The MotoringFile’s 2016 MINI Clubman Cooper S Has Arrived

Over the years we’ve been lucky enough to have a number of long term MINI test cars. Some we’ve ordered with your input while others have come a bit more ad hoc. This years tester is the latter but you won’t hear us complain. For one it’s a new Clubman – the same car we loved in our initial test drive a month back. Secondly it’s smartly specced Cooper s model with pretty much all you’d need without a price that waters the eyes.

Lets start with the basics. The 2016 Clubman is replaces our 2015 F56 Cooper S (a full wrap-up is coming) and will be with us for a full 12 months. As per usual we’ll be testing the Clubman by putting it through the daily rigor of life. Road-tripping, commuting and simply living with it day in and day out.

F54_Clubman__6855

So what’s in our F54? At $36,600 it’s fairly but not fully loaded. Key options include the aforementioned manual transmission, technology and premium packages, LED headlights, HUD, heated seats, Pure Burgundy Cross-Punch leather seats and those great looking 17″ Net Spoke wheels. The Clubby is finished in Melting Silver and a black top. While there are a few options we would have loved (cold weather package with folding mirrors and a right side that dips when reversing is required IMHO), this is really compelling vehicle for $36k.

Which really brings us to our first conclusion. Two days in, living with this MINI is unlike any we’ve ever had. Compared with the 2012 Countryman (our last four door MINI we had as a long term tester) the Clubman is faster, more efficient, better screwed together and leagues better in terms of material quality. In short this is a MINI that finally like the premium MINI has been promising us since 2001.

F54_Clubman_320_UK

Why didn’t we wait for the All4 option? Having lived with an All4 Countryman a few years back, we’re not convinced the traction benefits (mostly seen in snowy conditions) outweigh the extra mass you carry around (whether you need it or not). But we’ll have a more full formed opinion after testing the new All4 Clubman in a few months.

Look for much more on our Clubman in the days, weeks and months ahead. In the meantime check out the full build below and sound off in the comments with what you like about it, what you don’t and how you’d build your Clubman.

MotoringFile Clubman Spec Sheet (PDF)

  • R.O.

    “….this is really compelling vehicle for $36k.”

    Well, maybe, maybe not. While it’s difficult to do a vehicle brand/ to brand comparisons (many other factors involved), I feel for 36K MINI has missed the mark (high price) for what’s not included, i.e. standard.

    Let’s compare equipment (both optional and standard) the 2016 Clubman Cooper S to the 2016 Honda Civic (not talking driving dynamics).

    MSRP for the 2016 Honda Civic touring is $28,715. Standard equipment on this trim includes:

    Remote Engine Start Hill Start Assist Multi-Angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines LED Daytime running lights Fwd Collision Warning Lane Departure Warning Collision Mitigation Braking system Road Departure Mitigation system Lane Keeping Assist System Adaptive Cruise Control Honda LaneWatch Apple Carplay and Google Android Auto SiriusXM radio Honda Satellite Linked Nav system with voice recognition and HD digital traffic 450 Watt Premium Audio system with 10 speakers and subwoofer Security System and remote entry LED headlights Divers 8 way power adjust seat Leather seats Fog lights Moonroof And all the other things that MINI has.

    Added Options:

    Autodim mirrors 17″ Alloy wheels

    MINI:

    Extra cost for LED headlights and Fog ($1,000 or get Fully Load PK=$4,750) Extra cost: 8 way power seat – drivers side ($1,250) Extra cost: HK sound system ($750) Extra cost: Alarm system ($500) SiriusXM ($300) Nav system (Tech pkg= $1,750 or Fully Loaded $4,750) Extra cost: Comfort Access ($500 or via pkg) Extra cost: Reaview camera (one angle only) ($500 plus in pkg only = extra $$$) Active Driver Assistance – $1,000 and ONLY if you get the Fully Loaded Pkg. Not avail as standalone option.

    Now I wouldn’t get the upgraded Pure Burgundy Leather ($1,500). The Leatherette or Cloth are more than good.

    So just on Top Trim level vs Top Trim level compare on what comes standard, the Honda Touring Civic at $28,715 is a better price value vs MINI at 36K and you don’t even get Active Driver Assist in the MINI with having to spend $5,750 more.

    Again, I’m not comparing driving dynamics or fun factor and yes the Honda comes with a CVT, but these days for a car that BMW/MINI classifies as a “Premium” car, things like HID leadlights, blindspot tech and driver tech (at a minimum adapt cruise control) should be standard.

    I like my 2015 F56 S but found the Halogen HL to be crap (wasn’t in my budget for $750 more to get LED.) MINI should have at least made some type of HID standard. Plus no driver assistance or blindspot tech without have to get a bunch other things and more $$$, sorry not today anymore especially when the car is branded “premium”.

    Cheers,

    • Robblef

      Sadly, I agree. It’s sad that cars which were not considered premium by any measure are now badly beating out MINI in the options for price category. MINI should be leading the tech advances – not trying to play catch up (and badly at that).

    • glangford

      I agree too. Just way too much. I’d opt for the BMW X1 with an uptuned 228 hp and AWD.

      • I’d highly recommend driving them both before forming an opinion. Having driven both I would definitely opt for the Clubman. Decidedly sportier, far better design, priced lower with all the tech I would want.

        • glangford

          I’d have to disagree. More HP, standard M sport suspension, power liftgate. Power seats with memory, and AWD all make the 34k starting price an attractive option over the clubman. The main problem with the X1 are terrible seats and sport seats are not a stand alone option.

        • Again I’ve driven both. The power to weight ratio matters as does MINIs suspension and steering settings. They all contribute to a much more engaging vehicle.

        • glangford

          I’ll admit I’ve only driven the X1, very nice driving. A clubmanD could change the equation.

        • Ashley Wilson

          Does your height change from day to day enough to warrant power seats?

        • glangford

          No, but my wife drives too, she’s 8 in shorter. Whenever she drives my car it takes a while to readjust everything. Seat memory is great.

  • R.O.

    Link to You Tube video of a car reviewer in Poland (it’s in English). MINI Clubman Cooper S 2016 Test Drive and Review.

  • Robblef

    Nice build but I might have dropped another $1300 or so for the fully loaded package.