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.|