The wraps are now off the new MINI Clubman, an all-new addition to the MINI model range. With an anticipated international debut this fall, the MINI Clubman will go on sale in Europe this November in three model configurations: the MINI Cooper Clubman, the MINI Cooper D Clubman and the MINI Cooper S Clubman. In the US market the MINI Cooper Clubman and the MINI Cooper S Clubman will be available early next year. Although US pricing has yet to be announced, the MINI Clubman is expected to be positioned between the MINI hardtops and MINI convertibles.
The eagerly anticipated MINI Clubman will be like nothing else on the road and defies convention in its concept and style. With its hallmark design elements, the MINI Clubman is clearly a MINI from every angle. Yet it is the MINI Clubman's unique rear-end design and new proportions that distinguish it from other members of the MINI family.
The unique character of the MINI Clubman is obvious at first sight. The roofline of the car extends across all three pillars, merging smoothly into the rear section where the innovative, split-rear doors open. The rear doors are further highlighted with the C-pillars painted in a contrasting silver or black finish. Inside, the generous luggage compartment may be further extended in flexible configuration, offering very easy and convenient loading options thanks to the two rear doors.
In addition, the MINI Clubman incorporates a rather ingenious door configuration on the right side of the car. The "Clubdoor" swings open in the opposing direction relative to the main passenger door to dramatically increase the access to the rear seating area. Behind the front seats, the new MINI Clubman offers remarkable rear seating comfort and flexible use of space. Rear seat passengers now enjoy 3.15 inches more legroom compared to the MINI hardtop.
The MINI Clubman also stands out, retaining all the handling and performance characteristics that one expects in a MINI. With its design, functionality and performance characteristics, the MINI Clubman is the modern successor to the legendary classics Morris Mini Traveller, Austin Mini Countryman, and Mini Clubman Estate.
MINI retains its position as the definitive premium small car offering a combination of successful attributes - a truly unique design; agile driving characteristics; premium quality; a high level of safety; a wide range of customization options, and outstanding efficiency. Now the MINI Clubman offers another compelling attribute, offering 9.45 inches more body length and wheelbase extended by 3.15 inches that helps create more space in the rear legroom area. What makes the MINI Clubman truly unique is its innovative five door configuration with the conventional driver's and front passenger's door supplemented by an additional rear-hinged door on the right-hand side of the car and the two split-rear doors in the back.
The MINI Clubman extends an open welcome to rear-seat passengers with the Clubdoor on the right side of the vehicle. With its large opening, this feature allows comfortable and convenient access to the rear seats. In the US market the MINI Clubman comes in a four passenger configuration, offering the passengers at the rear more spacious accommodations upon entry. For safety, the Clubdoor can only be opened with the adjoining front door open. Without an exterior handle, the Clubdoor integrated unobtrusively into the body design of the MINI Clubman. The split-rear doors at the back of the MINI Clubman open up to offer easy and convenient access for larger parcels and equipment such as sports gear. In addition to increased functionality, the split-rear doors represent a modern interpretation of an authentic detail seen on MINI's classic forerunners.
With one or both sections of the split-folding rear seatbacks down, together with the available flat load floor and the generous height provided by the roofline, the MINI Clubman offers more flexibility and practical value for all kinds of transportation requirements. The MINI Clubman has 9.1 cubic feet of storage space with the seats upright and a total of 32.6 cubic feet with the seats folded flat. This compares with the MINI hardtops which offer 5.7 cubic feet, rear seat up and 24 cubic feet with the seats folded flat. Additionally there is an available safety net to separate the luggage area from the passenger compartment. And to ensure clear visibility to the rear at all times, the rear doors come with separate windscreen wipers.
The MINI Clubman stands out not only with its unique design, but also with an impressive line of power units. The three engines developed specifically for the new generation of MINI come standard with all new technologies introduced for the 2008 model year and offer impressive performance and efficiency. The US market will offer models with the 1.6 liter gasoline power units, in normally aspirated and turbocharged form. There are currently no plans to offer the Diesel units in the US market.
Although it will not be available on the US models at the time of launch, the Brake Energy Regeneration feature ensures that the output coming from the engine is converted primarily into drive power, with electricity being generated for the on-board network only when the engine's drive power is not in demand; for example, when the car is rolling freely in overrun (engine braking) or during application of the brakes. To achieve this effect, the alternator is automatically disengaged from the engine while under power, that is when accelerating and pulling the car. Accordingly, the power that the alternator would consume and take away from the engine in the conventional mode now remains fully available for even more efficient and dynamic acceleration. An adequate supply of electric energy to the on-board system is ensured at all times, since the alternator is activated again as soon as the engine's drive power is not in demand or the driver applies the brakes.
The new Auto Start Stop feature on manual gearbox versions of the MINI Clubman also serves to improve efficiency by switching off the engine in idling situations. It is important to note that like MINI's Brake Energy Regeneration, this option will not be available for US models at the time of launch. Whenever the car comes to a stop at a road junction, for example, Auto Start Stop automatically switches off the engine as soon as the driver shifts to neutral and takes his or her foot off the clutch pedal. Then, to re-start the engine, all the driver has to do is press down the clutch pedal again and the engine restarts automatically without the slightest delay. Auto Start Stop helps to maximize fuel efficiency in city traffic, essentially reducing consumption of energy and generation of exhaust emissions to zero in a very simple way every time the car comes to a stop.
The gearshift point indicator is another way the MINI Clubman can help the driver achieve efficient motoring: The feature is standard on manually equipped MINI Clubman models and is designed to compute the most efficient style of motoring. The electronic control unit continually analyzes engine speed, driving conditions and the position of the gas pedal, and calculates the most efficient style of motoring relative to the gear selected. The system then alerts the driver when a gearshift is recommended to maintain optimum efficiency. An arrow symbol along with the number of the ideal gear appears in the cockpit display beneath the tachometer.
In terms of spirited motoring, the MINI Cooper S Clubman boasts a 1.6-litre four-cylinder power unit developing maximum output of 175 hp at 5,500 rpm with the help of a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct gasoline injection, the MINI Cooper S Clubman offers maximum torque of 177 lb-ft all the way from 1,600 to 5,000 rpm, with a further brief increase to an even more significant 192 lb-ft by means of the Overboost function. On the road, this accelerates the MINI Cooper S Clubman to 100 km/h in just 7.6 seconds and gives the car a top speed of 139 mph. The MINI Cooper S Clubman offers not only impressive performance, but also an exceptionally good economy, with average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle of just 6.3 litres/100 kilometres or equal to 44.8 mpg imp. At the same time the MINI Cooper S Clubman also achieves a CO2 emission rating of 150 grams per kilometre.
The balance of performance and economy is equally impressive on the MINI Cooper Clubman. Its 1.6-liter four-cylinder normally-aspirated power unit features fully variable valve management similar to the BMW Group's VALVETRONIC system. This improves the engine's response, refinement, and efficiency of the power unit. Maximum output of this innovative engine is 120 hp at 6,000 rpm, with maximum torque of 118 lb-ft at 4,250 rpm.
With this power, the MINI Cooper Clubman accelerates to 100 km/h in 9.8 seconds and has a top speed of 125 mph. It also achieves impressive average fuel consumption in the EU cycle of 5.5 litres/100 kilometers or equal to 51.4 mpg imp, and a CO2 emission rating of 132 grams per kilometer making the MINI Cooper Clubman a true class leader.
The 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel in the MINI Cooper D Clubman offers outstanding efficiency with a maximum output of 110 hp at 4,000 rpm. The new diesel engine is exceptionally light thanks to its aluminium-alloy construction and offers innovative common-rail direct injection and a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry for optimum power and performance. In addition, an Overboost function in the MINI Cooper D Clubman ensures a particularly powerful and dynamic response under spirited acceleration: Overboost briefly increases maximum torque from 177-192 lb/ft between 1,750 and 2,000 rpm. The new MINI Cooper D Clubman accelerates to 100 km/h in 10.4 seconds and has a top speed of 120 mph. At the same time it exhibits exemplary fuel economy with average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle at just 4.1 litres per kilometre or 68.9 mpg imp. And last but not least, the CO2 emission rating is extremely low at just 109 grams per kilometre.
The MINI Cooper S Clubman, MINI Cooper Clubman, and MINI Cooper D Clubman are all equipped standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. The six-speed automatic transmission is available as an option featuring a sport-tuned manual mode that allows the driver to select gears by means of paddles on the steering wheel.
Like the new generation of MINI hardtops, the MINI Clubman is the result of a modern interpretation of the classic Mini versions. Yet at the same time, the concept is independent and innovative, taking in account the thoroughly modern demands of today and the unique needs of MINI's customers. Given its wide range of qualities, the MINI Clubman paves the way into a totally-new market segment, offering new opportunities for the MINI brand and once again underlining MINI's leadership in the premium small car segment in terms of vehicle concepts, technical innovation and expressive design.
Source: Mini press