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Clubman: Super-Sized MINI


Continuing its tongue-in-cheek marketing party MINI USA unveiled the 2008 MINI Clubman at the Los Angeles Auto Show. In true self-deprecating MINI style, the diminutive wagon backed onto the stage, showing off its rear barn doors to the enthusiastic press. Vice President of MINI James O’Donnell led the tour of MINI’s latest model. (Look for VehicleVoice’s video podcast of our personal interview with James McDowell.)

The Look
We’ve already seen four concepts of the MINI Clubman, and the vehicle has been the darling of the spy photo set, so not much is new to those following this story. The Clubman is 9.45 inches longer than a standard MINI, and rides on a 3.15-inch longer wheelbase. Overall the exterior styling is the familiar MINI look, only stretched to accommodate more rear legroom and a larger cargo area. The exterior roof has bulges that mimic roof rails along the length of the roofline.


The most unique characteristic of the vehicle is its doors. The rear hatch is replaced by 2 barn-like doors on hydraulic hinges that sit on the outside edge of the vehicle. When initiated, the doors almost open by themselves, and the outboard hinge placement offer a wide opening for loading. On the passenger side, MINI’s “Clubdoor” swings open in the opposing direction relative to the main passenger door to increase the access to the rear seating area. Without an exterior handle, the Clubdoor integrates into the body design of the MINI Clubman. 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.

The Drive
The Mini Clubman will be available with two engine options in the United States— a 1.6L four-cylinder in the base model Clubman, with maximum 120 horsepower achieved at 6,000 rpm, and maximum torque of 118 lb-ft at 4,250 rpm. The base MINI Cooper Clubman accelerates to 62 mph in 9.8 seconds and has a top speed of 125 mph. The S Clubman power plant adds a turbocharger to generate 175 horsepower and a maximum torque of 177 lb-ft from 1,600 to 5,000 rpm, with a further brief increase to 192 lb-ft by means of the overboost function. This pulls the MINI Cooper S Clubman to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds and gives the car a top speed of 139 mph.
The MINI Clubman and S Clubman are equipped standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. A 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.
The Deal
Like the standard MINI, the Clubman will offer a number of (profit) options, including 40 exterior color combinations and several combinations of interior fabric and colors. Given MINI’s recent sales history, we can expect that most orders for the Clubman will include customer customization. Pricing with destination charge is $20,600 for the standard Clubman and $24,100 for the S Clubman.

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