With excellent fuel economy, great performance and all the chic and style that is truly MINI, the Clubman is a small estate with plenty of class. And don’t be deceived by its size, the acceleration is excellent too.
The goodBursting with quality and character. All of sudden practical is fashionable
The badA tad on the loud side
MINI Cooper Clubman Black Pack (2017) – first drive
The popularity of MINI has never been in any doubt and even when BMW took over the reins the demand kept on growing. In fact, one in every 50 cars sold in the UK last year was a MINI and with sales stats like that it’s little wonder the company wants to keep its models in the limelight.
So, with that in mind MINI has introduced a rather special Black Pack edition to its distinctive Clubman line-up in the UK and it is guaranteed to turn heads.
In fairness, the Clubman has always been a bit of a stand-out model in the MINI range with its twin rear doors but with the Black Pack styling, it’s all become a little more sinister in appearance.
For example, the pack adds 17-inch black wheels, black bonnet stripes along with a black roof and mirror caps. And there is even Black Pack badging on the rear doors to highlight the car’s exclusivity.
Step inside the spacious and bright cabin and the black theme continues with the addition of piano black styling which is beautifully crafted. Of course, in keeping with the rest of the Clubman range, the vehicle boasts generous levels of on-board technology as standard including the likes of a DAB radio, an easy-to-operate sat nav system, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control and MINI Connected which introduces all the latest music, information and apps via the high-resolution colour display screen. And in true MINI tradition, the dials are all circular in design which helps give the model a truly premium feel.
The test car, priced at £21,745, was powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. It can sprint from 0-62mph in 9.1 seconds and maxes out at 127mph. According to official figures, the Cooper Black Pack Clubman can deliver combined fuel economy of 55.4mpg with carbon emissions of 121g/km.
One of the unique selling points of the MINI Clubman is its styling. With so many snazzy hatchbacks and estate cars to choose from, it’s always good to have that extra little bit of choice and with two rear doors that open outwards, the Clubman offers just that.
Long gone is that bonkers escape door set-up that looked so out of place. Instead the Clubman offers four-door (six if you count the rear doors) practicality with room for a couple of six-footers in the back seats where they will benefit from plenty of leg, head and shoulder space. Then there are the storage capabilities which is another asset. The Clubman can accommodate 360 litres worth of luggage and that capacity is increased to a very generous 1,250 litres with the rear seats dropped flat. In addition, there is a glovebox, side pockets that are big enough to hold water bottles, cup holders and a central storage bin.
Of course, a MINI wouldn’t be a MINI if it couldn’t perform when faced with the open road, and the Clubman can proudly hold its head high in that department too. Admittedly, there are faster and more dynamically-rewarding MINI models out there, but the quirkiness of the Clubman along with its great road-holding and fabulous handling capabilities make it a very attractive all-rounder.
The acceleration is smooth and swift through the six-speed manual gearbox and the cabin remains nicely insulated against outside noise. In busy town centres, the visibility is good and the highly efficient suspension system copes well with our notoriously bad road surfaces. The steering is nice and precise with plenty of driver feedback along the way.
The seats and steering wheel can easily be adjusted to find the perfect driving position and all dials, controls and instrumentation are perfectly placed for driver usability.
MINI has also packed the car with a comprehensive suite of safety features to protect occupants and pedestrians.
All in all, when you take into account its practical dimensions, excellent range of connectivity features, dynamic handling capabilities, stylish design and economical running costs, the Clubman makes for the perfect family car for anyone who likes to stand out from the crowd – a fact that will certainly be accentuated even further if driving the Black Pack version.
MINI Cooper D Clubman
MINI by name, but certainly not MINI by nature – that’s the latest Clubman which is being billed as a compact estate car and it certainly lives up to expectations.
The car has a grown-up presence with all the practicalities to match, but it still maintains that special MINI magic when it comes to performance.
With its two spring loaded tailgate doors this latest Clubman is very big on space too with a capacity of 360 litres. Drop the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats flat and that load space increases to a whopping 1,250 litres.
And long gone are those ridiculous rear opening ‘suicide’ doors from the previous generation model and in its place two proper sized rear doors making access far easier.
The Clubman looks great from any approach thanks to 18-inch star spoke alloys, LED headlights, LED fog lights, plus contrast-coloured roof and mirror caps. The latest model is not based on the hatchback but on a new group platform which is longer and wider and that translates to additional space inside the car.
The test car was originally priced at £23,020, but a whole host of optional extras such as enhanced sat nav (£1,010), a Chili Pack (£2,785) and Driver Assistant Pack (£810) saw the price-tag rise to £30,160. That’s not cheap, but in fairness, neither is anything about the car.
The interior oozes class with plenty of traditional MINI characteristics throughout. There are the circular dials, overhead switches and an abundance of on-board technology to be explored.
Comfort levels are excellent with body-hugging sports seats that can be heated and within seconds the driver can find the perfect driving position with great all-round visibility and all controls and dials easily accessible.
The test car was powered by a 2.0-litre 150bhp diesel engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and that delivered all the grunt you could wish for as it whizzed along at quite a click with ample power to accelerate whenever needed.
Being a MINI, the handling is virtually guaranteed and this model excelled with outstanding road-holding and very precise steering which means any tight bends can be attacked with a sense of confidence.
According to official figures, the car can sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 8.6 seconds and it tops out at 132mph. It can deliver combined fuel economy of 68.9mpg with carbon emissions of 115g’km.
But it’s the manner in which the MINI achieves these stats that cannot fail to impress. Whilst being full of life and as sprightly as you want it to be, it maintains a sense of control at all times even when being pushed hard.
Add in a whole host of safety features and the latest Clubman is certainly the complete package. It offers all the practical functions of an estate car but combines them beautifully with all the fun and flair associated with the MINI name.
Mini Cooper SD Clubman Hampton
Sometimes the people responsible for designing the cars we drive today just take life a little bit too seriously, but the latest special edition from Mini – the Clubman Hampton certainly puts the fun back into motoring in every possible way.
It’s one of several new special editions named after London landmarks (Hampton Court in this case) in the run up to the 2012 Olympics.
Boasting paintwork in a reef blue metallic colour, which was specifically developed for this edition, this Mini looks fantastic from every angle thanks to its black roof and rear door surrounds, damson bonnet stripes, 17-inch alloys with centre caps incorporating a red lining and black wheels.
And that wow factor continues once you take your seat behind the multi-function three-spoke steering wheel.
The classy design spec is apparent at every turn
It has heated leather seats edged in damson red piping, instrument faces in anthracite and a massive central speedo – and I mean massive – which is surrounded by a damson red ring and pinstripes on the fascia.
It’s this huge dial that houses a host of other applications such as the navigation system, audio features, car settings and information and lots more.
There is a much smaller circular dial in front of the driver which displays the revs and a digital speed display.
Creature comforts are plentiful, including air conditioning, sun protection glass, electric windows, stop/start technology, a DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and heaps more.
There is space, albeit limited, for three rear-seat passengers and there is the “suicide door” behind the driver.
Despite its size, storage isn’t that restricted. The vehicle boasts its traditional twin doors tailgate – just pack lightly – that’s my advice.
With an on-the-road price of £23k-plus, this Mini is certainly not cheap, but one very big factor in its favour, apart from charm, is its economy. For this little beauty boasts combined fuel figures of 64.2mpg and carbon emissions of just 115g/km (that means free road tax for the first 12 months).
So it has looks and character, but how does it handle? Well, it loves to play. In and around town it manoeuvres with ease through the traffic and parking is a complete doddle. Admittedly, it’s not the quietest at higher speeds and you do feel the occasional bump. But that aside, the six speed manual transmission is really responsive and smooth and the 2.0-litre diesel engine delivers ample oomph.
Mini has kitted the vehicle with a host of first class safety features such as dynamic stability control, anti-lock brakes, cornering brake control and plenty more besides.
All in all, this car is guaranteed to stand out from the crowd and certainly puts the fun factor back into motoring.