If you love the way the MINI drives, and you love its great fuel economy and low emissions – but it’s just not quite big enough for you – then your prayers have been answered. The new MINI Clubman will go on sale in the UK on Saturday 10 November 2007.
Based on a concept first shown at Frankfurt Motor Show in 2005, the Clubman will be available from launch in three engine variants: Cooper D , Cooper and Cooper S, and the new model offers more space and easier access through split rear doors and one rear side door.
BMW says that the new car takes inspiration and styling cues from the Morris Mini Traveller, Austin Mini Countryman and the Mini Clubman Estate, which enjoyed widespread success in the 1960s (let’s just hope that the new one is more durable!). Although the Clubman is longer, it still has short body overhangs and a wide track.
The Clubman is 24cm longer than the Hatch, which means 8cm more legroom for rear passengers, and the option of five seats. Boot capacity has increased to 260 litres with the seats in place and up to 930 litres with the rear seats down. Access to this extra space has been made easier via the split rear doors, and one rear door on the right-hand side only of the car, called a ‘Clubdoor’.
The engines are shared with the Mini Hatch, and feature new improvements to optimise fuel economy and emissions. Auto Start-Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration and a Gearshift Point Indicator are standard on all variants; this helps the MINI Cooper D Clubman to achieve a low emissions figure of 109 g/km CO2.
The Clubman joins the Hatch and Convertible models, which have sold over one million models since 2001, and all three derivatives will be built at the Oxford plant, where £100 million has been invested in the past two years to increase production up to 240,000 by 2008. This is more than double the planned production capacity prior to the first car coming off the line in spring 2001.
As with the Hatch models, the petrol engines will be assembled at Hams Hall in the Midlands and the body panels and sub-assemblies are from Swindon.
Many exterior details have made it into the production version of the ‘Shooting Brake’ concept first shown at Frankfurt almost two years ago. BMW says that historically, ‘Shooting Brake’ models are so-called due to a combination of “premium two-door styling, with added interior flexibility for owners leading active lifestyles”.
The two piece split rear door is based on that found on the original Mini ‘estates’. The new feature is the additional rear side door. The ‘Clubdoor’ is on the right-hand side of the car and opens against the direction of travel. For safety reasons, this door can only be opened when the front door is open. The Clubdoor does not have an outside door handle and therefore blends smoothly into the body of the Clubman.
The MINI Clubman is the same width as the Hatch model and approximately two centimetres higher. There are 12 body colours to choose from, creating 36 combinations of exterior paintwork. Hot Chocolate is new and reserved exclusively for the MINI Clubman. The C-pillars and rear bumper of the MINI Clubman are painted either Silver or Black. The roof can be ordered in Silver, Black or Body Colour.
The interior design of the new MINI Clubman replicates the design of the hatch, along with the opportunities to personalise it – with four interior colours and a wide range of trim options including Brushed Alloy and Piano Black Paint.
The luggage compartment is 260 litres, 100 litres more than the Hatch, and offers easy loading options thanks to the split-rear doors. Folding down the rear seats provides 930 litres (250 litres extra compared to the Hatch), and a completely flat luggage compartment floor is available as an option.
The MINI Clubman has five seats as standard, but it’s possible to choose two seats at the rear as a no-cost option.
MINI Cooper S Clubman
Powered by a 1.6 litre four-cylinder petrol engine with direct injection and a twin-scroll turbocharger complete with intercooler. The turbocharger kicks in at just 1600rpm. Maximum output is 175hp at an engine speed of 5,500 rpm.
Top speed mph: 139
Acceleration 0-62mph: 7.6 seconds
Fuel consumption combined mpg: 44.8
CO2 emissions EU g/km: 150
MINI Cooper Clubman
The 1.6 litre four-cylinder, naturally-aspirated engine features fully variable valve management based on BMW Group’s VALVETRONIC technology. This improves the engine’s response and refinement, as well as the all-round efficiency of the power unit. Maximum output is 120hp at 6000 rpm.
Top speed mph: 125
Acceleration 0-62mph: 9.8 seconds
Fuel consumption combined mpg: 51.4
CO2 emissions EU g/km: 132
MINI Cooper D Clubman
Four-cylinder turbo diesel with common-rail fuel injection and variable turbine geometry. A diesel particulate filter almost eliminates diesel exhaust emissions. It develops maximum output of 110hp at 4000 rpm.
Top speed mph: 120
Acceleration 0-62mph: 10.4 seconds
Fuel consumption combined mpg: 68.9
CO2 emissions EU g/km: 109
As with all MINI Hatch models, the MINI Clubman range will benefit from the improvements introduced in production from August 2007 to bring further reductions in fuel consumption and emissions. Technologies include Brake Energy Regeneration, Auto Start-Stop function and a Gearshift Point Indicator.
This technology ensures that the output from the engine is converted primarily into drive power, with electricity being generated for the on-board network only when the engine is on overrun or during application of the brakes. To achieve this effect, the alternator is automatically disengaged from the engine while under power. Accordingly, the power the alternator would consume in the conventional mode now remains fully available for even faster and more dynamic acceleration.
An adequate supply of electrical energy to the on-board system is nevertheless ensured at all times, since the alternator is activated again as soon as the MINI returns to overrun or the driver applies the brakes.
The new Auto Start-Stop function on all manual gearbox versions of the MINI Clubman serves to effectively reduce fuel consumption and emissions while the car is standing still. Whenever the car comes to a stop, Auto Start-Stop automatically switches off the engine as soon as the driver shifts to neutral and takes his foot off the clutch pedal. To re-start the engine, the driver presses down on the clutch pedal again, and the engine re-starts automatically and immediately.
Auto Start-Stop serves to optimise fuel efficiency in city traffic. The consumption of energy and the generation of exhaust emissions is reduced to zero in a very simple and straightforward process every time the car comes to a stop.
The driver of a manual gearbox MINI Clubman is able to focus on the most efficient style of motoring because the ideal ‘economy’ gear is shown by a numeric symbol in the cockpit display beneath the rev counter. The electronic engine ‘brain’ analyses engine speed, driving conditions and the position of the accelerator pedal to calculate the most efficient style of motoring and suggests the best gear to the driver.
The MINI Clubman comes as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. As an option, six-speed automatic transmission is available for all three variants. A feature of the auto box enables the driver to select gears by means of paddles on the steering wheel.
Despite its longer wheelbase, BMW is confident that the Clubman will retain the legendary go-kart feeling. The front axle is based on the McPherson spring strut principle and features an anti-roll bar to reduce body sway to an absolute minimum. The central-arm rear axle has sophisticated kinematics ensuring optimum wheel-to-road contact. Aluminium longitudinal arms help to reduce the car’s overall weight.
As with the Hatch, the suspension on the MINI Cooper S is set-up to be firmer and more dynamic than the other models. However an optional Sports Suspension set-up is available on the other models.
The MINI Cooper Clubman and the MINI Cooper D Clubman come as standard on 15-inch alloy rims, while the MINI Cooper S Clubman features 16-inch wheels with runflat tyres, allowing the driver to continue driving even after a complete loss of tyre pressure.
Electric Power-Assisted Steering (EPAS) gives direct feedback to the driver and contributes to the accuracy of the MINI Clubman. Speed-related power assistance guarantees low steering forces when parking and precise responses at high speeds. A further advantage of EPAS is that it weighs far less than a conventional steering system and is geared towards saving energy: the electric motor is only activated when power assistance is required by the driver.
The MINI Clubman features six airbags as standard, consisting of front, side and curtain head airbags for the driver and front passenger. The extra-large curtain airbags (integrated in the roof lining) offer optimum protection from head injuries for the rear passengers.
Active safety is provided by ABS anti-lock brakes, EBD Electronic Brake Force Distribution and CBC Cornering Brake Control as standard on all models. In addition, DSC Dynamic Stability Control is also standard (with on-off control by the driver) together with ASC+T Automatic Stability Control + Traction. Included within DSC is Hill Assist. This feature holds a manual MINI on the brake for a few seconds when setting off on a gradient to prevent it from rolling back.
Andy Hearn, MINI UK General Manager, said: “MINI dealers are very excited and confident about the imminent arrival of the Clubman and the expansion of the MINI range. Dealers have invested close to £40 million in the last two years in expanding or moving premises, enabling them to present the huge choice of models, options and accessories to customers in the showroom. Demand continues to grow year by year with 2007 sales up nearly 14 per cent, including three record months from March. Residual values remain amongst the best in the industry and the arrival of Clubman will further add to MINI’s growth over the coming years.”
Prices are as follows:
MINI Cooper £14,235
MINI Cooper D £15,400
MINI Cooper S £17,210
On sale in the UK on Saturday 10 November 2007.