Published on February 19th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Mini Clubman Cooper S Pepper White Test Drive Review
With pepper but without any sugar added
November last year, Mini in Malaysia expanded their product line-up with this latest version of the Clubman. The Mini range (see picture below) is quite complicated. Let us explain. There is the all time favourite Mini 2-door which looks after the historical interest of the brand. Then there is the Countryman which is a 4 door SUV looking Mini that is as large as some Crossovers and it comes with option of having 4×4 capability and then finally there is the Clubman which reminds us of the time when the Mini was a delivery vehicle in England.
Yes, in its heyday the Mini designers took a simple two door Mini and extended it to be a 2-door wagon that could be used for delivering the mail, milk and malt.
Fast forward to 2008 and a modern BMW produced Clubman arrived with 2-doors and a wagon rear end. It was made available as the Mini One, Cooper, Cooper S, and Cooper D. While identical to the Hatch/Hardtop from the B-pillars forward, this Clubman was 240 mm longer overall, with a correspondingly stretched wheelbase that was 80 mm longer; this provided more rear-seat leg room and substantially increased cargo space when compared to the Hardtop at 160 mm longer, giving 260 litres of space. It had twin “barn doors,” alternately referred to as “the Splitdoor,” enclosing the boot instead of a pull-up hatch, and also featured a “Clubdoor” on the right-hand side regardless of the intended market. This meant that in right-hand drive markets like Malaysia, the rear door was on the road side of the car, requiring rear passengers to exit into the road.
Physically, the Clubman mostly looks the part…..the Mini DNA continues, with its familiar nose treatment. But from some angles, notably from the side, it does look a bit dumpy, a bit like a squashed Mini. The five-door layout for us doesn’t help either as we grew up with Mini’s being 2-door cars (the glorious seventies and eighties). This is a grown up Mini! This is the ‘adult’ Mini for the family.
There is a new sense of style at work inside the Clubman like all other new Minis and it is a cut-above the class competitors. Thanks to the oval ventilation, oval meter cluster, broad sweeping textured surfaces across the dashboard and the quality finished silver/black-painted accents, the Clubman interior like its siblings looks special. First impressions count and they have done well here.
The leather seat and trim of this Clubman may not look especially inviting in photographs, but in reality it is both comfortable and durable. The front seats strike a nice balance of moderate grip and long-range comfort. The steering wheel has good height and reach adjustment. Rear seats are as comfy as the front, if slightly flatter, but putting one six-footer behind another will result in little discomfort for the rear six-footer. There is enough legroom and luggage room to go head to head with its rivals.
CLUBMAN Cabin Features
The New MINI Clubman features the sleek MINI Yours Walknappa Leather steering wheel, complemented by the MINI Yours Walknappa Leather Lounge Carbon Black seat upholstery. The seats also feature the iconic Union Jack motif on the headrests, giving the interior a recognisable MINI touch. Further enhancing the lighting and ambience of the New MINI Clubman is the MINI Yours Interior Styles illuminated in Frozen Blue. This includes illuminations for the door bezels, the all-round cockpit bezel, the cockpit trim and the centre console trim elements – designed to harmonise in matching colours.
The interior of the New MINI Clubman is accentuated with the MINI Yours floor mats featuring black piping and aluminium-coloured seam patterns, along with the exclusive MINI Yours design label on the side windows. The New MINI Clubman also offers a premium music experience in the form of the 12-Speaker Harman Kardon Sound System, exclusively customised for the New MINI Clubman to offer powerfully precise bass and sound quality at its peak.
Surprisingly, there are no rivals. Yes, the Mini brand really has no rivals in our books. If someone wants to buy a Mini, they buy a Mini. There is never a toss up between a Mini and ………. Well the VW Beetle used to its one and only rival and this has ended as the Volkswagen management decided to end the Beetle production for good.
This new 2020 Clubman comes with a host of new cabin technology. The latest introduction to the New MINI Clubman includes a high resolution 6.5-inch MINI Navigation System with a touch screen display, giving the owner easy access to a wealth of navigational information within reach. The New MINI Clubman is complete with the advanced MINI Connected with built-in 4G SIM technology, offering maximised safety with the Intelligent Emergency Call and MINI TeleServices.
The current update of the MINI Connected app furnishes owners of the New MINI Clubman with an exceptionally wide range of digital services such as Concierge Service, Apple Carplay and MINI Online that allow mobility planning to be integrated seamlessly in day-to-day digital routines. The app also enables sending navigational information from smartphone to vehicle and receiving departure information as well as the MINI Remote Services – which displays vehicle location, fuel level and other vehicle status details on their mobile devices. The function also allows quick activation of the headlight flash, horn, ventilation and door lock/unlock function.
So how does this car drive? Ignite the 2-litre Twinpower turbocharged petrol engine and the sound insulation allows for just enough engine noise to excite the driver. On the typical office commute the Clubman is a quiet, refined offering. There is minimal wind or tyre noise and the suspension is compliant over most irregularities. The ride, however, is jiggle at lower speeds along badly maintained city roads and the new 7-speed twin clutch automatic works very well.
Surprisingly, the 192bhp turbo petrol is able to pull this large car along with little hesitation. Like other Mini’s, this 4-door Mini corners like its on rails and the jiggle harsh ride is the trade-off if you can live with it. I suppose smaller alloy wheels and higher profile tires will change all this and give this Mini a pliant comfortable ride on most of our Klan Valley uneven surfaces.
The asking price of RM298,888 gives shoppers a lot of other options to look at (might even look at the new BMW 3 Series). However the looks of the Mini is still crowd pleasing and the dynamics are still great for the driver looking at excitement in a daily commute.
MINI Clubman Cooper S Specifications
Engine: 4-cylinder Twinpower Turbo
Power: 192bhp @5000-6000rpm
Torque: 280Nm @ 1350-4600rpm
Transmission: 7-speed DCT
Top speed: 228km/h