Lets get this out of the way. Our Clubman’s left front NM Engineering RSe12 18″ wheel (which just replaced the ORM 17″ wheel with all-seasons) is no longer a circle. After a couple guest editor test drives in the our Clubman (and using it as a chase car for our forthcoming BMW M2 and 1M comparison) it magically appeared with a rather nasty bent wheel. Surprisingly it’s not that noticeable at speeds under 50 mph but on highway drives it’s less than ideal. The fix? Three options; we could buy another from our friends at NM Engineering, we could take it to a wheel specialist or we could try to fix it ourselves. How? The old school method of a big hammer, a block of wood and patience. The latter would be the most fun. But the first choice is likely.
The second issue is our first actual problem with the car. The right rear passenger door (door four of six if you’re counting) refused to open from the outside. It’s funny how quickly you get used to a four door MINI and how much you miss that fourth door if it doesn’t operate. After weeks of the old open the front, pop the back routine we finally took it MINI of Chicago where it was promptly diagnosed and fixed under warranty.
Other than these issues we have thoroughly enjoyed our time in MINI’s largest offering three months into our year long review. It’s proved to be an excellent kid hauler and long range traveler on top of being an ideal every day commuter. The performance and feel of the car is what you’d expect of a larger MINI. Grown up but still plenty lively, it’s a great combination of utility and fun to drive feel.