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The MINI Clubman sports a wide sweep of aesthetic changes that make it the ideal machine for those looking for something radically different.

08 Feb 2020


The MINI Clubman may be known as the practical and spacious alternative to the rest of MINI's suite of offerings, but let's get real. Nobody realistically goes searching for a MINI thinking that they are going to return home with a sensible commuter. Chances are, if you're reading this, you only clicked on that thumbnail because you're currently in the mood for something different.

Well, with the MINI Clubman still a relatively rare sight on our roads, this Cooper S Clubman is certainly distinctive enough to be just the thing for the fierce individualist that never shies away from public attention.

Look at me

Redesigned head lights and radiator grille sharpen up the front of the car
The aesthetic changes to the refreshed Clubman leave you in little doubt that this is a car to be gawked at. At the front, the head lights now sport redesigned LED modules with a surrounding ring that serve both as daytime driving lights and the turn indicators.

The radiator grille also now extends across the entire bumper and, in the Cooper S spec that you see here, sports a hexagonal grid pattern along with a singular chrome strut and an 'S' emblem.

All of which are welcome changes but I think the most significant nip-tuck has occurred at the rear, with the new LED rear lights reorganised into an abstracted pattern of the Union Jack, making the car look less evocative of Jabba the Hutt's eyes.

Control me

The Union Jack-inspired taillights cut down on the bloatedness of the Clubman's rear
Of course, all that style has to be matched with substance, and I'm proud to report that this Clubman still delivers that busy and well-weighted steering so beloved by MINI's ardent followers.

Despite the 125kg weight penalty and 103mm-longer wheelbase against the MINI Cooper S 5-Door, you are still able to take turns at a ridiculous speed in this Clubman, thanks to the generous levels of grip on offer.

The sensation of speed is dramatically heightened by the low seating position, while the steering wheel does a good job of communicating what is happening at the front as you mash the pedal through snaking roads.

And trust me when I say you'll constantly be looking for such roads in this machine. 189bhp and 280Nm from the 2.0-litre four-cylinder conspire to give you acceleration by the bucketful, and is paired with a slick seven-speed dual-clutch Steptronic sports transmission to give you a mighty exhaust note and plenty of satisfying induction noises during down and upshifts alike.

Leather Sports Steering Wheel is well-weighted and communicative
MINI's engineers have clearly put in some work calibrating the suspension, since the BMW X1 that sits on the same UKL2 platform does not come anywhere close to this Clubman's penchant for transmitting all that is happening on the road into the cabin.

The suspension is taut, but does just a well-enough job of shielding you away from the sharper edges of the road surface such that the drive does not become tiresome.

Which is more than can be said for the wind and tyre roar in the car when driven at speed. And while we are on the topic of bothersome things about this car, driving it in eco mode allows the transmission to get caught off guard too often, disallowing the car from accelerating until you bury your foot into the pedal. Driven reasonably, the car will return a fuel consumption of 13.3km/L.

Put it in me

Double boot doors open into a 360-litre boot and add occasion to every grocery run
On the interior, the car has one more flaw, which puts a dent on its package as an everyday car: The air-conditioning vents on the test car make a good melee in the cabin.

It's a good thing then, that even without a Harman Kardon unit, the standard six-speaker system does a good job of banging out your favourite tunes. You get good reverberation from the bass notes, coupled with sweet clarity all through the rest of the range - a sweet balm from all that trifecta of noise.

Our test car came with the MINI Yours Interior Style package, which adds illumination to the door and central bezels, which are sure to wow the lucky passengers that get in with you. And once they are in, the Walknappa Leather-wrapped seats do a good job of securing them in while still delivering high levels of cushioning.

Unique bodystyle couples with distinctive styling to break the monotony of any office carpark
But if passenger comfort is not a priority, adjustable hinges behind the rear seats allow you to set them to a bolt-upright position for a squarer loading space at the rear.

Own me

At $155,888 (as of 8 February 2020), the MINI Clubman Cooper S does not come cheap, but offers distinctive styling and the opportunity for you to get away from the mundane mass of traffic with its power and handling prowess. Can you really put a price on being able to stand out from the crowd?
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Car Information

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Price

: $154,888

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve TwinPower Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1998cc

Horsepower

:

141kW (189 bhp) / 6000 rpm

Torque

:

280 Nm / 4600 rpm

Transmission

:

7-speed (A) Steptronic Sport

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

7.2sec

Top Speed

:

228km/h

Fuel consumption

:

16.1 km/L

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