Five was the maximum number of doors that can be had on a new MINI, until the arrival of the second generation F54 MINI Clubman that comes with a total of six doors.
MINI is stretching the hatch even further, offering more doors and more space than before, and for the first time ever, it’s available with an eight-speed gearbox.
The new Clubman dropped the asymmetrical driver-side suicide doors in favour of a couple regular opening doors on each side, but it’s still keeping the split rear barn doors, making it a full-fledged six-door MINI. The Clubman is 90 mm wider and 270 mm longer than the MINI 5 door, and 100 mm of that goes to the wheelbase.
More work has been done to distinguish the new Clubman from the lesser-doored siblings this time, so it’ll be easier to spot one even from the front. The recognisable face has been updated with a new grille and a new bumper that incorporates Air Curtain vents. Full-LED lights can be specified and that includes a pair of LED foglamps as well.
Another vent is featured on each side of the front fenders and they’re the same Air Breather vents that appeared on some BMW models that works in conjunction with the Air Curtains for an optimum air flow around the front wheels. Above that, the side scuttle design is new with unique shape for the signal indicator.
The two ridges at the edge of the roof are carried over from the previous Clubman, and buyers can opt for roof rails, panoramic glass roof, and even a red LED status light on the antenna for the alarm system.
The usual vertical MINI tail lights have been rotated 90 degrees on the Clubman, and they’re now fixed to the rear barn doors unlike the predecessor. With the optional Comfort Access, the rear doors can be opened via the remote or just by waving your foot under the rear bumper.
Most of the interior bits are new and exclusive for the Clubman. The circular center panel is retained, together with the instrument panel that’s attached to the steering wheel column, and also some basic switches, knobs, and toggles. What’s new is the dashboard with flatter design and a couple of new outer air-cond vents, as well as redesigned panel for each door.
The center console has been cleaned up with electronic parking brake switch replacing the old-school handbrake lever, and the base of the console now incorporates the center armrest. Both the front seats comes with optional electrical adjustments, while the rear bench will accept three persons and splits 40:20:40.
There’s 360 litres worth of cargo space at the back, and it can be extended by up to 1,250 litres with the rear seats folded down. The pillars in the middle of the rear split doors are said to be slimmer this time, and it should improve rear visibility especially from the driver’s seat.
The Clubman shares the same underpinning as the other smaller MINIs, which means transversely-mounted engine up front driving the front wheels. Three turbocharged engines were announced for the new Clubman: a 1.5-litre petrol three-pot in the Cooper, a 2.0-litre petrol four in the Cooper S, and a 2.0-litre four banger diesel in the Cooper D.
The smaller petrol engine generates 136 hp and 220 Nm while the bigger petrol engine develops 192 hp and 280 Nm, and both comes with overboost function that brings additional 10 Nm on the Cooper and 20 Nm on the Cooper S. The Diesel mill produces 150 hp and 330 Nm.
All variants come with a six-speed manual gearbox, but the four-cylinder engines can also be paired to an eight-speed automatic with Launch Control. The three-cylinder engine however, comes with the familiar six-speed automatic torque converter. The sprint time from 0 to 100 km/h is 9.1 seconds for the Cooper, 7.2 seconds (7.1 auto) for the Cooper S, and 8.6 seconds (8.5 auto) for the Cooper D, while the top speed is 205 km/h, 228 km/h, and 212 km/h respectively.
All five occupants get their own three-point seatbelts, and six airbags are fitted as standard. The camera-based Driving Assistant is available as an option, and it features high beam assistant, road sign detection, and active cruise control with auto braking.
Since it’s a MINI, the Clubman is offered with the long list of MINI customisation options. Inside, options such as the MINI Yours Interior Styles and the MINI Excitement Package allow buyers to choose various trims, seats, and steering design, while the outside can be specified with various designs for the mirror caps and the side scuttles, as well as several rim designs and sizes.
In the UK, the new Clubman is slated for launch this autumn and it is priced from £19,995 (RM118k est).