Mini refreshes model range for 2011

June 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The second generation of BMW’s modern Mini has been tearing up the streets for a couple of years now and it has just received a subtle refresh. With the exception of the newly introduced Countryman crossover, the remainder of Mini’s lineup including the hatchback, Clubman and convertible models has received a subtle facelift with fresh styling updates and new diesel engines for the 2011 model year.

All variants of the Mini have been given a new front bumper design to refresh the face and improve pedestrian protection by larger deformation zones, new light elements in the headlamps, redesigned side gill housings with indicators, restyled rear bumpers and LED tail lights now on all models. There are five new paint colors on the Mini pallete and fresh alloy wheel designs to choose from.

Inside, there are redesigned controls for the centre console, steering wheel, air conditioning and audio systems. There are new materials and colours including six new upholstery choices, and two new interior color lines for door cards and side panels.

Sitting under the bonnet, there’s an all-new 1.6-litre diesel engine that shares the same internals and variable turbine geometry as BMW’s 2.0-litre diesel units. When used in the Mini, it will be offered with two output ratings – 90HP in the Mini One D and 112HP in the Cooper D.

The diesel engine will also feature for the first time in the Mini Convertible.

The refreshed 2011 Mini will go on sale globally from September.

Mini Clubman. Pinball

December 22nd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

A Mini Clubman is used in a pinball game


Mini Clubman. Have you seen that?

December 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Have you seen that? – A spectacular drive of two Mini Clubman on the German autobahn


Team McMillan pull out a Mini woodie

October 22nd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Mini Woodie Team McMillan s

Team McMillan Mini of Auckland, has dressed up a demo model Mini Cooper S Clubman with graphics resembling the classic exterior wood framework of English and American station wagons.¨The vinyl graphic has been applied to the car’s body similar in a style similar to the old Mini Countryman and Clubman Estate models of the 60’s and 70’s. ¨Team McMillan Mini Sales Manager Jonathan Highton is a self-confessed Mini fanatic, and is keen to promote and increase the Mini brand in the NZ marketplace.

Historically, the term “Station wagon” was applied to vehicles used at Railway Stations whose steel car bodies were modified and replaced with wood paneling to enable the carrying of cargo and luggage. These vehicles became popular with car manufacturers who adopted the wooden paneling styling design into their model range. The Surfing fraternity of California adopted older vehicles in the early 1960’s as a means of transporting surfboards and makeshift accommodation on the beaches of the West Coast of USA.

The term “woodie” was popularised by the pop group “The Beach Boys” in their songs of surfing and lifestyle.¨The Woodie Mini Clubman captures the spirit of the outdoor and surfing lifestyle, and is fitted with roof-racks to carry surfboards to distant summer destinations.

Orcon adds MINI Clubmans to it’s fleet

August 25th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

orcon-mini-clubman-fq

Orcon New Zealand has added three MINI Clubmans to its fleet to capitalise on the small cars economy over the aging Commodore fleet currently used by the company.

Orcon CEO Scott Bartlett says: “Not only do the Clubmans look great, they will also save us money.”

Fuel consumption for the Clubman Cooper S is a quoted as a thrifty 5.8L/100kms — almost half that of the Holden Commodore’s Orcon became renowned for.

Orcon is phasing out the Commodores as their leases come up for renewal, starting with three new MINIs due to hit the streets later this month. The MINI Clubman revives the iconic 60’s panel van and offers the space and legroom that Orcon’s team need.

“They are fantastic machines, and fit with Orcon’s personality,” says Bartlett. “They are peppy, sporty, smart, and punch above their weight — just like us.”

Bartlett says adding the MINIs to the fleet is the perfect move in these times: “Businesses now realise they need to take responsibility for their carbon footprint and cut costly fuel bills,” he says. “While the MINIs are a fun little car, they enable us to take our corporate citizen responsibilities seriously.”

MINI Cooper Clubman 2008 Review

June 22nd, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Mini Clubman Cooper fq 2

The new MINI Cooper Clubman sits outside the Car and SUV offices proudly showing off a stylized two-tone rump with double cargo doors. It’s a very different rear end to the regular MINI. In fact there hasn’t been a rear end since Jennifer Lopez’ that has caused so much talk around this office. However unlike J-Lo’s universally praised study in design excellence, opinion is still divided about the MINI Clubman’s bum.

I believe that you either get the ‘booty’ concept or you don’t. Personally when I first saw photos of the Clubman, I wasn’t taken with the styling, but seeing one in the flesh has made me reconsider to the point that now I think it looks alright. I can imagine the hotter Cooper S Clubman with a loud exhaust and big wheels making speedy deliveries through tight city streets. Awesome.

The interior is a strong point for all MINIs and this one is a nice place to be with a quality feel that seems to pervade all BMW stuff. The leather seats look sporty and are comfortable while the adjustable steering wheel provides a sporty, low driving position. Even the backseat is ok for 180cm+ people, which is partly why BMW decided to stretch this MINI.

The collection of circles that make up the interior is very cool while the ‘mood lighting’ control is interesting as you can change the colour of the lights on the interior door handles and next to the rear view mirror. The interior door handles hinge to the side and you have to pull them backward which is a bit awkward.

‘Funky’ is the adjective used by most who saw the Clubman, though some who saw the ‘Incredibly Mini’ tag on the number plate suggested a less flattering adjective to follow ‘Incredibly’.

We tried the cooking model Cooper Clubman with an 88kw engine and 6-speed automatic transmission.

The engine while feeling a bit lethargic, sounded rorty and really liked to rev and of course we let it. The engine note even sounds a little similar to the original Mini, with a hint of Ford Escort BDA rally car thrown in.

MINI quotes figures of 5.3 and 9.4 l/100km for highway and city driving respectively for the auto though we couldn’t verify this as there’s no trip computer.

The handling hasn’t been affected by the increased length in the Clubman (24cm) and it is still as chuck-able and secure as a regular MINI. It craves curves and rewards the driver with sublime composure on all but the most rutted roads where mid-corner bumps can produce a hint of understeer. The darty front end does give the feel of a big go-kart and grip through 205/45/17 tyres is impressive. Brakes are very good and pull the Clubman up well. Just make sure any loads are secure!

The Clubman definitely still has that sporting MINI DNA and is an absolute hoot to drive on twisty roads. It would be great to try the faster Cooper S Clubman with a manual gearbox.

Less inspiring is the 6-speed automatic transmission which around town with the auto in ‘Drive’ likes to go directly to 6th gear. This combined with the lack of fireworks under the bonnet means it needs to be revved to keep up with traffic. If you flick the gear level to the left to activate ‘sports mode’ things get much better. Paddles behind the steering wheel make for much more effective and satisfying progress although how they work can be a little confusing at first in that left and right do the same thing. Thumb the top of the paddle forward to change down, and pull back to go up. Once you get used to this, though, it is very easy to use — more intuitive in fact than having one paddle for up and one for down – and although the changes aren’t Ferrari-fast they do the job.

The MINI Clubman is different to the regular MINI as it is heavier and a little longer to add backseat space. The ‘Clubman door’ is an interesting concept that, like the Mazda RX-8, swings out after the front door is opened to help rear seat passengers enter and the driver to stash gear in the back. Why it is only on the drivers side I’m not sure, as I wouldn’t use it to let passengers out the drivers side for safety reasons. It seems that it would be better to have the door on both sides.

The double doors at the back are the main feature of the Clubman and are the main criticism of those concerned with the Clubman’s aesthetics. As a functional idea they are good but the space in the boot is ‘handy’ rather than huge. The doors also limit rearward visibility but this is something that you get used to.

It is a great handling car, fantastic fun to drive, easy to park and has a funky interior.
So it all boils down to whether the look of the Clubman appeals to you or not. Like I said at the beginning, you either get the ‘booty’ concept or you don’t.

Price: From $40,900

What we like

  • Rorty engine
  • Great handling
  • Quality interior
  • Sporty driving position

What we don’t like

  • Mood lighting was distracting
  • Standard automatic mode
  • Long list of options can make it expensive
  • Love it/hate it styling

MINI Cooper Clubman

From: Manual $40,900

Automatic $43,900

Specifications

Type (cylinders / valves) In line / 4

Effective Displacement (cm3) 1598

Power output kW (hp) 88 (120) at (rpm) 6000

Max. torque (Nm) @ rpm 160 / 4250

C02 emission -EU (auto) 163 (143)

Exhaust emissions classification (auto) EU4

Performance

Drag coefficient (Cd) 0,34

0-100 km/ h (sec), (auto) (9,8)10,9

Maximum speed in km/h, (auto) 201(195)

Fuel consumption

EU, in town Litres/100km  (Auto) 8,1(9,4)

EU, out of town Litres/100km (Auto) 4,8 (5,3)

Fuel consumption / Range (ltr /100km / km) 6,8 / 590

Technology & Information

3-way catalytic convertor fully controlled, heated lambda sensors

Cornering Brake Control

Power steering, electronic speed related

Manual 6-speed transmission

Dimensions – MINI in Millimetres

Length (mm) 3937

Width (mm) 1683

Height (mm) 1426

Luggage capacities (m3) 0,260 – 0,930 0

Fuel capacity (litres) 40

Safety & Vehicle Protection Features

Electronic vehicle immobilization (EWS IV)

3rd Headrest in rear

Runflat indicator with passive monitoring of all 4 wheels with status indicator light

Crash sensor, to activate hazard warning lights and interior lighting and to unlock doors

Follow me home function

Airbags for driver and front passenger, 6 airbags as standard; 2 front, 2 side and 2 curtain airbags

Electronic Braking Force Distribution control

Pyrotechnic belt buckle tensioners, for automatic belts front

Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)

Sports suspension settings

Emergency spare wheel (3 1/2J x 15 tyres (deletion of MINI Mobility system)

Alarm system; for monitoring doors, engine-compartment lid and tailgate, including interior- movement sensor, tilt sensor and siren with emergency power supply

Warning triangle with first-aid kit

Park distance control rear (PDC)

Fog lights integrated into the front bumper

Front passenger airbag deactivation

MINI tlc ( 5 Year / 80,000 kilometre Scheduled Servicing)

Words Ben Dillon, photographs Darren Cottingham