Our car was powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with direct injection and a twin-scroll turbocharger complete with intercooler.
How It Drove - Performance
Our car was powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with direct injection and a twin-scroll turbocharger complete with intercooler. The 175 bhp engine produces a peek of 240 Nm worth of torque (260 Nm with Overboost engaged) which is enough to allow it to sprint from 0-62 mph in 7.6 seconds and then onto a top speed of 139 mph. This is very similar to the performance of the lighter MINI Cooper S hatch (7.1 seconds to 62 mph).
The MINI Cooper S Clubman stands out from the other models with a more defined bonnet that sits 20mm higher than the Cooper to accommodate the turbocharged engine plus there is an integrated air scoop to aid turbo cooling.
The engine is started via a button, on pushing the button you are rewarded with a muted growl. The six speed manual gearbox is a joy to use and is very rewarding. The turbocharger cuts in at 1400 rpm, so there is little lag and after that the acceleration takes you into hot hatch territory.
Although our car was fitted with stop and go it rarely worked for us as the ambient temperature was too cold for it to operate (sub 4 degrees). This system automatically switches the engine off when the vehicle is stationary and the driver puts the car into neutral saving fuel and helps to protect the environment. The moment the driver begins to re-engage the cutch, the engine starts. The system can be switched off at the touch of a button.
We averaged 34.4 mpg over our mixed test route which is slightly down on the 44.8mpg claimed by MINI.
Hill Assist is standard on all manual MINI Clubman's and maintains braking for a brief moment to prevent the car from rolling back after the handbrake is released as the car begins to move uphill.
Based on BMW's EfficientDynamics systems - in addition to 'stop and start', there is now the Switch Point Display - which helps you select the most economical gear in which to drive (manual transmission). The engine management system analyses speed, road situation and accelerator pedal position, and based on this data calculates optimum gearing. The ideal gear is then displayed by number in the cockpit display, I am not sure it always gets it right but every little bit helps.
How It Drove - Ride and Handling
The MINI Cooper S Clubman does seem to suffer from torque steer to quite an extent, pulling out of road junctions in wet conditions requires a light foot - we do not recall the hatchback suffering to that degree.
However, the legendary MINI handling remains and although the Clubman may not be as sharp as the Hatch it is still very good. The ride borders on the hard side which might put a few people off but it is reassuring.
As with the Hatch, the suspension on the MINI Cooper S is set-up to be firmer and more dynamic than the other models. An even firmer Sport Suspension set-up is available as an option featuring harder springs, dampers and stiffer anti-roll bars.
The speed sensitive electric power steering (EPAS) gives direct feedback and there is little body roll it all seems very controlled. There is a Sport Mode which toggled by a switch on central console which sharpens up the throttle response and steering weighting and this was our preferred setting.