Mini – [adjective] denoting a miniature version of something.
I don’t buy that for one second. For starters, If it was truly a mini, I would hardly fit in it right? On the contrary, the mini range has been extended, revamped and improved. The new Clubman S, will leave most mini aficionados frothing at the mouth…
At the heart of the Clubman S is a 2.0 Turbocharged mated to an 8-speed transmission. Interestingly, while it seems fairly underpowered to hold the “S” badge, it still feels nippy and eager to go with only 141kw on tap. Perhaps it’s the broad spectrum of torque starting down low which keeps the momentum going. I must confess that it will run out of puff towards the redline and in all fairness, I don’t think the Clubman S was ever intended to be a robot racer, instead a practical Mini for the growing family. The overall fuel economy is not too bad either, with figures hovering around the 7l/100km.
The new mini looks funky. It’s changed a little with its almost frog eyed headlamps and large grills proving to have some serious real estate on the front side. The body is obviously longer, perhaps envisioning a hearse-style with those barn type doors on the rear. Like it or not, its refreshing and those little doors are actually pretty cool. They do have their downsides, though.
The interior has a BMW quality feel to it and obviously that’s not a bad thing. It still seems to be aimed at a more youthful demographic, which they have pulled off very well. There are very few hatchbacks that can pull off wagon practicality and still be considered cool. Face it, the Clubman S is cool. The only downside is the limited rear visibility with the split doors covering up some of the much needed rear views.
The infotainment system and multimedia are courtesy of Harmon Kardon and like any HK system before, they know what they are doing and still one of the better sounding audio systems available. They seem to just work in most cars that get fitted with their equipment.
The mini does have a rather noisy ride. The run flat tires contribute to some of that driving noise, but also it does not help being shaped a bit like a brick. It’s not a put-off, but it is noticeable, especially in windy conditions.
Mini owners are passionate about their cars and let’s face it, a Mini Cooper is not the right tool for a growing family. The Clubman now offers something that every family man needs, that’s space. The 360l boot space is adequate for things like prams and groceries and if you need more, the seats do split.
Passion comes with a price, especially when you start ticking boxes. Our fitted Indigo blue leather came in at R8600 and a full professional nav system can hit as hard as R28 000.
The standard Clubman S retails at R446 347