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Behind the Concept: The Next MINI Clubman Revealed

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It likely won’t surprise you to know that the MINI Clubman concept that debuted in Geneva is really not a concept at all. But the similarity between the concept and the final production vehicle is perhaps closer than we originally thought.

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Take away the 19″ wheels, inset door handles, trick side mirrors and a few other exterior pieces away and you’re looking at the 2016 MINI Clubman. Furthermore inside there’s less that is concept than you might expect.

What to Expect in 2016: The Exterior

While the entire car is wider (noticeably so) the nose from the bumper up should be almost a carbon copy of the F56. What we see in the concept’s bumper design is MINI’s first integration of BMW’s air curtain and air breather system. This has dictated a new look at one of the more controversial aspects of the F56′s design.

The side mirrors will be identical to the F56 but the side scuttles will offer some slight variation. relating to that, MINI will move the model name (i.e. Cooper or Cooper S) to the side scuttle area to create a more obvious hierarchy between car and model.

Around back look for the Clubman to feature a large MINI logo as the door handles for the boot. The handle will split when opened creating a trick looking logo that will be hard to miss.

Finally don’t expect to see that dual-pains sunroof on the production version of the Clubman. In its place will be a more standard unit similar to the version see on the F56.

Beyond those change What you see in the exterior of the concept is pretty much what you get in the production version of the 2016 Clubman.

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What to Expect in 2016: The Interior

Here’s where things get interesting. As much as the exterior looks like a stretched version of the F56, in reality it’s quite a bit wider as well as longer. That has allowed MINI designers to take a fresh look at the interior add a few features not found in the F56. To start with the dashboard is completely different than the F56 and features four square air vents rather than square and round combination currently used. The middle console houses different HVAC controls and a toggle design that is recessed more than the F56.

Postproduction: Wagnerchic*Digital Artwork www.wagnerchic.com

There’s also a real center console that allows for heating and cooling vents to fit between the front seats and aim at the rear passengers. And speaking of those passengers, the extra width allows for a true three person bench seat – decidedly wider than the current Countryman.

With the Clubman MINI will also introduce an option all digital instrument package that replaces the analog dials in front of the driver. While it’s unclear what MINI will offer in the way of features, you can imagine that the options are limitless.

Postproduction: Wagnerchic*Digital Artwork  www.wagnerchic.com

When We’ll See it

The Clubman will debut in production form early next year and should hit dealer lots around summer of 2015. Why so late? MINI first has to release the four door F56 (decidedly shorter and narrower than the Clubman) the convertible and of course the JCW F56.

We’ll have more on the Clubman (including the plug-in hybrid model) in the coming weeks and months.

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Written By: Gabe

  • rhawth99

    The front end looks much better than the F56 to me. I really like most of the exterior. I’m not really too keen on the interior though, especially the lower console area back to the arm rest area. Would like to see the dash with analog instruments as I don’t like the looks of the digital instrumentation.

    • Erik06mcs

      Was just going to comment the same thing. Front end is leaps and bounds cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing than the hideous F56. The integrated cooling ducts on this front bumper is seamless. My only complaint is the foglights integrates in the center grill area. Otherwise I could only wish the F56 with it’s horrendous lower chin looked as clean as this.

  • dr

    Interesting…..seems to me that there are way more sales waiting for this car than a JCW or a F54. I understand that this is not really a hardtop variant but is essentially the new countryman and as such seems to be on a different development track. it is a shame that this car is so far away. to place those hardtop variants ahead of this car is a painfull choice of priority.

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      I would agree. That said this is a different car than the F56 and even F55 four door. The F54 Clubman rides on a larger stretched version of the UKL platform and with it brings many changes over the F56 sized MINIs that required their own development cycle.

    • r.burns

      If the F56 Concept were revealed months before the ugly spyshots, it would have got the same success.

    • Mark Smith

      There’s only one small detail wrong with that thinking. Actually two. The first and most obvious is the age of the R56 is showing. The second and not so obvious is that WE MINI DEALERS NEED THE F56 IN THE WORST WAY POSSIBLE!!!!!!!! The $199 per month lease specials and stuff they advertise on the Hardtop drives traffic. This is worse in certain respects to when the R50 and R53 were being replaced. The only difference this time around is that art least we have other models to sell which reduces the blow in sales compared to late 2006 into 2007 when were all but stuck dying for the new car.

  • Evan

    I REALLY love this F54 Clubman. The lower bumper with the air curtain is so well resolved. Plus the driving lights inset to the grille are perfect. Hopefully regulations won’t require them to be closer to the corners.

    I’m also intrigued by the new dash- the concept looks really nice and the back seat passengers will appreciate the air vents. It’s really a Golf equivalent in the end, a whole size larger than the F55/56 pair.

    This remains as my next car. I can wait the 18mo to get one, fortunately. Can’t wait to hear more!

  • bfee

    Is it too late to put that front end on the F56 ? How could a company that is able to design this car screw up their primary offering so badly ? I wish the Clubman would be offered before the F56 so I don’t have to go looking at Focuses and Mazdas.

    • r.burns

      It’s been said so many times… the new Clubman is far larger than the F56

    • TheMotoringAdvisor

      Bfee, if you haven’t seen the F56 in person I would hold off judgement (and this is coming from someone that despised the black shiny bar up front and I make my living selling MINI’s). We just received our 4 launch vehicles yesterday and I’m assuming the rest of the dealerships will be seeing theirs soon as well. Go have a peek for yourself and you’ll see what a great job the design team did with such strict pedestrian safety standards in place.

      • Gene Leeds

        It’s tiring hearing the excuse of the strict pedestrian standards. There are hundreds of other cars that have managed to work with those standards without making nearly their entire fan base start looking at other manufacturers.

        • Axtell71

          ‘Nearly their entire fan base start looking at other manufacturers’? Hyperbole, much?

        • Gene Leeds

          Yes I exaggerated on the internet. However that doesn’t ignore the point of the post. :)

        • dr

          I’m not sure how much of it is hyberbole….I would consider a cooper but the MCS is just to silly looking with the chin strap. I think all of us 1st gen buyers have really been waiting for the F56 to upgrade ….have now lost interest…..That is until the clubman concept brought us back to hoping for something that looks as good as the handling

      • bfee

        Thanks, I’ll try to take a look but the excuse of pedestrian safety standards doesn’t hold water because I presume the Clubman meets them as well and I’m still at a loss on why their management signed off on screwing up instead of improving their key player. I hope the pictures are misleading but I doubt they are THAT misleading and the Clubman shows they could have done better.

        • Racer X

          bfee, I agree with the comments about seeing the new vehicle in person. Also on the MINI product side, I have spent considerable time with the F56 in person, and especially with certain colors, almost forget about the protruding lower air ducts on the Cooper S. Spending 4 days with 80+ vehicles (S, non S, manuals and automatics) and I am very impressed and satisfied. While you are at the dealer looking at the new F56, be sure to take a spin in the Cooper automatic and be prepared to be blown (insert 3-cylinder Twin Power turbo oun here) away. The F56 elevates the whole brand to a higher level – probably where the R56 should have taken the company 7 years ago. Most, if not all dealers should have received their 4 launch vehicles (2 Cooper and 2 Cooper S), and hopefully have not sold them already! :)

  • Tim H

    When’s the moritorium on Bi&%^ing about the F56 front taking effect? getting old and the car is barely out.

    • KPP

      I wouldn’t be too hard on anyone who dislikes the front end. Design is incredibly subjective and I feel that its a good thing that people voice their likes and dislikes so that maybe if someone ‘important’ is listening, they can think twice about that particular choice i.e. the protruding chin and future design elements.

      I drove them both last weekend at a dealership organized drive event and I can attest that the cars, as a whole, look beautiful in person, especially the Cooper. The protruding air duct chin on the Cooper S is still a problem for me even having stared at it for hours in person. I just cant seem to get used to it. Its a shame, but everything else about that car is absolutely amazing, so it quickly became a moot point. They look awesome. I can write a novel about how well they both drive for each of their intended purposes. In a few short words though, holy effin hell! I’m still smiling about it!

      • Tim H

        disliking i get. but the jabs and complaining about it gets a bit long in the tooth. i think you can respectfully critisize and voice your disdain without the sarcasm and dare i say, whining, that some use.

  • brian

    “While the entire car is wider (noticeably so) the nose from the bumper up should be almost a carbon copy of the F56″ By that sentence I understand that the front end of the production Clubman, will not look like the concept, which looks fantastic, but will look the the F56. Is that right?

    • Jason

      You’re acting like they’re significantly different. The F56 Cooper bumper and the F57 Clubman bumper are very similar. The only difference is the location of the driving lights and those aid ducts. I’m sure the production version will have the driving lights back to the normal spot and those air ducts will disappear.

      • Gene Leeds

        Very true. Also one is terrible and one is wonderful…but that’s small potatos.

        • Jason

          Ok…

      • Brian

        You’re implying that even small differences don’t make things look better or worse. In nature that happens all the time; even “identical” twins have a better looking and worse looking twin, yet the differences are very small.

  • b-

    While I really like what they have done with this car it still has the 4 little doors. Every car guy will tell you, 2-door wagon is cool, 4-door wagon is not cool. That is why the current Clubman is cool, because it isn’t a 4-door wagon, with the coupe doors and the clubdoor it is a cool 2ish-door wagon.

    Here is to hoping that the nose of this car is kept like it is, the first picture in this article is such a great view of this car!

    • chris94602

      unfortunately, the “pedestrian” masses asked for 4 doors cause they couldnt wrap their silly little heads around the club door. “Too hard to load and offload the kids, etc.” I personally love my club door cause when you open it, you have a larger volume to navigate thru to load, position and unload cargo. When people realize that the pillar between the 2 smaller doors makes it harder to deal with cargo, they’ll cry for the club doors to return (one can only hope!). Cant wait to hear more about the plug-in hybrid, YAY! (About freaking time, too)

  • Gene Leeds

    How long till they put that beautiful face on the ugly duckling hatch?

  • Henry

    Gabe, could you elaborate more from the bumper down. Will the production model have the air curtain, air curtain system? This is an awesome design and will certainly help with mpg figures.

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      I know that all MINIs will get the air curtain and air breathers. What we don’t know is how it will look for each model and when they will each get them. My guess is that we’ll see this front end treatment on the Clubman from day one.

  • Roger Seeley

    Didnt know MINi and ford got together to make the Clubman Flex…

  • Henry Wu

    If that exterior is 90% close to the concept, I’ll be first in line to trade in my GP and slap down some money for a new Clubman S. On another note, that scratched up window toggle is a bad choice.

  • Speck

    So since this is coming before the next convertible, might we see these changes in the next convertible? Feels like this is a preview of the f56 mid-cycle refresh

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      After the convertible. And no… The F54 Clubman will have unique details.

  • Tom Kennedy

    Is an AWD version still in the works?

  • Chilly

    I’d love there to be an option for 2 seats in the rear vs.3, the rear in this concept looks fabulous.


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MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
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2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

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