The 2016 MINI Clubman – Everything You Need to Know

MINI is on the eve of beginning pre-production of its most important 2016 model. The completely new 2016 MINI Clubman will re-focus the model on catering to small families with four doors, fives seats and a larger boot (to boot). All told this new Clubman will be the largest MINI by length and width to date. Based on the same UKL platform as the F56, this stretched version will take all the tech and drivetrain that consumers love on the current MINI hatch and combine it with a ton more space and utility in a wagon like silhouette. In many ways this list is the MINI that we at MF wanted the Countryman to be.

The Exterior – A Wagon not an SUV

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While the entire car is wider (noticeably so), the nose from the bumper up looks to be very similar to that of the F56. Good news for those critical of the F56 front bumper design, the F54 Clubman tones down that design creating something much more subtle while achieving the same aero function. Speaking of aero the Clubman will also feature the introduction of 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.

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.

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Elsewhere we’ll see the twin barn doors retained but the rear taillights turned on their sides in a horizontal layout (a la Paceman).

According to sources, the rear will 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.

Interior – Utility and Comfort Added

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Inside the new Clubman things get really interesting. The extra width has allowed MINI designers to take a fresh look at the interior and 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.

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 or the current F55 four door hatch.

With the Clubman, MINI will also introduce an optional 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.

The Engines – a Hybrid, Diesel and All Wheel Drive Join the Ranks

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While the F54 will launch with the now expected three and four cylinder engines seen on the F56, there will be a couple new variations thrown into the mix. As we exclusively reported earlier this year, MINI will debut an all wheel drive plugin hybrid Clubman that should offer incredible efficiency ratings.

The Hybrid

At the heart of the new Hybrid Clubman will be the 1.5L three cylinder lifted from the F56 Cooper and powering the front wheels. Integrated into that will be a plug-in hybrid system (likely derived from the BMW i8) powering the rear wheels only. The beauty of that arrangement is the torque (which is abundant in electric motors) won’t overwhelm the front tires and instead will provide additional power in the most effective way – to the rear. Not only will power and torque be better distributed, but it will also allow for better weight distribution across the entire car.

The synchronous electric motor will likely have an electric-only range of around 15-20 miles. Obviously this would be ideal for urban environments.

The system that BMW has shown in concept form (and has been testing for years in R55 Clubman mules) has an output of “over” 140 kW/190 bhp. Doing the math backwards (and assuming MINI won’t detune the 134 hp Cooper 1.5L engine) we can expect the electric engine will have around 60 hp by itself.

Given these numbers (and adding the extra weight of the system) we’d expect 0-60 times in the low 7s. More importantly BMW has said it expects the system to achieve a fuel consumption of less than 2.5 litres per 100 kilometers (94 mpg, 113 mpg imp), with a CO2 emissions level of less than 60 g/km. Granted those figures will be altered for the US based on the EPA’s own measurement but they will still be similarly astounding in production form.

For a full report (and details on the hybrid’s push to pass system) be sure to check out our exclusive coverage on the new hybrid Clubman

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The Diesel

A Diesel in the US. We know. You’re wondering how we can be so confident about the US finally getting a diesel MINI when MINI USA has either shown ambivalence or pulled plug on the program in the past. Five years ago the US was on the verge of getting an R56 diesel. However due to the global economy meltdown the business case just didn’t make sense. However this time things are different. The UKL platform from the beginning has been designed to accommodate the urea tank required for US diesels making modifications less expensive. Then there’s the increased interest in higher MPG and diesel in the US that are both consumer cost (never mind the currently low fuel prices) and legislation driven.

So what diesel MINI will the US get? We originally reported that the US would be getting a MINI Clubman SD for 2017 and we still believe that to be true. What’s the SD? Simply put it’s a diesel Cooper S drivetrain that produces 168bhp at 4000rpm and 266lb ft lbs at 1500rpm. MPG? That’s where things get really interesting.

The Cooper SD is rated at 70 mpg combined in the UK. In US MPG figures that’s 59 mpg. While the UK testing procedures are a little less stringent, that’s still an incredible number that would do more than just raise eyebrows for the US buying public concerned with efficiency.

Production Schedule

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Pre-production of the MINI Clubman begins late this month with its internet debut happening shortly afterwards. The public will get to see the Clubman for the first time in Frankfurt with European and UK sales beginning this fall. The US should see its first deliveries very late this year. Here’s the full rundown:

Cooper & Cooper S Start of Production: July 2015 – June 2022 Cooper & Cooper S ALL WHEEL DRIVE Start of Production: March 2016 – June 22

Look for more (including more revealing photos) in the days ahead on MF.

  • Karl

    Any chance the F56 gets the front end treatment shown here? Got a JCW on order, but I really like the air curtain.

  • Gary

    Bigger and bigger…when will it end? Certainly a lot of positives with this new Clubbie, but when most Boomers hear the words “station wagon” we just can’t shake the mental image of the legacy wallowing land ark. Probably our loss, but old biases are hard to break.

    • memphismini

      Mmmmm….wagon

  • Jay

    All sounds great, but man that thing looks like a F56 that’s eaten too many Cheetos. I’d be very surprised if it handled the same way as the F55/F56.

    • R.O.

      “I’d be very surprised if it handled the same way as the F55/F56”

      I wouldn’t expected it to get the “same” handling as the Cooper (F55/56). If someone is getting a clubman for racy handling, autocross and track days, plus going crazy on the twisties, IMO they would be getting the wrong type of MINI. To me the Clubman is more of tourer and passenger haul type vehicle.

      • Jay

        No, definitely not. It has to be really heavy, but handling is what MINI is all about. We’ll see if they can pull it off.

    • memphismini

      Isn’t it about the size of a GTI? Hardly massive. I’m sure the ride will be different, but I suspect it will feel better than the Countryman.

      • Yes almost exact.

      • R.O.

        A VW GTI 5 door hatch is 168 inches. Strictly from the picture, it looks closer in length to a Mazada 3. Hatch: 175.6″ Sedan: 180″

  • Mysticeti

    “…the eve of beginning pre-production…” Glad to hear we’re beyond the eve of the dawn of the beginning of incipient pre-production. 😉

  • nervous

    That spy tape gives me an idea on how to fix the tail lights. Now all I need is body colored duct tape.

  • eEighty8

    How do the external dimensions compare to the new X1?

    • Smaller and lighter. Not sure how much yet.

      • Better Be! The X1 is tipping the scales at what, 3600 lbs?

  • EvanHVYWGHT

    Can’t wait to see it with the tape off of it. The front already is more agreeable than the current F56 S front end. I’ll probably look to get a 2018 F54 S manual. I’ve wanted a MINI like this for a long time.

  • ulrichd

    I agree with others that the cleaner front end is an improvement over the F56S. Wish they had kept the vertical tail lights from the current version. Probably due to some consumer clinic where someone said they were “weird”.

    • Kathy Rick Talbot

      We’re loving our new R59 S Roadster….the “MINI support vehicle” or MSV’s lease ends in early 2017…this new Clubman may be on the short list to join the Roadster in the garage depending on size, features and value compared to the other few “wagons” in the market – BMW SportWagon, Audi AllRoad, and Volvo V60 models. The F54 with All4, diesel, and/or the hybrid models are all interesting options.

  • RakSiam

    I like the sounds of the digital instruments. Hopefully that finds its way into the other models as well. Not sure I’d want something this big though. Still hoping for Rocketman.

  • John McLauchlan

    Going to take a very close look at this one. A F54 JCW ALL4 would be very tempting. We’ll see.

  • R.O.

    “Inside the new Clubman things get really interesting.”

    Well lets hope MINI/BMW fixed/changed the POS fuel gauge/light bar from the F55/56! Hope they put in a real style looking fuel gauge which has at a minimum 1/2 tank marking/line etc.

    From the pictures it seems and looks like the bonnet slopes downward, something similar to the RXX series, or is it an optical illusion?

    • John McLauchlan

      Looks to have the same fuel gauge, based on spy shots. Virtually none of the fantastic Concept interior will make it into production.

  • oldsbear

    This is not quite ‘everything I need to know.’ What is its actual size? What is its estimated price?

    • ulrichd

      Looks big in the pics. I am guessing size is similar to last gen Audi A3 5-door?

      • oldsbear

        My garage is sized to accommodate R55s….

        • R.O.

          My garage is sized to accommodate an F56S 🙂

  • Nick Dawson

    At last, a MINI that needs no excuses – a grown-up MINI for grown-ups.

    Grown up interior too – see attached photo.

    • ulrichd

      What’s grown up about the interior? Take away the center radio/info system and this could be from any manufacturer out there. Is there such a thing as automotive gentrification?

      • John McLauchlan

        With the gauges mounted on the steering column and toggle switches on the dash, it retains several of the traditional MINI interior design queues. This particular spy shot shows a very plain looking interior, with standard cloth seats, 2 spoke wheel, and no navigation. That’s probably what makes it looks a bit more generic at first glance.

      • Nick Dawson

        Although the term ‘gentrification’ usually refers to older residential property, it could apply to old cars that, with time, become desirable and collectable – for example the BMW E30 and now even the E36, provided that they are have low ownership and low mileage with excellent provenance. It would not apply to brand new cars of course.

    • R.O.

      “…a grown-up MINI for grown-ups.”

      If you mean by that no “kitsch” or goofy stuff, yeah I agree (from looks wise only, don’t know about useless goofy tech). But as ulrichd pointed out, the look/layout could be from any manufacturer. Boring and plain. I see no manual handbrake. Looks like electronic switch handbrake, thumbs down on that.

      I prefer round air vents vs square on the edges of the dash. (square next to infotainment center stack is ok). Where would the “idrive” controller be located if you had NAV and boost? Doesn’t look like any room for it with the handbrake switch and the dual cup holders in the center divider.

      The HVAC controlls and switches surround shape area looks like something from a Dodge Ram or pick-up truck design. Or some other US car/wagon. I can’t remember which car/tuck/SUV model I’ve seen that look/shape before.

      And of course they kept the POS fuel gauge. If MINI is going to classify themselves as a “premium” brand then can’t go cheap and do a glue on looking light bar fuel gauge, put in a proper fuel gauge. A TFT style would even be ok

      • Nick Dawson

        I love it – looking forward to seeing it in the metal, especially in Pepper White.

        • R.O.

          Overall the outside (exterior) does look nice. Not a fan of the interior design/look.

          True, everyone has their own likes and dislikes. What appeals to one’s eyes, doesn’t to another person.

          Luckily I have no need for 5 door or 6 door vehicle. If I did have a need, it might make my list but closer to the bottom of list.

          I’m happy I only need 3 doors .

      • RacerX

        The iDrive controller goes where the cutout is located next to the electronic e-brake switch. That’s not the cup holder you see there in the above pic. Cup holders remain in front of the shift lever as in other Rxx/Fxx models. I agree about the HVAC surround; I would have liked them to have kept the “downtubes” theme there. And as an F56 owner, the fuel gauge is definitely tops on my interior complaints list! Reminds me of an 80’s Pontiac, sadly. And even more frustrating, is that it’s something you look at every time you’re driving, unlike the protruding chin/brake cooling ducts.

    • James D

      Meh. Could be Dodge truck borrowed interior pieces from the looks of it but actually the new styled Dodges look a bit better than this. Just seems to be thrown together, top to bottom. Definitely nothing like the initial drawings.

      I am happy to keep my non-grown up R56 JCW. Just finished a 4 hour drive in it from San Antonio to Utopia and back and it was a delight. Especially delightful was the view of the interior with its non-grown up looking dash with round vents and big speedometer. I think I’d be tired of looking at this interior before I even made it Hondo. Oh well, to each his own…

    • planeguy96

      Agreed! I bought my R53 at age 25 with no kids, at age 37 with two kids I need something larger and I desire something more refined. The hardtop should always be about fun….. The clubman is about giving me an alternative to a vw sportwagen or a mazda3 that still retains the spirit of the brand. MINI Doing this well keeps me as a customer and advocate for the brand

  • John L.

    I’m guessing the “All Wheel Drive” heading above refers only to the hybrid with the electric drive on the rear wheels and not an All4 system. If the All4 were offered on the new Clubman wouldn’t that take potential customers away from the new Countryman coming along a year or so after this new Clubbie?

  • Aurel

    Man, I loved my 2008 Clubman but I don’t understand all the hype and hope this new one is getting from MINI. I mean, the old one did “ok” for them I guess but this sounds like this will be even more premium priced and it’s still a wagon after all. It does indeed look promising and I hope as well it’s the car that brings me back to MINI as they’ve been putting me to sleep lately.

    • James D

      Looking to hopefully pick up a used JCW Clubman after someone is suckered into trading it in for the new one! ;^)

  • DR61

    Sweet! I’ve been waiting for this (the plug-in AWD) as a replacement for our CM All4. Our other car is a plug-in hybrid which, while boring to drive, does all our local city driving without using a drop of gas.

  • I’m excited to see and drive it. This will be perfect to replace my R55 as I need the extra room for my DJ equipment. It’s looking really good. It will be a difficult decision between this and a manual transmission equipped Ford Focus. I’m leaning towards this being MINI number 7 though.

  • RacerX

    I like what I assume is a new bonnet stripe design as seen on the Volcanic Orange photo above. Very nice.

  • Jeff H

    “we can expect the electric engine will have around 60 hp by itself.” So for the 15-20 miles of all electric range, you are motoring with only 60 hp! Does anyone else see a problem with this?

  • Jeff H

    When are the new 8/9 speed transmissions coming???