Sam says it’s the next step up
MINI combines the unique characteristics of the brand along with that that great drive that their fanatics expect from them with some extra practicality. Drivers looking to upgrade from the hatch will find the Clubman to be an ideal option with a focus on expected and innovative tech.
It appears MINI was more careful when introducing extra space keeping their distinctive design but avoiding the impression that the car was stung by a bee. In particular, the split, laterally opening doors at the rear make the car the only six door option in the range. The doors open up to improved design and greater luggage capacity of between 360 and 1 250 litres (with the adaptive luggage compartment).
It is quite difficult to find a car that handles city driving as well this one. Quite simply, it is the drive that one would expect from MINI; comfortable, eager and powerful. The power output is set at 141 kW and the torque is 280 Nm.
The MINI Clubman performs equally as well as on a traffic-free highway going one way as what it did on the return trip that was in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I believe it would be just as enjoyable to drive on a long-distance trip that needs the power necessary to overtake other vehicles as well as the stability to handle more uneven roads. I have mentioned before how enjoyable it is to slip into a car and drive it like you have been driving it your whole life and the MINI Clubman Cooper S gives you that.
Many of the changes that the latest generation has seen have to do with design. Most of these have been made to the front of the vehicle to make the car ‘stylish, individual and exclusive,’ according to MINI. They have also aimed at keeping the tight, sporty style distinctive of MINI. In this they have been successful.
An overview of the highlights of the new MINI Clubman
- Distinctive front design with newly designed radiator grill
• LED headlights
• New LED fog lamps with driving light ring
• LED rear lights as standard, optionally available in Union Jack design
• New body colours, new option Piano Black exterior
• New light alloy wheels
• Sports suspension with vehicle lowered by 10mm
• New range of leather trims and interior surfaces
• New MINI Yours equipment programme
• Extended range of Original MINI Accessories
Another area of focus is the tech of the vehicle. This is quite impressive considering MINI has always been generous in this area. What I did appreciate, in particular, is that this tech is not overly focused on autonomous driving like many brands have been prioritising. The fun of driving a MINI stays with the driver.
One item of tech that I liked was real-time updates of traffic. When the traffic was slowing down for no reason, information on the hold-up was displayed on the infotainment system. Besides the obvious benefits of this, it could help lessen distracted driving by reducing the reliance drivers have on cellphone apps to manage traffic.
This feature is possible because the car has an in-built SIM card. It does, however, need a 4G connection but I never had a problem at any point in Johannesburg. This connectivity also allows for automatic vehicle detection and detection of accident severity. You can also connect your phone to the car which allows for other advantages such as pre-planning your navigation and checking things such as your fuel level.
The new technology in MINI is also for the benefit of other drivers and increasing the safety of night-time driving. The adaptive LED headlamps have an automatic selective dip function for the high beam. Their Matrix technology increases visibility while at the same time avoiding any dazzle effect for other road users. The high beam is subdivided into four segments which are activated and deactivated independently according to the situation on the road at speeds of over 70 km/h. The front camera is used to identify oncoming cars and activate low-beams.
On the practicality side, the car is spacious inside and adequate for a family but only a small one. Four adults can comfortably fit in the car. The cabin has quality construction along with a bit of flair and the typically round aesthetics traditional to the brand. Other items that will be enjoyed by its drivers is the wireless charging point and an extra USB point.
MINI has always sold niche cars and the Clubman Cooper S is no different. It offers more practicality, especially in terms of space, but if you are looking for a larger family car, the MINI may not be the right fit. If you want just a bit more space, can afford the cost and want to keep the enthusiasm and dependable drive of the MINI, then this is the car for you.
Good to know
The specs of the MINI Clubman Cooper S
Engine: 2 litre 4-pot engine
Transmission: 7-speed Steptronic transmission with double clutch
Power: 141 kW
Torque: 280 Nm
Claimed fuel efficiency: 7.6L/100km
Price: From R511 000
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