This is the third in a series of official releases by MINI USA that details the US spec 2008 line-up. While there may not be any new info in these releases for the current MINI owner, they represent a good read for those seriously looking at buying a MINI for the 2008 model year. Further coupe information can be found in the MotoringFile R55 section.
More Room, More Utility, More Fun in the Latest “True” MINI:
Official MINI USA Press Release: Stretching the wheelbase a mere nine inches in comparison to the MINI hardtop does virtually nothing to diminish the go-kart-like driving characteristics of the new 2008 MINI Cooper Clubman and MINI Cooper S Clubman, but it significantly enhances interior room and utility as well as driver/passenger comfort and convenience for those who want more of this iconic British brand. And Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in true MINI fashion Ã¢â‚¬â€œ mixing the traditional with the modern results in both the car’s unique, but unmistakably MINI appearance and unique ways to access this interior: The tailgate carries forward the twin, outwardly hinged “split-doors” found on the Clubman’s ancestors, while rear-seat passengers ingress and egress is eased through the rear-hinged “Clubdoor” incorporated in the car’s right side.
The new MINI Cooper Clubman, an expansion to last year’s introduction of the second-generation of the modern MINI, mirrors the latest MINI Cooper hardtop Ã¢â‚¬â€œ both inside and out, in terms of equipment Ã¢â‚¬â€œ from the radiator grill to the B pillars. This means the new variants share the 172-horsepower turbocharged engine of the MINI Cooper S and the 118-hp, naturally aspirated four-cylinder powerplant of the MINI Cooper, both driving the front wheels, as well as dashboard, seats (with the exception of some upholstery colors and materials as well as interior trim colors), comfort and convenience features and switch gear. And they share the chassis components, as well as the soul, which have earned the MINI accolades on its fun-to-drive, go-kart-like handling characteristics.
Not shared between the MINI Clubman and MINI hardtop is the area behind the front seats and the number of doors providing access to the interior. Stretching the Clubman 9.4 inches and the wheelbase 3.2 inches results in a very different environment for passengers and life’s cargo. Virtually the entire extra wheelbase is translated into additional leg room for rear passengers and the revised body work provides a bit more shoulder room for them as well. The most dramatic transformation comes in terms of luggage space: the Clubman offers 61 percent more space (9.18 versus 5.7 cubic feet) with the rear seats up or 37 percent more (32.8 versus 24 cubic feet) with both seats folded. And the Clubman offers an optional flat-luggage-floor system which also brings a covered storage bin between the rear split-doors and the seatbacks.
Those rear split-doors offer the most striking visual differentiator for the Clubman from the hardtop. In keeping with the marque’s heritage, the new MINI Clubman’s rear look is modeled along the design of the rear doors found in the Austin Mini Countryman, Morris Minor Traveller and the Mini Clubman Estate from the 1960s. The new MINI Clubman eschews the more common hatch for a pair of split-doors hinged on the outer edge of the C-pillars, thus providing a wide, open access to the luggage area. Opening/closing operation of the doors is very specific: the left, or main, door must be opened prior to the right one (and closed in reverse order) and the doors effortlessly glide open with the aid of a pair of gas struts.
A similar sequential operation allows for the opening/closing of the Clubdoor which provides a more convenient means for rear passengers to enter or leave the MINI Clubman cabin. Hinged at the rear on the right side, the Clubdoor can be opened with as soon as the front-passenger door is opened. Integrated into the leading edge of the Clubdoor is the right-side B-pillar, including the front-passenger three-point seatbelt. Compared to the MINI hardtop, with the Clubdoor open, passengers have four times the space to enter the rear seats of the Clubman (when the front seat is in the easy-entry position).
Once inside, all of the four possible occupants have their own three-point seatbelts and are further protected by six standard airbags. Strong, stable body construction provides the MINI Clubman with a platform for a high level of crash protection. In the event of a collision, optimized load paths within the body structure serve to effectively divert forces acting on the car, despite the short overhangs front and rear.
Active safety is enhanced in critical driving situations by the standard anti-lock brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBFD), Cornering Brake Control (CBC) and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) as well as Automatic Stability Control + Traction (ASC+T) control standard on the MINI Cooper S Clubman.
The Brake Assist on both models detects emergency operation of the brakes and builds up maximum brake pressure very quickly. A feature added with last-year’s introduction of the second generation MINI is Hill Assist start-off assistance featured in conjunction with DSC. The system continues to hold the brakes for a maximum of 3 seconds after letting off the brake pedal and before the clutch is engaged. This feature is beneficial when setting off on an uphill gradient to prevent the car from rolling back.
Driving Fun Remains Centerpiece of MINI Clubman’s Mission
A low center of gravity, wide track and the wheels moved to the extreme corners of the car guarantee agile and nimble driving behavior, that go-kart feeling. The structure of the body shell, beyond providing the basis for superior crash protection in a car of this segment, creates a solid platform for the suspension pieces. The front suspension features MacPherson-type springs over struts ensuring excellent wheel guidance, keeping the steering smooth and responsive, and, thanks to careful engineering, unaffected by engine power both in accelerating or braking. The five-link central-arm rear axle offers optimum road contact, again regardless of conditions.
Compared with the MINI Cooper Clubman, the MINI Cooper S Clubman has a more sporting suspension set-up, and as an option, both models are available with sports suspension for an even higher standard of driving enjoyment.
The EPAS (Electrical Power Assisted Steering) helps to make the MINI Clubman even more nimble and agile on the road, speed-related assistance ensuring low steering forces when parking and precise control at high speeds. In conjunction with the optional sport switch, EPAS even offers a special sport mode specifically increasing steering forces for an even more direct driving experience.
Despite the slight increase in weight of the Clubman, the two four-cylinder engines carried over from the hardtops provide the performance to enhance this driving experience. The turbocharged 1.6-liter version in the Cooper S Clubman produces 172 horsepower, eclipsing the magical “100-hp-per-liter” measure revered by enthusiasts. This translates into zero-to-60-miles-per-hour acceleration in 7 seconds and the same top speed, 139 miles per hour, as the hardtop version. The naturally aspirated engine in the Cooper Clubman, also 1.6 liters, features variable valve control and accelerates this agile athlete to 60 mph in 8.9 seconds, with top speed of 125 mph.
These engines are designed for overall efficiency, which means high performance, low weight, low emissions and, of primary concern for all cars, but especially ones in this segment, good fuel economy. Despite their much higher level of dynamic performance and sporting character, both new MINIs return superior fuel economy, with the MINI Cooper S Clubman rating 34 MPG Highway, 26 MPG City for a combined preliminary fuel economy rating of 29 MPG. The MINI Cooper Clubman is even more efficient with an EU fuel economy rating of 37 MPG Highway / 28 MPG City for a combined preliminary rating of 32 MPG.
Both engine versions are fitted Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in a design pioneered in the original, 1959 Mini Ã¢â‚¬â€œ crosswise at the front, powering the front wheels. Composite Ã¢â‚¬â€œ instead of conventional cast Ã¢â‚¬â€œ camshafts and a weight-optimized crankshaft are part of the lightweight concept of the aluminum alloy power units. Fuel consumption, in turn, is optimized by a volume flow-controlled oil pump and an electronically controlled water pump for the coolant circuit Ã¢â‚¬â€œ two technical features previously limited to larger and more expensive model segments.
The MINI Cooper Clubman and the MINI Cooper S Clubman both come standard with a six-speed manual transmission. Both models can be ordered with an optional six-speed automatic transmission controlled by either console-mounted selector or Formula 1 style steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Unique, characteristic design with striking MINI features
The two versions of the MINI Cooper Clubman are virtually identical in their design and body structure to the MINI Cooper Hardtop up to the B-pillar, all the classic design icons of the MINI coming through in the new model. At the front these include the large, round headlights supplemented by the round parking-light units (which include, when fitted, the optional fog lamps) and hexagonal radiator grill. On the front flanks are the distinctive side direction indicators.
Seen from the side, the new MINI Cooper Clubman retains the firm, taut and striking look of the Cooper Hardtop, despite the added length and revised C-pillar design, resting powerfully on its wheels in a look well-known to friends and aficionados of the brand as the “stance on the wheels.” Another characteristic is the seemingly uninterrupted “flow” of windows around the car, adorning the new MINI like a complete, 360-degree band of glass, which is accentuated by a chrome band extends around the entire car at shoulder level, helping to create an impression of a greenhouse “floating” above the lower section of the car. Measuring the same width and virtually the same height than the Hardtop, the MINI Cooper Clubman, with its low-slung overall appearance, compact proportions emphasized by the tires-at-the-out-edge design, creates the same nimble and dynamic impression as all other members of the MINI family, including the previous modern-generation versions.
The rear-light clusters are kept as small as possible to maximize the opening of the split-doors as well as complementing the overall style of the car. Thoroughly unique amongst the MINI models, the new Cooper Clubman is nonetheless a MINI; there is no other car offered with a rear appearance like it!
To further distinguish the look of the MINI Cooper Clubman, the buyer can specify one of 40 color combinations of body and roof paint. Hot Chocolate is offered exclusively to Clubman buyers, one of 12 colors including Astro Black, British Racing Green, Laser Blue, Pure Silver and Chili Red.
Interior design reflects both MINI standards and an owner’s tastes
Thoroughly revised with last year’s introduction of the second generation MINI, the interior of the 2008 MINI Cooper Clubman combines traditional MINI elements Ã¢â‚¬â€œ like the large, central speedometer, clear, round dials and toggle switches Ã¢â‚¬â€œ with a palette of colors, trims and upholsteries to allow complete personalization within the familiar cabin.
The central element is the MINI-signature center speedometer, larger than before, with an enhanced range of functions serving far more purposes and requirements than on the former generation. The displays for the entertainment system as well as the display for the optional navigation system are integrated in the speedometer, while the tachometer remains a separate unit positioned, as befits a sporting car, behind the steering wheel in the driver’s line of sight.
The vertically arranged rotary knobs for the ventilation, the two cupholders integrated in the bottom section of the center console and the racing-inspired toggle switches are typical of MINI. Indeed, these characteristic metal toggles, operating the fog lamps, the power windows Ã¢â‚¬â€œ with express, one-touch up and down Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and central locking are larger than before and are joined by duplicates in the roof console for sunroof and interior-lighting control.
A round transmitter finished in typical MINI style is the Clubman key, the driver controlling engine operation with a start/stop button. All instruments and controls are very smooth and easy to operate, positioned at the right point for optimum ergonomics.
Background illumination in five colors
The Clubman interior lighting reflects typical MINI style and class, including ambient lighting which can be varied in five stages from warm orange to sporting blue. Serving as discreet “waterfall illumination” from above and as indirect illumination of the roof lining, the door storage bins and the door handle recesses, this illumination scheme creates a unique atmosphere inside the 2008 MINI Cooper Clubman.
Typically MINI, Uniquely New Design:
The “godfather” was the Shooting Brake. This is the term applied in Great Britain, the home the MINI, to sports cars combining the flair and character of a coupe with a hatchback, thus offering more functions than a “regular” coupe.
The new MINI Cooper Clubman takes up this shooting brake concept, an authentic and unconventional re-interpretation of MINI’s brand values. Based on the MINI Cooper Hardtop with its extremely agile performance and typical go-kart feeling, the MINI Cooper Clubman is a unique and emotional concept taking typical features of MINI design and carrying them to a new and different segment of the market.
Unique proportions underline the individual, sporting, active and masculine character of the new MINI Cooper Clubman. The rear-hinged Clubdoor, the two-piece split-door at the rear and wheelbase extended 3.15 inches beyond the standard MINI, make the Clubman quite unmistakable. This is a car appealing to the active and extroverted individualist, the connoisseur who sees his or her car as a genuine statement standing out from the usual crowd in road traffic.
Modern interpretation of classic functions
Following MINI’s motto of “from the original to the original,” the new MINI Clubman is fully aware of its historical DNA and interprets these genes with all the features now possible in the 21st century. Hence, it quotes design features from its ancestors, the Morris Mini Traveller and the Austin Mini Countryman, both of which were built from 1960 – 1969. These cars, served as sources of inspiration in developing the MINI Cooper Clubman. And in the process the designers responsible for the car succeeded in blending classic features of the shooting brake concept in an entirely new style, creating a car through the interaction of ultra-modern technology and functionality which meets the challenges of today’s world in a truly fascinating manner.
A good example in this context is the split-door at the rear: The new MINI Clubman takes up this principle of two wing doors hinged at the side dating back to the 1960s, adding innovative details and features appropriate in our modern times. Characteristic highlights in this context are the rear light clusters fitted in the structure of the body itself and not in the doors, the split-door opening mechanism supported by gas pressure springs, as well as the use of two window wipers at the rear, one on each of the doors. The focus was on everyday function and practical use.
World debut: Clubdoor for easier access to the rear
The asymmetric structure of the car’s flanks is an unusual design feature of the new MINI Cooper Clubman. On the left side, the front door (identical to the driver’s door of the Hardtop) provides convenient access to the front and rear, the additional rear-hinged Clubdoor on the right side ensures more convenient access to the rear seats. With both right doors open, and the front door must first be opened to use the Clubdoor, and the front seat in its “easy-access position,” there is four times the opening when compared to the Hardtop’s single right door. The B-pillar with its integrated seatbelt support for the front seat, in turn, is integrated into the Clubdoor, and the side pillar graphics likewise contribute to the unmistakable look of the Clubman.
The side view: Dune Line and the contrasting C-pillars
Seen from the side, the new MINI Cooper Clubman stands out with its dynamic wedge shape created by the interaction of the shoulder line rising up slightly to the rear and the horizontal roofline. The shoulder line extends from the headlights at the front along muscular shoulders to the C-pillars, where the distance to the roof is smaller than around the A-pillars. This creates side window graphics opening up to the front and giving the car a forward-leaning impression of power and action, bearing out the sporting character of the MINI Cooper Clubman even with the car stationary.
The dark surface color on the A- and B-pillars presents the window areas as one uninterrupted strip, at the same time creating the impression of a roof “hovering” in space, connected to the rest of the body through the C-pillars.
A slender elevation, the so-called Dune Line, extends back on both sides from the A- to the C-pillars along the entire length of the roof, giving the roofline a distinctive look of tense motion and raising the height of the car’s flanks by almost an inch, with the highest point just above the B-pillars. This gives the new MINI Clubman well-balanced, sleek and flowing proportions from the side, with the roof extending into a discreet spoiler at the rear. The result is a particularly aesthetic and functional combination of design and aerodynamics.
A wide track and very short body overhangs underline the typical posture of the car, its “stance on the wheels” characteristic of the brand. Indeed, it is fair to say that the new MINI Cooper Clubman “stands like a rock” on its wheels at all four corners. This overall impression is further enhanced by the plastic frame extending around the entire body and bordering on the front and rear air dams as well as the wheel arches and side-sills at the bottom.
The almost vertical C-pillars and the body overhang at the rear extended by 6.3 inches versus the Hardtop highlight the greater functional value of the new MINI Cooper Clubman and create new proportions nevertheless still typical of MINI. The C-pillars, in a different and conspicuous color, help create a look of balance throughout the car from front to rear.
The rear end: split-door and rear lights integrated into the body
The rear end of the new MINI Cooper Clubman is characterized by parallel, horizontal lines appearing clearly and distinctively from the vertical C-pillars. These lines serve to split the body into individual sections, becoming more slender and narrow step-by-step as they move up.
Such an arrangement of contours, referred to by the designer as a “waterfall line,” highlight the car’s low centre of gravity and the stable roadholding of the MINI Cooper Clubman, guiding the eyes of the beholder towards the wheels.
This horizontal stratification of elements at the rear is further accentuated by the large third brake light integrated in the roof strip, the two wipers on each of the rear door windows, the chrome-plated door handles, the separate reflectors and the bracket on the bumper finished in a contrasting color.
The horizontal lines at the rear are barely interrupted, at least visibly, by the center joint of the split-door. The frame formed by the C-pillars together with the upper edge of the bumper generates a clear visual signal design statement. Regardless of the body color, this rear frame or surround is finished in black or silver metallic; the C-pillar frame and the split-door giving the new MINI Clubman an absolutely unmistakable look from behind.
The rear lights are fitted directly to the body structure of the car and do not open and close together with the split-door. This design serves to meet legal requirements the rear lights must be clearly visible even when the rear doors are opened. Despite this requirement, the designers of the MINI Cooper Clubman wanted to hinge the split-doors as far to the outside as possible to capitalize on the space available. And the solution highlights the rear light clusters as design elements within the door frame, despite their small size intentionally reduced to the smallest dimensions allowed by world-wide standards. This is done by slightly tapering in the contours of the rear lights at the top, discreetly following the line of the rear door frame.
The MINI Cooper S Clubman has three distinct rear features differentiating it from the Cooper Clubman. The high-mounted brake light is white glass, a pair of appliquÃƒÂ©s on either side of the license-plate holder are in a grid pattern (mimicking the radiator grill) and the dual tailpipes are split, with one on either side of the body.
The front end: distinguishing the individual model variants
Seen from the front, the new MINI Cooper Clubman is virtually identical to the MINI Hardtop, the lone difference being the contour of the roofline. This means the MINI Cooper Clubman, complete with the homogeneous hexagon radiator grill and large round headlights, has the distinctive “face” of the brand. Other common features are the direction indicators integrated in the headlights as well as the parking- light units beneath the headlight units, which also accommodate the optional fog lamps.
The front end of the car serves to distinguish the individual models. The MINI Cooper S Clubman, for example, stands out through two design features visualizing the power and performance of its turbocharged engine. First, the powerdome – the curved section of the engine compartment lid – is 20 millimeters or 0.79-inches higher. Second, the size of the bottom air intake is highlighted by a hexagon grid net paralleling the look of the radiator grill with its chrome surround. A further differentiator is the air-intake in the hood of the MINI Cooper S Clubman.
On the MINI Cooper Clubman the radiator grill boasts a chrome frame and three horizontal chrome-plated crossbars. The edges of the lower air intake are slightly curved upward slight, almost giving the MINI Cooper Clubman a smile on its face and creating an elegant, likeable touch at the front.
Chrome features emphasizing the premium character of the car are common to both variants of the new MINI Cooper Clubman. These design elements include the headlights, the radiator-grill surround, the strip extending around the entire car at the shoulder line and the door handles.
The Interior Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Sporting Cockpit, Lounge Ambience at the Rear:
Inside, the new MINI Cooper Clubman is again identical to the MINI Hardtop level of the B-pillars. In other words, it boasts the same avant-garde, sporting cockpit including the circular instrument in the middle so typical of the brand. This design, introduced in last year’s Hardtop, brought more features and an even wider range of equipment, optimized ergonomics, more space, more sophisticated and stylish materials, and quality of finish reflecting the premium character of this MINI.
The high shoulder line of the body creates a sporting cockpit ambience within the interior, concentrating the overall look and impression of the car on just a handful of distinctive highlights which again serve to emphasize the new and even more striking character of the interior.
Round air vents moved to the outside serve to accentuate the greater width of the dashboard, emphasizing the horizontal orientation of the cockpit and at the same time acting as a transition leading over smoothly and harmoniously to the door linings.
Excellent ergonomics and easy control
The car’s developers attached utmost importance to simple and ergonomic control by the driver. Hence, all control elements are in strict hierarchic arrangement as a function of their frequency of use and need for operation.
Absolutely unique: center speedometer and toggle switches
The principal highlight is Ã¢â‚¬â€œ of course Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the round, center-mounted speedometer, incorporating the audio controls as well as the optional entertainment and navigation functions. The most distinctive feature is the speed indicator which surrounds all other functions like a 360-degree ring. And with the entire unit being placed high up within the instrument panel, all function buttons can be positioned for optimum ergonomic control.
The horizontally oriented structure of the cockpit is also reflected by the arrangement of the controls and instruments housed within the center console right beneath the speedometer. Other features typical of MINI are the vertical arrangement of the rotary air ventilation knobs, the two cupholders integrated in the base section of the center console, as well as the toggle switches carried over from racing. Serving to activate the window lifts, central locking and optional fog lamps, these toggle switches are larger than those on previous generations of MINI. And for the first time they are matched by toggle switches in the roof console controlling operation of the sliding roof and interior lighting.
Like racing design, the tachometer is directly behind the steering wheel in the driver’s line of vision. Additional information is provided by a supplementary digital speedometer as well as the on-board computer within the rev counter.
The conventional ignition key is replaced in this MINI by a round, electronic transmitter. Once inserted into the opening adjacent to the steering wheel, this transmitter enables the driver to start the engine by pressing the start/stop button. And with optional Comfort Access, the driver can leave the transmitter in his or her pocket or inside the car to open the doors and start the engine.
Beyond the front seats: a new space for passengers and life’s cargo
The interior of the new MINI Cooper Clubman takes on a unique personality behind the front seats. The three-plus inches of increased wheelbase benefits rear passengers by adding three inches to rear-seat leg room or nearly 42-inches, virtually the same as in the front. And the subtle change in the body’s roofline brings nearly an additional inch in shoulder space.
Utility is vastly improved with the design of the Clubman. The already modular configuration of the rear compartment, thanks to seats which can be either left erected or folded individually, adds even more room and, with the optional folding cover, a flat-floor from the bumper line to the back of the front seats. The flat-floor partition also creates a small bin below it (behind the bottom of the rear seats). Overall, luggage space can go from 9.18 cubic feet with both rear seats up to 32.8 cubic feet with the seats folded (which compares with 5.7 cubic feet / 24 cubic feet of the Hardtop).
Pleasure for all the senses
Encountering the new MINI is an experience beyond the visual and aural, for within the interior, the discerning customer will find numerous highlights appealing to the senses of touch and smell.
The design language of “circular elements” combined with horizontal structures shows clearly in the door panels and linings, the elliptical main element on the door lining now extending to the rear. This elliptical frame encompasses the light-looking armrest, a door pocket, and the round door openers in one unit.
The wide range of colors for the interior offers the customer a choice of Carbon Black, Gotham Gray, Tuscan Beige, and Redwood Red, either in harmony with the body color and trim chosen or differing as an exciting contrast.
The dashboard is made up of two horizontally separated sections with a trim division in between. The plastic surfaces come in particularly fine grain, highlighting the supreme value, class and style of the material.
Authentic and sophisticated: materials in premium quality
Different seat upholstery also serves to distinguish between the MINI Cooper Clubman and MINI Cooper S Clubman: “effect-yarn” seams enhance the lifestyle ambience within the MINI Cooper Clubman in the “basic” upholstery. The seat covers on the MINI Cooper S Clubman come in a checker design reminiscent of the chessboard pattern of the checkered flag in racing and serving as a graphic element.
The checkered cloth used for this purpose emphasizes the sporting touch of the MINI Cooper S Clubman, and may be replaced by a classic pinstripe design combining an elegant and fine woven look with leather (available in four colors) on the side panels of the seats.
Exclusive to the MINI Cooper Clubman, mirroring the exterior color, is a Hot Chocolate interior hue. The hand-sewn piping leather finished in this color, appears completely around the seats in the leather-lounge version or in combination with fabric on the optional sports seats one.
The wide range of cloth materials, leather, interior colors, panels and trim options offers each and every aficionado of the MINI exactly the right option to personalize his or her car according to his or her individual taste. The ambience thus created within the car ranges from high-class elegance through outright sportiness all the way to superb extravagance. And, quite regardless of the customer’s individual choice, premium quality and love for every detail is presented in every 2008 MINI.
The optional Color Line enables even the most discerning customer to individualize the cockpit according to his or her personal taste, color highlights in the lower sections of the dashboard continuing into the door linings and providing a particularly effective and attractive combination with the trim materials. Color Line is available in five colors (Dark Grey, Cream White, Pacific Blue, Rooster Red, and Mellow Yellow), with trim coming not only in its standard versions on the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S, but also in four exclusive, very special variants: glossy black piano paint, dark brown grained oakwood, brushed aluminum and a fine glossy surface inspired by the structure of liquid metal.
A further expression of the authentic premium character of the MINI is the use of wood and aluminum, while a fully closed glove compartment or a CD changer may be integrated in the trim surface on the front passenger’s side.
High-Tech Power Units for Greater Driving Performance:
The MINI Cooper S Clubman and MINI Cooper Clubman are powered by two different four-cylinder engines boasting a wide range of innovative details. Both power units are made of light alloy and displace 1.6 liters, benefiting from the BMW Group’s know-how in engine development and racing technology.
The engines in the MINI Cooper S Clubman and MINI Cooper Clubman differ in numerous respects. The MINI Cooper S Clubman features a 172-hp turbocharged engine with direct gasoline injection, while maximum output of the naturally aspirated power unit in the MINI Cooper Clubman is 118 hp, boasting fully variable valve management based on the BMW Group’s VALVETRONIC technology.
MINI Cooper S Clubman: turbocharged power unit for maximum driving pleasure
The 1.6-litre turbocharged power unit featured in the MINI Cooper S Clubman offers impressive performance on the road. Maximum output of 172 hp and specific output of109.5 hp/liter are impressive figures for a four-cylinder, light-alloy power unit in this class.
The power unit in the MINI Cooper S Clubman achieves its peak output at an engine speed of 5,500 rpm. Maximum torque is 177 pounds-feet and is maintained consistently throughout the speed range from 1,600Ã¢â‚¬â€œ5,000 rpm. When accelerating, torque is briefly increased even further to 192 lb-ft by the “overboost” function, an increase in charge pressure which gives the MINI Cooper S Clubman even more powerful “punch.” And overboost acts exclusively on engine torque, not on overall engine output. The MINI Cooper S Clubman responds instantaneously to the driver’s commands, accelerating from 0-60 miles-per-hour in 7.0 seconds with a top speed of 139 mph.
Despite their much higher level of dynamic performance and sporting character, both new MINIs return superior fuel economy, with the MINI Cooper S Clubman rating 34 MPG Highway, 26 MPG City for a combined preliminary fuel economy rating of 29 MPG. The MINI Cooper Clubman is even more efficient with an EU fuel economy rating of 37 MPG Highway / 28 MPG City for a combined preliminary rating of 32 MPG.
MINI Cooper S Clubman: direct fuel injection applying the common rail principle
Like the naturally aspirated version in the MINI Cooper Clubman, the new turbocharged power unit offers the highest standard of engine construction. The four valves per cylinder are controlled by two overhead camshafts, roller-type drag arms optimized for minimum friction, and hydraulic valve play compensation elements. The outlet valves are filled with sodium in order to meet the greater cooling requirements of a turbocharged power unit. The intake camshaft comes with infinite phase adjustment setting the engine’s valve timing to the driver’s respective power and performance requirements. The result is optimum output and torque on low fuel consumption and emissions reduced to a minimum.
Fuel is injected into the turbocharged four-cylinder by means of common-rail-direct-injection technology. The stainless-steel common rail connecting all cylinders is filled with fuel under high pressure by a pump at the rear of the intake camshaft. Injection valves positioned at the side in the cylinder head deliver fuel within fractions of a second and in exactly the right amounts from the rail directly to the combustion chambers, four valve pockets and the combustion trough in the middle of each piston ensuring optimum stratification of the homogeneous fuel/air mixture with a lambda factor of 1.0. Running in cast-iron sleeves and operating with a compression ratio of 10.5: 1, relatively high for a turbocharged engine, the pistons are cooled by splash oil.
MINI Cooper S Clubman: turbocharger with twin-scroll technology
Featuring a twin-scroll turbocharger, the MINI Cooper S Clubman comes with another feature unique in this segment. In both the exhaust gas manifold and the turbocharger itself, the ducts leading to two cylinders at a time are separated from one another. Reducing exhaust-gas counter pressure at low engine speeds, this arrangement capitalizes on the dynamic effect of the pulsating gas columns within the manifold in a special process enhancing the response of the turbocharger and accelerating its charge rotors to an optimum speed of rotation right from the start at low engine speeds.
The charge pressure, limited by a waste gate to 0.8 bar, starts to build at an engine speed of 1,400 rpm, almost eliminating the “turbo lag” typical of conventional turbocharged engines. As a result, the MINI Cooper S Clubman accelerates smoothly and instantaneously; the 1.6-liter turbocharged power unit demonstrating the same kind of response and behavior as a larger normally aspirated engine.
MINI Cooper Clubman: powerful but fuel-efficient normally-aspirated engine
Also displacing 1.6 liters, the MINI Cooper Clubman engine combines superior driving pleasure with truly outstanding economy. Maximum output of 120 hp comes at 6,000 rpm, with the torque curve reaching a significant 103 lb-ft at 2,000 rpm and continuing to a peak of 118 lb-ft at 4,250 rpm. The wide, useful torque curve is an example this engine combines superior power and performance with equally superior fuel economy in a compact and highly efficient power unit. The 2008 MINI Cooper Clubman accelerates from a standstill to 62 mph in 9.8 seconds and has a top speed of 125 mph.
MINI Cooper Clubman: variable valve management for optimum power and performance
Variable-valve control based on the BMW Group’s unique VALVETRONIC technology is one of the innovative technical features incorporated into the four-cylinder engine. With this valve management, the stroke and opening period of the intake valves are adjusted within fractions of a second to the power requirements; the camshaft acting on the valves not directly via a drag arm, but rather through an additional intermediate lever adjusted in its pivot point by an eccentric shaft driven by an electric motor. Depending on the position of this lever arm, intake valve lift is varied infinitely between 0.2 and 9.5 millimeters, the entire process of changing over from minimum to maximum valve lift taking about 300 milliseconds.
Over and above variable management of valve lift on the intake side, valve timing on the intake and outlet sides is spread out variably as a function of engine speed. Again, this is also an infinite process switching over when necessary from one extreme to the other in 300 milliseconds.
This speed and fast reaction is ensured by a high-performance 32-bit processor integrated in the engine control system. Variable valve lift and speed-dependant camshaft control serve to optimize the torque curve and the engine’s power output.
Engines with innovative design features
The engines featured in the MINI Cooper S Clubman and MINI Cooper Clubman are built in the BMW Group’s Engine Plant in Hams Hall, Great Britain. Compared with the former generation, both engines have been turned around by 180 degrees, with the exhaust facing front.
The basic engine block is similar in many respects on both the normally aspirated and turbocharged versions, both power units sharing a distance between the cylinders of 84 millimetres/3.31 inches, bore of 77 millimetres/3.03 inches, stroke of 85.5 millimetres/3.37 inches and, accordingly, engine displacement of 1,598 cubic centimetres/97.5 cubic inches.
The two-piece bedplate structure of the crankcase is a technology carried over from racing, with the cylinder block and bearing housing both made of cast aluminum. Integration of the chain box within the engine housing helps save weight, reduce running noise, and minimize the number of components.
The camshafts on both engine variants are composite structures, with cam rings made of high-strength stainless steel shrunk-fitted on to the camshaft as such (unlike the process in conventional casting). The next step is to fine-polish the cams down to an accuracy of 1Ã¢Ë†â€¢1000th of a millimeter. The eccentric shaft for phase adjustment is also made in this process, helping once again to reduce weight to a minimum.
Compact dimensions and high efficiency
The lightweight concept applied in developing the power units for this generation of MINI also involved consistent reduction of frictional losses. This is why the crankshafts on both engines are weight-optimized in design and structure, and come with special bearing shells and comparatively small journals measuring 45 mm or 1.77 inches in diameter.
On both engines, the alternator and air-conditioning compressor are driven by a single poly-V-belt, while the coolant pump is driven by a friction wheel gearing. Again, both of these design concepts help make the drive units of the 2008 MINI compact Ã¢â‚¬â€œ they are among the shortest four-cylinder engines in their engine-displacement class.
A new feature in the MINI segment is the use of a volume-flow-controlled oil pump. Driven by a chain, this pump delivers as much oil at any given point in time as the engine requires, no more, no less. The result is a reduction in power uptake by the ancillary engine units resulting in approximately 1.68 hp at an engine speed of 6,000 rpm and reducing fuel consumption by about one per cent.
The on-demand water pump on the coolant circuit offers a similar effect, cutting in when the engine reaches its operating temperature. This helps to save fuel in the warm-up phase, while at the same time the catalyst reaches the temperature required for optimum efficiency even faster and with a better effect.
Manual and Automatic Transmission Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Precise, Spontaneous:
Both the 2008 MINI Cooper Clubman and MINI Cooper S Clubman come with a standard six-speed manual gearbox and offer an optional six-speed automatic transmission.
The manual gearbox comes in two different configurations: on the MINI Cooper S Clubman, the first two gears are synchronized by means of double cones, while the MINI Cooper Clubman uses carbon friction linings for the same purpose. All gears on both versions are in helical design and all Ã¢â‚¬â€œ including reverse Ã¢â‚¬â€œ feature synchromesh, thus allowing for light, precise and efficient gear changes.
Sports button: even more dynamic gearshift at the touch of a button
The driver of an automatic-equipped 2008 MINI is able to shift gears by means of Formula 1-inspired paddles on the steering wheel, allowing him or her to keep both hands on the wheel even during gearshifts.
In the automatic mode, the transmission shifts gears according to the driver’s commands with virtually no interruption of power and pulling force. This is made possible by a converter activated when setting off and a converter clutch closing immediately after the car has started to move Ã¢â‚¬â€œ an operating mode combining supreme comfort with a sporting and crisp gearshift. Should the driver wish to enjoy even more dynamic performance, all he or she has to do is press the optional sports button for an even faster electronically controlled gearshift.
The MINI Cooper S Clubman is available with an optional mechanical limited-slip differential that minimizes the drive wheels from spinning on slippery surfaces or in bends. To set off different frictional coefficients, the differential instantaneously feeds more engine power to the drive wheel with better traction.
Chassis and Suspension – A New Dimension of Go-Kart Feeling:
The chassis, suspension, brakes and electronic-driving programs of the MINI Cooper Clubman are basically the same as those of the MINI Cooper Hardtop, with slight modifications (to compensate for the slight weight increase of the new model) to provide the characteristic go-kart feeling of the MINI. Featuring front-wheel drive, a low center of gravity, (relatively) wide track and short overhangs, the new MINI Cooper Clubman offers sporting, active handling, with the agile experience of all other MINIs. At the same time, the MINI Cooper Clubman offers a high standard of active safety in the chassis design.
Front and rear suspension design
MacPherson-style spring struts on the front axle ensure precise wheel guidance, keeping the steering almost entirely free of drive forces in fast bends, when accelerating and when applying the brakes. The central-arm rear axle, a concept unique in the MINI segment, ensures optimum road contact at all times through its kinematics. Use of aluminum longitudinal arms help keep the components light, while anti-roll bars reduce body sway to a minimum, making additional contribution to the car’s agile and safe driving behavior.
Reflecting the particular character of the MINI Cooper S Clubman, this model comes as standard with the most sporting and dynamic suspension set-up, and is also available as an option with sports suspension enhancing the go-kart feeling so typical of the brand to an even higher level.
The sporting-minded customer can choose a sports suspension on the MINI Cooper S and MINI Cooper featuring harder springs, stiffer shock absorbers and stiffer anti-roll bars. With this kind of equipment, the 2008 MINI comes even closer to the extremely direct driving behavior of a genuine go-kart.
EPAS for a brand-new steering experience
This generation of the modern MINI introduced the EPAS Electrical Power Assisted Steering system offering a combination of motoring comfort and driving dynamics. The steering is sporting and direct; the assistance provided is geared to the car’s current speed on the road.
With its electromechanical control, the steering system can be programmed to various settings. The “basic” setting provides well-balanced power assistance as a function of road speed, allowing the driver to maneuver and park the car with minimum effort. In the interest of safety and enhanced precision, steering forces have to be increased at higher speeds, and the integrated, active return motion moves the steering wheel back precisely to its central position in all situations.
The driver is able to set the electromechanical steering system individually to his or her personal preference by pressing the sports button. The sports mode, for example, activates a more dynamic control map characterized by higher steering forces and enhanced steering precision.
Introduction of EPAS steering technology in the MINI reflects the BMW Group’s general development strategy of improving efficiency while enhancing driving. Compared with conventional hydraulic systems, the steering in the MINI reduces weight significantly. In addition, electric servo motor is activated when power assistance is required or desired by the driver.
Brake and electronic-driving systems
The braking systems are designed to work in concert with the chassis and engine. Inner-vented front disc brakes, 11.57 inches on the MINI Cooper S Clubman and 11.02 inches on the Cooper Clubman are complemented by 10.2-inch discs at the rear. The fade-free brakes of both models are enhanced and supported by an anti-lock brake system (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBFD) and Cornering Brake Control (CBC). The brake assistant in the new MINI recognizes emergency braking maneuvers reliably and in good time, immediately building up maximum brake pressure whenever required to keep stopping distances as short as possible.
Standard on Clubman models, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and on-demand traction control (ASC+T) offer additional safety in critical situations. Intervening in the brakes as required or reducing engine power whenever necessary, DSC prevents the car from possibly swerving out of control.
Yet another feature is Hill Assist start-off assistance on uphill gradients. Available in conjunction with DSC, Hill Assist activates the brake system when setting off on an uphill gradient and thus prevents the car from rolling back.
Runflat tires standard on the MINI Cooper S Clubman
The MINI Cooper Clubman comes with 15-inch light-alloy rims and 175/65 R 15 tires. The MINI Cooper S Clubman features 16-inch light-alloy wheels and 195/55 R 16 runflat tires. Both models are available with optional 17-inch wheels in five-star Pace Spoke design exclusive to the MINI Cooper Clubman.
The MINI Cooper S Clubman boasts run flat tires as yet another standard feature, modified in this case to reflect the suspension set-up of the MINI. Thanks to their failsafe running characteristics, these tires allow the driver to go on motoring even when a tire is completely flat, covering a distance of up to 90 miles at a maximum speed of 50 mph.
And the 2008 MINI is equipped with a tire-monitoring indicator permanently monitoring air pressure and informing the driver in the event of an emergency.
Safety Engineered Throughout the New MINI Clubman Design:
The new MINI Cooper Clubman reflects the high safety and quality standards of the BMW Group in every respect In its safety and quality, The 2008 MINI offers a high level of passive safety. MINI meets or exceeds legal safety requirements in all countries in which it is on sale, and has all the features and technologies required for scoring best results in all crash tests.
Determining the wide range of safety features boasted by the 2008 MINI, the development specialists also considered the latest findings in the BMW Group’s accident research. And from the start they focused on future standards and requirements, for example in the area of pedestrian safety and protection.
The car’s safety parameters are based on the occupant safety concept already established by the MINI Cooper hardtop Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a concept which has been awarded the maximum number of five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test. The results achieved in this highly demanding test confirm the effective safety design of the MINI Cooper Clubman.
Attention to detail in design of the body, especially on the right side Ã¢â‚¬â€œ where the Clubdoor is featured Ã¢â‚¬â€œ results in crash worthiness equal on both sides. A further safety feature of the MINI Cooper Clubman is the rear-hinged Clubdoor can not be opened if the right-front door is closed, thus preventing any inadvertent opening of the door from inside.
Six airbags featured standard.
Six airbags come as standard in a package comprising frontal, side and curtain head airbags for both the driver and front passenger. The frontal airbags inflate as a function of the type and severity of an accident, as determined by sensors and calculated by a central computer. The two side airbags are integrated in the side supports of the front seats and effectively protect the driver and front passenger from thorax injury. The curtain head airbags, as the name indicates, inflate when required as large “curtains” coming down from the roof lining, thus offering the occupants both front and rear protection from head injury.
Three-point seat belts are fitted on all four seats, featuring belt latch tensioners, belt-force limiters and belt-warning signals for the front seats. Not only the six airbags, but also the seat belts are masterminded by the car’s central safety electronics serving to activate the most effective safety elements in each case, depending on the type and intensity of the collision involved. A further point is that the electronic “brain” deactivates the central locking in the event of a collision, switches on the hazard warning flashers and interior lights, and deactivates the electrical fuel pump. ISOFIX fastening points on the two outer seats at the rear ensure simple and straightforward installation of child seats for optimum safety. And should a child seat be fitted on the front passenger’s seat, the airbag in front of the passenger can be deactivated.
Design and engineering key to safety
To ensure the highest possible standard of safety despite the compact dimensions of the body, the various materials in the body are appropriately arranged and coordinated with one another to optimize crash safety through their particular features. High-strength steel and body plates varying in thickness referred to as tailored rolled blanks, as well as aluminum door elements and a magnesium carrier bar for the dashboard between the A-pillars, thus ensure not only supreme stability, but also low weight through the right kind of lightweight construction.
In a side, collision forces acting on the car are diverted appropriately to the underfloor on the opposite side, the doors, B-pillars, seats, instrument panel and roof frame keeping the side structure strong and stable. The right and left side of the car – regardless of the asymmetric arrangement with the Clubdoor on the right-hand side – both offer the same high level of crash safety. Diagonally arranged door reinforcements and an aluminum extrusion-pressed profile on the doorsill level interact with the A- and B-pillars to form one common deformation zone. The deformation zone at the rear, in turn, is formed by two longitudinal arms, the luggage compartment floor, the rear panel, the rear side panels, and additional reinforcement elements.
With the engine of the new MINI Clubman being fitted transversely in the front, there is ample space for crash boxes absorbing impact energy in the event of a head-on collision. Crash energy is diverted into the floor through the special design of the front axle subframe. Together with the structure, this system effectively absorbs impact energy, keeping forces acting on the car away from the extremely stiff passenger cell. So in a severe collision or should the car roll over, the passenger cell is able to retain its function as a survival area for the occupants. Effective diversion and absorption of impact energy and the stable passenger cell are the starting point for the optimum safety offered by the restraint systems featured as standard in the new MINI, with all of these components and systems interacting for optimum safety under all conditions.
Premium Features and Equipment in the Compact Class:
Choosing either a Cooper Clubman or Cooper S Clubman brings a comprehensive array of equipment, but MINI customers have an extensive list of optional features to choose from to further personalize their vehicles. The option portfolio ranges from unique Hot Chocolate color/trim for exterior and interior to advanced entertainment and navigation systems to leather seats to a sports suspension and, of course, unique light-alloy wheels.
Hand-sewn leather for a touch of class
In creating the interior of the MINI, the designers paid particular attention to all the details and refinements a car of this caliber deserves. Hence, the customer has all kinds of options in personalizing the 2008 MINI. A set of 16 chrome surrounds for the air vents, cupholders and instruments Ã¢â‚¬â€œ for example, serves to make the interior even more elegant and sophisticated.
Two optional leather upholstery offerings Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Punch leather in Carbon Black and Gravity leather in Tuscan Beige Ã¢â‚¬â€œ clearly evoke the British heritage of every MINI. The hand-sewn piped leather of these exclusive seats provides a feeling of quality and flair.
Available exclusively for the MINI Cooper Clubman is Hot Chocolate as both the exterior paint or interior color and trim. When this option is ordered, the Hot Chocolate colored, hand-sewn piping leather surrounds the leather-lounge seats or in combination with fabric on the sport seats.
MINI all the way: special illumination in your favorite color within the interior
Ambient illumination, acting as discreet “waterfall illumination” from above and as indirect illumination of the roof lining, door panels and door handle recesses, creates a unique atmosphere in the interior of the MINI Cooper Clubman. And again in typical MINI fashion, the color of the light may be changed at any time in five stages from warm orange to sporting blue, depending on the driver’s and passengers’ personal mood and preference.
Adding color is also the name of the game with optional Color Line allowing very individual and personal styling and flair in the cockpit of the 2008 MINI. Color highlights on the lower elements of the dashboard extend to the door panels, allowing an appealing and effective combination with the trim materials offered.
Color Line is available in the five color schemes: Dark Gray, Cream White, Pacific Blue, Rooster Red and Mellow Yellow. The trim surfaces come in the standard configurations, as well as with a choice of four exclusive variants: glossy-black-piano paint, dark-brown- grain oakwood, brushed aluminum and an extra-fine gloss surface resembling liquid metal at first sight. The premium character of the MINI is further enhanced by the use of natural wood and aluminum. In addition, an optional enclosed storage box or CD changer may be integrated in the trim surface on the front passenger’s side.
Cutting-edge entertainment and navigation systems can be specified by the MINI buyer. The optional navigation system features a 6.5-inch TFT color display housed within the center speedometer; the corners on the monitor rounded off and thus adjusted to the circular shape of the center speedometer. When a US customer orders the navigation system, a subscription to Clear Channel Real Time Traffic Information comes standard as part of the option.
TFT monitor technology provides an easy-to-read display, free of glare even in bright sunlight; display brightness is driver adjustable. In the dark, background illumination ensures optimum clarity and readability. And the presentation of navigation graphics also reflects the MINI style in both its configuration and color scheme.
The navigation and audio system comes complete with a CD player positioned above the removable control panel housing the drive for the navigation DVD. A joystick on the center console, developed for the MINI, enables the driver to conveniently control navigation, entertainment and communications functions in conjunction with menus displayed on the screen.
The joystick also enables the driver to directly select a destination on the map presented in the display. The driver moves the cursor on the map with the joystick to the desired destination and then selects it by pressing down on the joystick.
External music systems such as an MP3 player are easy to connect to the audio system, allowing the driver and passengers to enjoy their personal music archives in the MINI at any time. A specific adapter for an Apple iPod is also available providing convenient control of the player via the MINI’s entertainment system.
Chrome surrounds and 17-inch light-alloy rims setting additional highlights
The available Chromeline further sets the MINI Cooper and Cooper S apart from the pack. The option group comprises chrome-plated surrounds on the instruments and a cross bracket for the lower air intake (Cooper), chrome surrounds on the positioning lights and fog lamps as well as the rear fog warning light (Cooper) and, respectively, the air outlet in the rear air dam (Cooper S) as well as the handle on the rear lid (Cooper S).
The aficionado seeking to really highlight the sporting character of his or her MINI also has the choice of a sports suspension with stiffer springs, shock absorbers and anti-roll bars on both the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S. And to provide the final touch, the sports suspension may be supplemented by a variety of 16-inch or 17-inch wheels
Unique Features to Further Personalize the MINI Clubman:
Supplementing the car’s standard equipment as well as the options offered by the factory, the new MINI may be further personalized through a wide range of Genuine MINI Accessories. All of these items provide a perfect match for the 2008 MINI and meet the quality and safety standards of the BMW Group.
Sporting highlights from John Cooper Works Tuning
Components from John Cooper Works provide the latest road-going MINI with classic motorsports technology. The wide range of Works Accessories named after the legendary MINI tuner includes enhancements like the 11.57-inch, cross-drilled front-brake discs for the MINI Cooper S Clubman. To match these larger brakes, John Cooper Works offers 18-inch double-spoke light-alloy wheels, the largest wheels approved for MINI (7J x 18), mounting 205/40X18 low-profile, tires (and featuring optional run flat technology).
Another John Cooper Works accessory is a roof spoiler with a carbon surface approved for both the MINI Cooper S Clubman and MINI Cooper Clubman.
An alternative option is the single-piece roof spoiler finished on request in body color. Both roof spoilers can be supplemented by the Aerodynamics Package from the MINI’s accessories range that comes with front and rear air dams as well as side sills. The youthful appearance of the package is enhanced by multi-spoke 17-inch light-alloy wheels carrying 205/45X17 tires.
Roof Graphics and Exterior components made of carbon-fiber
By tradition, special roof graphics and mirror caps play an important role in customizing the MINI. The 2008 MINI offers the Union Jack, Checkered Flag and the letters “MINI” amongst its roof graphics.
Mirror caps and door handle trim with the Union Jack and Checkered Flag motifs highlight the British heritage and sporting DNA of the MINI. And to add to this, the 2008 MINI is also available with exterior components from the John Cooper Works Tuning Range made by hand from carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. These include panels for the front air scoop, the exterior mirrors, and the grab handle on the tailgate.
iPod interface, illuminated door entry strips
Portable music players are becoming increasingly significant for today’s premium-car buyer. The 2008 MINI supports this trend, offering an interface to integrate the Apple iPod into the car’s radio and navigation systems. This music unit is controlled either via the MINI joystick, the multifunction steering wheel or the radio buttons, while the interface itself is located in the glove compartment.
Useful features for everyday motoring
To protect the interior of the MINI from heavy use, the range MINI accessories include textile floor mats. Additionally, the accessories range offers components to further raise the MINI’s functionality. Apart from an aluminum rear rack for bicycles, skis or snowboards, these include a roof-carrier system (compatible with ski and bicycle holders as well as roof boxes), theft-security bolts for the car’s light-alloy wheels and additional high-beam headlights combining the most advanced clear-glass technology with a look reminiscent of the additional headlights on the classic Mini Cooper which was the three time winner of the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965 and 1967.
Tradition and Quality, Made in England:
The modern MINI’s sales success is mirrored by its production triumph. The original plan launched in 2000 called for an annual output of 100,000 units, but demand by 2005 had doubled the number.
Growth of this magnitude demanded the utmost performance and great flexibility on the part of the production plants as well as the suppliers. To facilitate this, the new generation of MINI is built by three British plants of the BMW Group production network in Oxford, Swindon, and Hams Hall. These three plants form a closely-knit production system, a highly integrated structure further enhanced in recent years by the BMW Group investing some Ã¢â€šÂ¤200 million in the expansion and modernization of plant facilities. Together, all three plants currently employ some 6,350 associates, a figure planned to increase in the medium term to 6,800, with capacity reaching 240,000 MINIs a year.
The concept of sharing out the workload among the plants in Oxford (final assembly), Swindon (press shop), and Hams Hall (engine production) is tailored to the requirements of the market. The BMW Group plants in Oxford and Hams Hall are acknowledged in Great Britain as role models for flexible work-time concepts, with production continuing in up to three shifts on seven days a week with a maximum of 140 hours. The production plants in Swindon and Hams Hall are flexible to respond to changes and modifications in Oxford, ensuring optimum just-in-time delivery of individual components exactly as required.
Production consistently maintaining the BMW Group’s high quality standards
The three plants comply with the production and quality standards of the BMW Group and are certified for environmental management to ISO 14001. Together with the BMW Research and Innovation Center (FIZ) in Munich, Germany, the Quality and Engineering Center (QEC) in Oxford played a decisive role in the ongoing technical development of the MINI. And now the QEC consistently monitors production quality by means of advanced and sophisticated inspection methods.
Apart from a test track, a four-die rig for detecting material noise, a rain and climate chamber (covering a temperature range from Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 40 to + 90 Ã‚Â°C), the Quality and Engineering Center also has a dynamic test rig complete with a rolling road where the MINI can be tested under laboratory conditions in all kinds of situations, and, if necessary up to the car’s top speed.!
BMW Group Plant Oxford: final assembly of the MINI
The origins of the Oxford plant, 62 miles northwest of London, begin in the 1930s as the place where William Morris started series production of the cars he had developed.
The BMW Group purchased the plant 1994, then in use by the Rover Group, and thoroughly modernized it for the 2000 onset of MINI production. A further investment of Ã¢â€šÂ¤100 million since 2005 by the Group prepared the facility for the production of this MINI generation and an annual production run of 240,000 cars. Employment will grow from 4,500 to 4,700 associates when capacity is attained.
Most of this investment has gone into the modernization and expansion of the body shop as well as the construction of a second paint shop, which is the first within the BMW Group to use the Integrated Painting Process (IPP). This process applies the rust proofing and primer together with the first layer of paint, formerly separate operations. This accounts for significant savings in the amount of material required, energy and time. And the new process fully maintains the BMW Group’s strict quality standards.
Flexible, customer-oriented production
The Mobile Standard Production Cells (Mobi-Cells) developed by the BMW Group, a significant innovation employed in the 15,000-square-meter body shop, increase production flexibly and quickly whenever required. This makes production of the new MINI highly flexible, reflecting the standards of the BMW Group’s Customer-Oriented Sales and Production Process (KOVP). This flexibility allows the customer to change the configuration of his or her car up to six days prior to the start of assembly, despite a choice of more than 370 features and options in the interior, more than 300 variants on the exterior, and the approximately 2,000 components which go into every MINI.
BMW Group Plant Swindon: turning steel plates into body components
Body panels have been manufactured in Swindon, some 43 miles west of Oxford, since 1954 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and since 1994 this plant has been part of the BMW Group. Apart from production of approximately 280 of the 350 body panels used on the MINI, the 1,100 associates in Swindon are also responsible for the sub-assembly of individual body components. To make this possible, the plant has been modernized with an investment of approximately 60 million pounds Sterling for production of the new MINI.
This modernization added 100 welding robots and brought the number of automatic press lines to 19. This expansion as well as additional improvements has raised the degree of automation to 95 percent, increasing production capacity by approximately 30 percent.
The culmination of the improvements means Swindon provides just-in-time delivery to the Oxford plant, with a four-hour lead time for supplying parts.
BMW Group Plant Hams Hall: building the engines for the new MINI
Compared with the two other pillars of the BMW Group’s British production triangle, the engine plant in Hams Hall has a short history: Built on the premises of a former coal power station near Birmingham, the Hams Hall Plant has been the BMW Group’s Competence Center since 2001 for the production of four-cylinder gasoline engines displacing up to 2.0 liters.
Built at an initial investment of 400 million pounds Sterling and recently expanded at a further investment of some Ã¢â€šÂ¤30 million, the Hams Hall Plant with its 750 Associates has a production capacity of up to 300,000 engines a year.
From here, up to 700 MINI engines are delivered to Oxford just-in-time and just-in-sequence every day, that is at the right time and in the right order for the car’s final assembly. The working week in Hams Hall may be anything between 30 and 140 hours, depending on current requirements.
In addition, the BMW Group Plant in Hams Hall has already received several awards for its impressive architecture and innovative environmental management.
Strict quality standards also applied to suppliers
A number of suppliers have located in the vicinity of the BMW Group Plants in Oxford, Swindon, and Hams Hall, creating approximately 750 more secure jobs in the region. Such close contact with manufacturers of components including seats and cockpit modules guarantees optimum, on-time management of production processes.
A Continuance of MINI Split-door Heritage:
The roots of the new MINI Clubman go deep into the past. This third member of the MINI brand family — joining the MINI Cooper Hardtop and the MINI Cooper Convertible — follows the examples of the Morris Mini Traveller and the Austin Mini Countryman built in the 1960s, as well as the MINI Clubman Estate which a decade later entered the market.
The new MINI Cooper Clubman reflects the characteristics of these historic models – exceptional design, agile driving behavior, a generous interior and the split-door at the rear, re-interpreting them with appropriate materials and functions for the 21st century.
Twins: Morris Mini Traveller and Austin Mini Countryman
Alec Issigonis, an ingenious engineer of Greek origin, created a car in 1959 destined to change the world. Working for British Motor Corporation (BMC), which at the time comprised the Morris, Austin, MG, Wolseley and Riley brands, Issigonis developed a truly revolutionary car concept: engine fitted crosswise at the front, front-wheel drive, an almost vertical hatch at the back and a layout following the principle of “one wheel at each corner.” BMC subsequently built this car in two forms: the Morris Mini Minor and the Austin Seven, their radiator grills and model designation being the differentiators.
One year after launching the hatchback sedan, BMC presented a further body variation under the motto “revolutionary in concept, smart in appearance.” Based upon the already successful commercial Mini Van, it featured glass windows, in the place of the van’s metal sides, and a folding rear seat. At the rear, the new model incorporated a two-piece door, opening at a wide angle for easy and convenient access Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the birth of the split-door.
Like the hatchback sedan, the new variant was marketed as the technically identical Morris Mini Traveller and Austin Seven Countryman. And as a token to their ancestors in earlier times Ã¢â‚¬â€œ although without any construction purpose or function Ã¢â‚¬â€œ they featured wooden paneling on the sides and the rear, giving both models the nickname “Woody.” In technical terms, the new variant was largely identical to the sedan, an 848-cc four-cylinder driving the front wheels. Maximum output of 34 hp was sufficient at the time for a top speed of 69 mph. Together with the short body overhangs, the slightly longer wheelbase and the wide track, the power unit provided the same sporting and safe driving characteristics already offered by the Morris Mini Minor and the Austin Seven.
This new concept immediately won over the hearts of numerous fans in Great Britain and other European countries, with sales of the Morris Mini Traveller and the Austin Seven Countryman (re-named the Austin Mini Countryman in 1962) by 1967 amounting to some 161,000 units. In the autumn of 1967 BMC launched revised, updated versions of both models. Apart from minor optical changes, like the radiator grill, the new Mk II models featured a more powerful engine: Enlarged in size to 998 cc, the four-cylinder now developed 39 hp. And as an alternative to the four-speed manual gearbox featuring full synchromesh since 1968, an automatic transmission was offered. BMC sold 46,000 units in the next two years of the two models in the second generation.
Parallel production of the Mini and the Mini Clubman since 1969
A year following the 1968 merger of BMC and Leyland (forming British Leyland) saw the consolidation of all Mini models under the Mini name. Production of the Morris Mini Traveller and the Austin Mini Countryman ended in November 1969 when the Mini Clubman Estate entered the market as the new model. This was also the first time the name “Clubman” appeared within the brand’s nomenclature.
While the classic Mini remained in production virtually without any changes, the Clubman received a new front end and upgraded equipment, including wind-down windows, instead of sliding windows, for the doors. The rear end of the car, with its characteristic split-door, remained largely unchanged, with a chrome-framed plastic trim bar characterizing the first generation of the Mini Clubman Estate. The engine remained the proven 39-hp four-cylinder until engine capacity of the manual-gearbox models increased to 1,098 cc in 1975, with engine output of 45 hp giving the Mini Clubman Estate a top speed of 81 mph.