What it Is
2008 MINI Cooper Clubman S -- 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show: Hey…it’s a Mini for grown ups! Or those who could use more doors, more room and easier access than that of the current Mini, anyway. The Clubman, which leaked to the motoring press about an eon ago and was officially debuted at the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show, offers more of what Mini customers aren’t really supposed to care about – mainly boring stuff like functionality and room – but does so in a clever package that’s just as cute as a four-legged bug. Priced to start at an MSRP of $20,600 for the Cooper and $24,100 for the Cooper S (plus $650 destination) the Clubman costs more, for more.
by Brian Chee
MyRide Managing Editor
Photo Credit: BMW and Staff
Why it Matters
The new Mini has been a strong hit, and it was just a matter of time before the good folks at BMW figured out a way to expand the lineup. That may sound easy to do, but consider the challenge behind updating and adding to what is in essence a complete retro vehicle with present-day equipment. From the looks of it, we think they did a marvy job of it, and may be onto something. While the Clubman would never come close to replacing the original, it’s a perfect bookend for people who want the Mini vibe but with room to exhale. Plus, with gas prices on the rise again, this may be a perfect solution for young families with a desire to be hip and efficient.
What’s Under the Hood
As with the updated 2007 MINI Cooper, the Clubman gets two powertrain choices: the naturally-aspirated 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 120 horsepower and 118 lb.-ft. of torque. The S powertrain offers up a turbocharged experience: 175 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. of torque, which is way more than any little car really needs – but it sure is fun to have! Transmission choices are a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox. Like the powertrain, the Clubman’s safety, braking, steering and suspension setups are the same as what’s on the smaller Mini.
Ten inches longer at the wheelbase makes for significantly more room – on paper, at least. If it holds true in real life, the Mini Cooper Clubman will quickly become the preferred Mini for people who have stuff or people to haul. The tale of the tape suggests that legroom has grown three inches and that rear cargo room has also been expanded.
When You Can Buy It
Pretty much on sale in Europe right now, the Mini Cooper Clubman and Clubman S should reach our shores in the fall of 2007 or spring of 2008. Priced to start at an MSRP of $20,600 for the Cooper and $24,100 for the Cooper S (plus $650 destination) the Clubman costs more, for more.
What We Think
What a nice way to bring back the Clubman name, and give a nod to the Mini Traveller. Driving a Mini has always meant something more, mainly a more unique, and even sporting, experience. On that count, it looks like the Clubman will be a hit, in terms of driving pleasure and day-to-day errands. Pricing is not available at this time, but we hope that the Mini Cooper Clubman’s real world price stays as close to the MSRP as possible.