These are the first official pictures of the BMW Group’s third new Mini variant, and the one you be waiting for if you like the Mini’s chirpy looks, but dislike its lack of cabin and boot space. This is the new Mini Clubman, and you can see it from every angle in our gallery.
The modern day Traveller
The Clubman has found its way from concept car to production reality in less than two years, after it was first revealed at the 2005 Frankfurt motor show. The quirky five-door will start at £14,235 for the Cooper when UK sales get underway in November.Riding on an 80mm longer wheelbase than the Mini hatchback, the Clubman adds three more doors to the Mini’s well-established look – one along the right-hand side and two at the rear.
More room in the back and a bigger boot
At the back, the Clubman uses a pair of original Mini Traveller-style side hinged doors that open outwards. To highlight the unusual treatment at the rear, the frame around the rear doors is painted in the same colour as the roof trim.The car is 240mm longer than a Mini hatchback overall, and that extra length means rear legroom has increased by 80mm while boot capacity goes up by 100 litres to 260 litres, rising to 930 litres when the split rear seat is folded.
As fun to drive as any other Mini
The Clubman will be sold with a choice of three existing four-cylinder engines – the Mini One’s 1.4-litre engine won’t be available in the larger Clubman due its lack of torque.The Cooper S gets the turbocharged 1.6-litre direct injection unit producing 175bhp and 177lb ft, with a milder naturally-aspirated version with 120bhp and 118lb ft in the Cooper. The frugal 1.6-litre diesel, delivering 110bhp and 177lb ft in the Cooper D, manages 109g/km of C02 and a claimed 68.9mpg in the Clubman. Like the rest of the Mini range from August, the Clubman will be offered with BMW’s brake energy regeneration and stop/start functions. The standard six-speed manual gearbox has an optimal gearshift indicator to help save fuel.At 1250kg the Clubman weighs 75kg more than a standard Mini, but performance remains respectable; the Cooper S hits 60mph in 7.6sec. Despite the Clubman’s larger footprint, Mini claims it possesses all the dynamic qualities of its standard sibling. The MacPherson strut (front) and multi-link (rear) suspension receives unique spring and damper rates and more compliant bushes.
The door’s the catch
The only disappointing thing about the Clubman, for UK buyers at least, is the fact that its asymmetrical body won’t be properly converted for right-hand drive.Access to the Clubman’s rear cabin is by a single suicide-style door. Due to what Mini describes as “the prohibitive cost of relocating the fuel filler,” this fifth door will be located on the right-hand side of the car, even in right-hand drive cars. Which means rear seat passengers will probably have to get out into the road in the UK, and only after the driver has got out too.Even less convenient is the fact that the extra door can only be opened when the right-hand side front door is opened, although it has allowed Mini to do away with a door handle to preserve the exterior lines.However, it seems Mini does have a sense of humour about the Clubman’s biggest shortcoming. It’s called the fifth door the ‘Clubdoor’ which, we assume, means it’ll be guarded by a bouncer at all times, and ‘if your name’s not down, you’re not coming in.’