MINI Clubman to Feature BMW’s Air Curtain Technology

Last year MINI showed us the thinly vieled Clubman concept that gave us an excellent view of the 2016 model. The new Clubman will be the largest MINI to date and feature a full six doors (four full doors plus two barn doors). It will also have a number of features not seen on MINIs to date including a patented BMW aero technology called “Air Curtain.” Together with the “Air Breather” the system reduces drag on the bodyshell in a very simple, but extremely effective way.

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Two narrowing channels guide the airstream through the front apron and past the wheels. This reduces the air turbulence in the wheel housings, which decreases fuel consumption and in turn CO2 emissions. A further benefit of the Air Curtain is that it contributes to improved cooling of important vehicle components.

The second part of the system is the “Air Breather” which helps to reduce the drag associated with the wheel housings and wheels (which generates approx. 30% of the vehicle’s entire aerodynamic drag). The Air Breather is an air outlet behind the front wheel that lowers turbulence in the wheel housings and breaks down the air swirls that form there. It channels the air current on the front wheels and thus not only reduces the air flowing into the rear section of the wheel housings – but also the adverse effect of negative pressure on the side walls. As a consequence, the aerodynamic drag is lowered while fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are also effectively reduced.

The 2016 MINI Clubman will begin production this summer with an internet debut happening in June. The public debut should take place at the Frankfurt Motorshow this September with sales in Europe beginning around the same time. North American sales should start shortly afterwards.

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In the US the Clubman will be available in Cooper and Cooper S variants at launch with additional models will be added the following years:

  • Cooper/Cooper S Start of Production: July 2015 (EOL June 2022)
  • Cooper/Cooper S ALL WHEEL DRIVE Start of Production: March 2016 (EOL June 2022)

We also expect MINI to release a US diesel variant with an engine designation of B47C20O0. That’s the same designation used for the Euro-spec Cooper SD. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder produces a healthy 266lb ft. (maximum torque is available from just 1500rpm) and 170 hp. On the UK cycle the Cooper SD gets an astonishing 70.6mpg. Expect something in the 40-50 mpg range from the EPA. Unfortunately, all wheel drive might not be available with the diesel engine.

As far as we know a plug-in hybrid version of the new Clubman is still in the cards, but stay tuned as we gather more information on the topic. There’s a chance it may be Countryman only.

For more on the Clubman (and the rumored 300 hp AWD JCW version) check out the MotoringFile Clubman section.

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Top photo courtesy of BMWToday.de