BEHIND THE WHEEL: Mini Cooper S Clubman

MONDAY JANUARY 2, 2017

Like its hatch sibling, the Clubman’s front end looks retarded in pictures. You can be on your toes or squatting to get the perfect shot but it will still look dim-witted with those eyes and pouting snout. Some would even come to say it looks like Jabba the Hutt from behind. Luckily on the inside, things look a lot nicer. It feels that way too with it's welcoming burgundy interior, spacious even. Back seats aren't bad either although a little upright since this Mini has got a larger dimension than a VW Golf.

 

With a price tag that’s close to its hatch equivalent, it seems like you’re getting a lot for your money. For a few thousand more, you only lose navigation and fancy speakers for hell a lot more space, have I mentioned the welcoming burgundy interior? This shade of red instead of the usual black is such a breath of fresh air.

PRO

Amount of fun

Space and practicality

CON

Driving dynamics

Lack Customisation

SPECIFICATION

2-litre inline-4

192hp 280Nm

8-speed Aisin

0-100 km/h: 7.1s

Top speed: 228 km/h

RM 253,888

clubman cooper s

What’s immediate behind the wheel is that it feels easy to pilot where your car control expertise isn’t immediately put to the test. This 2-litre motor is a good one where it still feels muscular after the century mark. Sounds refined too. Comfortable front seats. Ride quality’s compliant, especially so for the Mini brand. And there’s more good to it. Blacked out wheels come as standard. Comical exhaust on sport mode. Plus the rear door open like a refrigerator from yesteryear.

clubman door

The Clubman isn't far off cars we are accustomed to. Furthermore, it has got the least of Mini’s quirks that I secretly adore. Steering’s meaty in normal mode, a touch heavy for normal driving. Foot down in the bends or damp surface will grant you more than expected amount of torque steer. Go kart handling or what not, the Clubman goes into understeer much too soon. The ZF box shifts smoothly when it is left to its own devices. It is when you start to take charge, things turn sour. There is just a disconnection between the paddles and the gearbox. It especially hates downshifting.

mini clubman interior

After my time with Jabba.. I mean the Clubman, I don’t really know what to feel or got to better know who’s it for. Indifferent and special it may be but does it make the person behind the wheel feel the part? No, it doesn't. Nonetheless, it is an interesting alternative to the Golf GTI but it is also more expensive and embarrassingly slower. Whatever the reason might be, if you are into a 5-door Mini with actual space that’s not a Countryman, this is one for you.

mini clubman back
cooper clubman
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