The MINI Clubman is not just all new but entirely re-imagined from its the previous generation. The 2016 Clubman is based on the UKL2 platform that offers not just dramatically more space than the previous generation but more interior volume than either the four door (F55) MINI or the Countryman. In short this is MINI’s first serious attempt at what is called a family car. Thus MINI has invested an enormous sum in making this not only the perfect family vehicle but something that still feels like a MINI.
Beyond the size, the Clubman also focuses on quality and levels of sophistication never seen before in a MINI. This is a premium product unlike we’ve ever seen on MINI lots. The interior features almost bespoke levels of design and quality with a look that is less whimsical and retro and more sophisticated and modern.
The (Right) Size is Everything
This is the least mini a MINI has ever been. But considering the market it’s going after, it retains the typical MINI values. The MINI Clubman has 7.2 inches more rear seat legroom than a Mercedes CLA250, and has more headroom than both the CLA and the Audi A3. Yet at 3105 pounds, the MINI Cooper Clubman is lighter than an Audi A3 FWD.
How does it compare to its competition?
How does it compare to other MINI models?
As you can see above it’s both the longest and the widest MINI ever, but just barely larger than a VW Golf.
As with most MINI USA versions of these global vehicles, even the standard car is well specced. Standard equipment highlights include:
- 6.5” Visual Boost Screen (6FP) with MINI Connected (6NM)
- The Clubman is the first MINI to have a standard 6.5” high-resolution display with MINI Connected – linking the driver directly to online music, driving information, in-car apps and more.
- Enhanced Bluetooth and Audio Streaming (6NP)
- The Enhanced Bluetooth option includes Voice Command and extended connectivity functions such as Bluetooth audio streaming and cover art display.
- Front Center Armrest (473)
- Ergonomically optimized armrest with integrated storage compartment, fixed to the center console.
- White Turn Signal Indicators (785)
- Storage Package (493)
- Includes luggage compartment (flat load floor), rubber tray mats in British tartan pattern, additional 12 V socket, luggage compartment lighting, and rear seat bench cargo position.
- MINI Excitement Package (4V9)
- Includes MINI logo projection from driver’s exterior mirror onto the ground, headlight and door handle welcome lighting, and multicolor lighting for footwells, door pockets, and center console.
- MINI Driving Modes (4VA)
- Three driving modes (Sport, Green, and Mid)
- Rain Sensor and Auto Headlights (521) Automatic Climate Control (534)
- 16” (Cooper) and 17” (Cooper S) Silver Light Alloy Wheels
Key Additions and Options
The specifications shouldn’t be a surprise. For the US market we’ll be getting the same 3 and 4 cylinder engines as found in the F56 and F55 MINIs. However there is welcome new addition.
The Clubman Cooper S 8 Speed Automatic
We’ve first exclusively previewed MINI’s new 8 speed over a year ago. Now we get the details on what is internally known as option 205. Compared to the Aisin 6 speed that MINI has used since model year 2005, this 8-speed transmission (also an Aisin) has more flexibility to match the needs of the engine and inputs of the driver, enabling more efficient, comfortable, and engaging performance. However if you’re opting for the 8 speed there’s a mandatory option box that will need to be checked – the sport automatic transmission (Option 2TB). The sport auto features paddle shifters on the steering wheel and an enhanced sport mode with quicker gearchanges and performance-oriented shift points.
Electric Seats Come to the MINI
The Clubman marks the first time a MINI has offered power front seats (Option 459). It adds some weight (likely around 20-30lbs total) but adds plenty of convenience. Available with all Clubman seat styles and upholsteries, the power seat option adds eight-way adjustment plus four-way power-adjustable lumbar support. As part of this, option 459 also comes with a two-setting memory function which can be linked to each car key.
Electric Parking Brake
Hand-brake turns are a thing of the past. Bummer. But the upside is that the new electronic parking brake allowed the designer to free up space and offer more features in the center console. For MINI’s first real family vehicle, it’s a change that makes sense to us.
MINI surely thought long and hard about the Clubman’s barn-doors. They’re not quite as practical as a standard hatch, but they give the car enormous character. And now they’re much easier to live with. The Clubman’s available Comfort Access system includes a foot-operated sensor to offer truly hands-free opening of each of the rear split doors. In addition to this the doors also open by holding down the key fob.
Pricing & On-sale Date
MINI’s new four door will officially begin sales in January 2016 however some launch models will likely show up in December. If you want to see the new Clubman earlier look for your local MINI Store to feature launch parties from October to December.
MINI has big plans for the Clubman. First up will be an all wheel drive version expected within the next 12-18 months. The system will be identical to the Countryman’s new system which is a new iteration of the R60’s.
While MINI is working on a plug-in hybrid system, it’s unclear if it’s destined for more than just the Countryman. If the Clubman does get it, expect a 1.5-litre BMW TwinPower Turbo engine (generating an output of 100 kW/136 hp together with a peak torque of 220 Nm (162 lb-ft), with power relayed to the front wheels via a six-speed Steptronic transmission. An additional high-voltage generator on the front axle fulfils three different tasks: it boosts the combustion engine for brief periods with extra output of up to 15 kW and some 150 Nm (111 lb-ft) from rest, generates electric power while on the move (which is fed directly to the high-voltage battery), and enables the engine to be started and turned off very smoothly thanks to its higher output compared to conventional starters. The electric motor is located above the rear axle, together with its two-speed transmission and the power electronics. It sends output of up to 65 kW/88 hp and maximum torque of 165 Nm (122 lb-ft) through the rear wheels.
Next up will be the JCW variant which could produce anywhere from 250-300 hp with power delivered via all wheel drive.
Hat tip to MINI on the graphics.