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Last 7 Days
  • Longer and wider than the previous Clubman means more rear legroom and more load capacity; rear barn doors make for easy loading; Quality interior design and features; quirky in a good way; decent ride, handling and performance;
  • Not as spacious as it looks; performance is fun rather than entertaining and leaves you wanting more;

OUR RATING
7 / 10



2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two
2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two
2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two

The first-generation Mini Clubman was a bit too quirky for its own good, particularly with those suicide doors mounted on only one side of the car – unfortunately the wrong side for right-hand-drive markets like Australia.

Based on the Mini five-door, this latest iteration is altogether more grown up and a far more practical proposition.

For the last six weeks I’ve been using the new Clubman as a proper lifestyle vehicle, transporting various sized surfboards and beach gear up and down Sydney’s Northern Beaches in search of the perfect wave.

So, just how practical is the 2016 Mini Clubman in real life?

At 4274mm it’s the longest Mini ever, growing by nearly 315mm over its predecessor and by a massive 1220mm over the original 1959 Mini hatch. It’s also wider by 117mm and while it might look comparatively long compared with its three-door Mini siblings, it’s actually slightly shorter than a Volkswagen Golf five-door hatchback.

Those barn-style rear doors can be opened remotely via the key fob, or by kicking a leg under the rear of the car – it works sometimes. Failing that, there are touch-sensitive buttons behind the door handles. So there’s easy access for loading, but don’t expect a big space to work with back there.

The 60/40 split-fold second row seating folds almost flat, so boot space expands from an unreasonably small 360 litres (that’s 20 less than the Golf) behind the rear seats, to a more useable 1250 litres, allowing for gear like surfboards and golf clubs.

2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two
2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two
2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two
2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two

Mind you, not without reworking the interior space to accommodate my default board at the moment – a super-wide 6’8” Takayama Scorpion. I also managed to flat load an 8.0’ softy, but it wasn’t exactly easy. On both occasions, I had to remove the front headrest, recline the front seat, and fold half the rear seat in order to secure it, while maintaining acceptable vision and space for driving.

Not overly convenient, but I guess roof racks would be the go if you were to own the car.

Rear-seat legroom is much better, with enough space for comfortable seating, even for larger frames, as well as enough room under the front seats to slide your feet under – important for passengers in the back for longer journeys. However, middle seat comfort is compromised by a fairly intrusive transmission tunnel.

Up front there’s plenty of storage space for things like phones and wallets, while larger one-litre water bottles will fit in all four side-door pockets.

It’s also a beautifully designed and finished cabin, with lots of intricate details that make it feel premium – understandable given its $42,900 (plus on roads) price tag.

But it’s still as quirky as ever in here.

There’s the trademark oversize roundel that serves as the infotainment screen, of which the surrounding bezel radiates like a coloured aura depending on which mode you’ve dialled up. It could be seen as a tad gimmicky, but at the same time it’s kind of cool.

2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two
2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two
2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two
2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two

I’m a big fan of the Clubman’s new media Interface, which looks and feels like BMW’s easy-to-use iDrive system. The large rotary dial also acts as a touchpad, and there’s a series of shortcut buttons that make life easier when switching from music streaming to the nav.

And who doesn’t love those classic Mini toggle switches – they’re a nice retro touch, with the red one on the centre serving as the start/stop button.

Typical to many press vehicles, there are a bunch of options and packages added to this tester including the well-worthwhile Multimedia Pro Package, which gets you the larger 8.8-inch screen, head-up display, a quality Harman Kardon sound system and DAB Digital radio.

The Cooper S version of the Clubman might be the quickest in the model range, but don’t expect it to deliver anywhere near the kind of hot-hatch fireworks that you’ll get from its three-door Cooper S sibling.

While it uses the same turbocharged, 141kW/280Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine from the hatch, on-road performance is compromised by the Clubman’s extra heft. Tipping the scales at 1465kg (with the eight-speed auto) makes it 290kg heavier and noticeably less spritely.

While the Cooper S hatch can go from 0-100km/h in 6.7 seconds, the Clubman version needs all of 7.1 seconds, and it feels very much that way from behind the wheel. Give it some beans, and it feels genuinely sporty and there’s some crackle and pop from the exhaust that all adds to the driving experience.

2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two
2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two
2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two
2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two

All that’s fine, but without the benefit of a quick-shifting dual-clutch gearbox, it never fully satisfies the enthusiast in me – feeling more like a warm hatch than a genuine hot-hatch. It continually left me wanting a bit more and I’m not sure that’s good enough from a car wearing the storied Cooper S badge – Clubman or not.

But never mind the straight-line speed. Like Minis of old, it’s always been the handling that excites more. Our tester was equipped with the optional adaptive dampers and in the Sport setting things firm up and the car corners dead flat, even when you’re pushing. There’s more weight in the steering too, but not overly so – perfect for the kind of cornering pace the Clubman is up for. And I’m a big fan of the JCW steering wheel, it’s beautifully moulded and standard with the Clubman Cooper S.

In the Normal suspension setting though the ride softens and is able to absorb more of the bumps while not unsettling the car, even riding on these optional 18-inch alloys shod with run-flat tyres, which tend to ride firmer than their standard counterparts.

Like most front-wheel-drive cars, the Clubman has a tendency to understeer should you approach a corner carrying too much speed, so as long as you’re patient in the tighter stuff it’s still plenty of fun.

2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two
2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two
2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two
2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two

The brakes feel sure-footed too, like the rest of the chassis, which simply gives you the confidence to really enjoy the extra punch of the Cooper S. Good thing that the leather sports seats have been designed with a nice balance between bolster and comfort – a necessity for the daily commuter.

So it’s still very much a Mini, with all the usual quirks and it’s got more room than any other Mini, but there are still a few fail points.

Rear visibility is compromised by the barn-style doors, the elliptically-shaped rear-vision mirror and as we’ve discovered, the car is not as big as it looks.

Performance-wise, despite its significant extra heft over the three-door version, the Clubman Cooper S still delivers plenty of fun, but without genuine hot-hatch excitement. Enthusiasts will want more, and hopefully that will come in the guise of a John Cooper Works version down the track.

Click on the Photos tab for more images by Christian Barbeitos.

2016 Mini Clubman Cooper S
Date acquired:
December 2016
Odometer reading:
5471km
Travel since previous update:
3878km
Fuel consumption since previous update:
12.2L/100km

More:Mini Clubman Cooper S long-term report one.


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MINI COOPER BREAKDOWN

2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Review: Long-term report two
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7.5
  • 7
  • 7.5
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Mini Cooper Specs

S CLUBMAN : F54 : 2.0L TURBO MPFI - 8 SP AUTOMATIC - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 4D WAGON
Car Details
Make
MINI
Model
COOPER
Variant
S CLUBMAN
Series
F54
Year
2016
Body Type
4D WAGON
Seats
5
Pricing
New Price
$42,900 MRLP
Private Sale
$35,310 - $40,130
Dealer Retail
$35,340 - $42,020
Dealer Trade
$27,400 - $32,100
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
TURBO MPFI
Engine Size
2.0L
Cylinders
TURBO 4
Max. Torque
280Nm @  1250rpm
Max. Power
141kW @  5000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
105.9W/kg
Bore & Stroke
82x94.6mm
Compression Ratio
11.0
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
8 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
0
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
40Litres
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
5.9L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1332
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1441mm
Length
4253mm
Width
1800mm
Ground Clearance
141mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:1300  Unbrake:720
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
0
Front Rim Size
7.5x17
Rear Rim Size
7.5x17
Front Tyres
225/45 R17
Rear Tyres
225/45 R17
Wheel Base
2670
Front Track
1560
Rear Track
1561
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Multi-link system, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones
Control & Handling
17 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Traction Control System
Driver
Cruise Control, Multi Function Steering Wheel, Mobile Phone Connectivity, Parking Distance Control, Power Steering, Reversing Camera, Satellite Navigation, Trip Computer
Engine & Transmission
Electronic Differential Lock
Entertainment
Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors, Rear Spoiler
Interior
Power Windows
Safety
Airbag Driver & Anti-lock Brakes Package, Dual Front Airbag Package, Head Airbags, Side Airbags
Security
Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Control & Handling
Adaptive Damping Control, 18 Inch Alloy Wheels
Exterior
Metallic Paint, Metallic Paint Special
Interior
Leather Upholstery
Package
Convenience Pack
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  25,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side Inner Guard
Country of Origin
United Kingdom