Compact crossovers are growing, not just in terms of sales, but also in size and one of the originals, the Mini Clubman, is going through a growth spurt like everyone else.
Debuting at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the next-gen Clubman reasserts its position as the brand’s most versatile vehicle – something that had been lost as models like the Countryman and even the original hardtop offered more doors and interior space.
The first difference is in the number of doors: six. More doors equal easier access to, well, everything. A pair of split doors on the back of the new model provide simpler and improved access to the rear cargo area…and provide the extra door.
The new Clubman is the longest and widest Mini on the road heading into the new year. This growth spurt means additional space for people and cargo. The changes in size mark the first significant remake since it was introduced in 2007.
Even more significant may be that it’s no longer just a stretched out version of the original. This model has been designed and engineered separately for the first time.
“The new Clubman strikes a perfect balance between Mini’s heritage and future,” said David Duncan, vice president Mini of the Americas. “As our flagship, the Clubman represents everything Mini does best while showing-off a more mature and refined side. Its premium styling and functional design will play a critical role as we reposition the brand over the next few years.”
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The brand’s flagship not only gets more room, it gets more oomph. Tested on the Nürburgring racetrack in Germany, the new model is powered by a 1.5-liter inline three-cylinder with twin turbos putting out 134 hp at 4,400 rpm and 162 ft-lb of torque at 1,250. It’s mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
However, if buyers move up to the Clubman S, the performance picks up significantly with an 2.0-liter inline four with twin turbos and direct injection producing 189 hp at 5,000 rpm and 207 ft-lb of torque at 1,250 rpm.
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Like the base model, it can be mated to a six-speed manual, but it also gets an eight-speed Steptronic automatic to help deliver power quickly and smoothly. The Clubman S sports a zero-to-60 mph time of seven seconds with the manual transmission and is even slightly faster at 6.9 seconds with the automatic.
It can’t be the flagship if it’s not filled with lots of gizmos and creature comforts and the new Clubman certainly has them. They range from driver assistance features like head-up display, camera-based active cruise control collision and pedestrian warning with initial brake function, high beam assistant, road sign detection, Parking Assistant and rear view camera.
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The complete Mini Connected in-car infotainment program is also available with the option to integrate social networking and other smartphone apps into the vehicle.