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    Revealed: 2016 MINI Clubman Is All About The Doors, Bout That Doors


    • Meet the Largest MINI Yet, The 2016 MINI Clubman


    Let us present what is possibly the biggest oxymoron in the automotive world. Today, MINI has announced the 2016 Clubman. MINI says the new Clubman is "longer and wider than any other MINI". They aren't kidding. The new Clubman is about 10.9 inches longer than the standard Hardtop, 2.9 inches wider, and rides on a wheelbase that is 4 inches longer. The added size allows MINI fit actual rear doors. The spilt opening tailgate remains, offering a cargo space of 17.5 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 47.9 cubic feet with the seats down.

     

    For North America, the Clubman will come with two engines. The base Clubman Cooper will have a turbocharged 1.5L three-cylinder with 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. The Clubman Cooper S gets a turbocharged 2.0L four with 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet. Both can be paired with a six-speed manual or automatic - six speeds for the Cooper, eight for the Cooper S.

     

    The MINI Clubman arrives at dealers early next year.

     

     

    Source: MINI

     

    Press Release is on Page 2


     

    RIPE FOR FRESH CONQUESTS: THE NEW MINI CLUBMAN

     

    Woodcliff Lake, NJ, June 24, 2015. The new generation of the MINI model family continues to grow. With the new MINI Clubman it now conquers the premium compact segment, too. The new model offers the highest level of everyday practicality, long distance suitability, versatility and ride comfort ever seen in a MINI. With four doors and the characteristic split doors at the rear, five fully-fledged seats and a generously sized, versatile interior, the new MINI Clubman meets all the requirements of the compact class in terms of functionality in its own unconventional way. Individual style, outstanding driving fun and the quality level of a premium automobile make it an exceptional phenomenon that allows additional target groups to get a taste of the distinctive MINI feeling.

     

    The matured character of the new MINI Clubman is reflected in dimensions that are significantly larger than the predecessor model, a distinctive body concept, high-quality materials and finish quality and also new features in the areas of drive, suspension comfort, safety, controls and connectivity based on the latest MINI generation. Its status as the largest representative of the new MINI generation is also clearly shown in comparison with the MINI Hardtop 4 Door. The new MINI Clubman is 10.9 inches longer and 2.9 inches wider than the latter, and its wheelbase is 4 inches larger. Its luggage compartment has a volume of 17.5 ft3, which can be extended to as much as 47.9 ft3 by folding down the rear backrest.

     

    Engines with the latest generation of MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology power the two engine variants of the new MINI Clubman available at market launch. In addition to the new MINI Cooper Clubman with a 134 bhp 3-cylinder petrol engine, the new MINI Cooper S Clubman also lines up for the start with a 4-cylinder petrol engine and 189 bhp. Another new feature for MINI: the 8-speed Steptronic transmission available as an option for the MINI Cooper S Clubman. For handling properties that are supreme within the segment, all suspension components in the new MINI Clubman were also specially developed and harmonised to suit the model.

     

    The new MINI Clubman also offers numerous features that appear in an automobile of the brand for the first time for increased driving fun, comfort and safety. These include the electric parking brake, the electrical seat adjustment function available as a special equipment feature and the option MINI Yours Interior Styles with backlit door bezels. The MINI Excitement Package comprises LED interior and ambient lighting as well as a projection of the MINI logo onto the ground from the exterior mirror on the driver's side when the car is opened and closed. Another new feature that is unique within the competitive field is the Comfort Access option including non-contact opening of the split doors at the rear. Other options available for the new MINI Clubman include LED headlamps, the MINI Driving Modes and Dynamic Damper Control.

     

    The program of optional driver assistance systems includes the Head-Up Display which extends above the steering column, the Driving Assistant system including 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. The complete MINI Connected in-car infotainment program is also available. In intelligent, brand-appropriate style, the MINI Connected XL Journey Mate helps the driver plan journeys as well as providing individualised information in route to the destination as required. Numerous other social network and infotainment functions can be integrated in the car by means of smartphone apps, allowing them to be used intuitively, conveniently and safely via the MINI operating system.

     

    Exterior design: distinctive proportions, typical brand features, innovative details.
    The new MINI Clubman introduces a contemporary interpretation of the tradition-steeped estate concept. This genre of vehicle – especially popular in the country in which MINI originated, the UK – combines sporty style with functionality and is reflected in design by means of a stretched silhouette, a long roof line and a steep rear.
    These features of the new MINI Clubman not only provide a link with its direct predecessor. A body variant of the classic Mini geared towards extended transport capacity was presented as long ago as 55 years. The structurally identical models Morris Mini Traveller and Austin Seven Countryman were 9.8 inches longer than their original counterpart, with a wheelbase that was extended by 3.9 inches. Another parallel with the latest new contemporary addition to the MINI family were the split doors at the rear, consisting of two side-opening wings. These help give the new MINI Clubman its unique status within the competitive field as a six-door model, emphasising its outstanding versatility in typical brand style.
    For the first time, the new MINI Clubman combines the characteristic brand interpretation of this concept with the functional qualities of a modern automobile in the compact segment. With a length of 168.3 inches, a width of 70.9 inches and a height of 56.7 inches, it has distinctive proportions that make it unique within both the brand's model program and the compact segment as a whole. The wheelbase measures 105.1 inches, while the track width is 61.6 inches at the front and rear. These dimensions provide the ideal basis for a stylish, individual and exclusive appearance, agile driving properties and – thanks to clever space utilisation in typical MINI style – a roomy interior as well.
    Classic design features and the emotionally appealing styling indicate the kinship of the new MINI Clubman as part of the brand's model family while at the same time setting it clearly apart from its competitors. Circular headlamps with chrome surrounds, the hexagonal contours of the radiator grill and the vigorously arched power dome of the engine compartment lid define the front view in characteristic MINI style. The lower air inlet is particularly wide, thereby highlighting the car's solid stature. The bumper trim, also serving as a number plate carrier, is finished in high-gloss black. In the MINI Cooper Clubman model, the section of the radiator grill above this is subdivided by three black ribs. The radiator grill of the MINI Cooper S Clubman has a chrome rib bearing a red "S" logo with a chrome surround. What is more, this engine variant can be recognised by the distinctive shaping of its front apron including a trim strip in high-gloss black and an additional opening in the engine compartment lid.
    For optimum visibility: LED headlamps, adaptive light distribution, optional LED fog light.
    Arch-shaped turn indicators are positioned in the lower section of the headlamps. In the standard version, both the daytime driving light and the parking light are generated by the additional lighting units integrated in the front apron. The optional fog lamps are also positioned here. LED headlamps are also available as a special equipment feature. Their LED units emit bright, white light for both low and high beam. They are surrounded by an LED daylight driving ring, the lower section of which reaches down to the white turn indicators. In conjunction with the LED headlamps, the rear light clusters also come as LED units.
    Another option is that of LED headlamps with additional functions, ensuring optimum illumination of the road surface and roadside – depending on the situation and route profile – and also including an LED turning light. The optional fog lamps are also available in halogen, or else in LED technology in conjunction with LED headlights.
    New MINI features: Air Curtains and Air Breathers optimise air ducting.
    The aerodynamic properties of the new MINI Clubman are optimized by means of precisely conceived air ducting elements which are now applied to a model of the British brand for the first time. The so-called Air Curtains consist of narrow, vertically arranged openings in the outer sections of the lower air inlet. From here, air is selectively channelled around the wheel arches. It flows along the wheels with much reduced turbulence, escaping once again through Air Breathers in the rear section of the side panels. A model-specific roof spoiler also helps reduce aerodynamic drag.

     

    The bottom edge of the body features black surrounds in the new MINI Clubman. A new design has also been created for the side scuttles – the elements which embellish the front side panels along with the side turn indicators. In the MINI Cooper Clubman model these are finished in matt and high-gloss black, while in the MINI Cooper S Clubman they are finished in chrome and bear an "S" logo.

     

    In addition to the three-part structure of the body, window graphic and roof as is typical of the brand, the silhouette of the new MINI Clubman also exhibits a surface design of supreme elegance in the area of the wheel arches and doors that is specific to this model. The length of the roof line and wheelbase is emphasised by generous surface expanses that are given additional precision and presence by means of finely modelled edges. The powerful shaping of the shoulder contour in the area of the rear doors and wheel arches creates a dynamic, elegant curve that highlights the breadth and stable stature of the new MINI Clubman.

     

    Split doors and rear lights in novel design.
    The split doors with their striking metal surround are the most striking feature at the rear of the new MINI Clubman. The central bar between the glass sections of the two side-opening wings is significantly narrower than in the predecessor model, thereby optimizing the view to the rear. The split doors are opened by means of a dual-section door handle finished in chrome. Non-contact opening of the split doors is possible in combination with the optional Comfort Access function. If the driver has the car key on them, it is sufficient to make a foot movement under the rear apron to trigger automatic opening.
    The likewise newly designed, horizontally oriented rear lights are integrated in the wing doors and have chrome surrounds. Additional lights arranged below the doors perform a signalling function when the split doors are open. The impression of a body that rests powerfully on its wheels is emphasised from this perspective, too, with a contour edge in the rear apron as well as the downward increase in width at the rear that is typical of MINI. The MINI Cooper S Clubman has an aerodynamically optimised bumper including diffuser element and two exhaust tailpipes that are set wide apart.
    Four non-metallic and eight metallic paint finishes are available for the body of the MINI Clubman at market launch. The program also includes Melting Silver metallic and Pure Burgundy metallic for the first time, as well as the MINI Yours paint finish Lapisluxury Blue. The roof and exterior mirror caps can be finished in a contrasting color ­– white, silver and black – as an option and at no extra cost. Individual accents include white or black bonnet stripes and Chrome Line for the exterior.
    Interior: generous space, new design.
    Five fully-fledged seats, convenient access, plenty of freedom to move for all occupants and a versatile luggage compartment are the salient features of the MINI Clubman as it advances into the premium compact segment. The generous space and comprehensive redesign of the interior ensure that the driving fun so characteristic of the brand can be enjoyed in a unique ambience. A clear signal of the more sophisticated character of the MINI Clubman is its exceptionally wide instrument panel with cockpit facia frame. This design feature is also echoed in the door trim panels and center console. Below the air outlets there is a horizontal decorative strip which lends additional emphasis to the width of the interior.

     

    The central instrument typical of the brand is integrated in the instrument panel of the new MINI Clubman in especially harmonious style. Fitted with a standard 6.5-inch or optional 8.8-inch color screen, depending on equipment features, it serves as a display for vehicle, infotainment, phone and navigation functions and has an LED ring surround which can optionally respond to the current situation on the road and to specific operating procedures by means of an interactive lighting display. The selection and control of all functions is facilitated by a Controller in the center console which comes in conjunction with the Radio MINI Visual Boost, the MINI navigation system or the MINI navigation system Professional.

     

    In this specific model, the controls for heating and air conditioning are also located below the central instrument, as are the toggle switches. A red toggle switch also serves as the start/stop button for the engine in the new MINI Clubman. The USB socket, AUX-IN socket and a storage compartment are located one level lower down. Extending up to the instrument panel for the first time in a MINI, the center console offers space for a storage compartment and two cup holders in front of the gear or selector lever. The optional MINI Controller and the switch for the electrical parking brake are also positioned on the center console. It can be optionally expanded to include a center armrest with integrated telephone compartment. The speedometer and engine speed display are located in the instrument cluster on the steering column as in the new MINI Hardtop 2 Door and the new MINI Hardtop 4 Door.

     

    The elliptically shaped surrounds in the door panelling frame the speakers and door openers. The decorative strips of the door trim also follow a gently curved contour back to the rear. This creates a visual connection between the two rows of seats that emphasises the generous space of the interior.

     

    New options: atmospheric lighting, electrically adjustable seats.
    With the new MINI Yours Interior Styles option, this striking door trim design is highlighted by means of indirectly illuminated decorative strips. They are combined with interior trim finishers available in various types. The optional lighting package with LED interior and ambient lighting also creates an atmospheric ambience. In conjunction with the special equipment feature MINI Excitement Package, this offers continuously variable color changes and has also been extended to include a light display that is activated when opening and closing the car. On activation of the remote key, the MINI logo is projected onto the ground for 20 seconds from an additional light source in the exterior mirror on the driver's side.
    Another new option is the electrical adjustment of the driver and front passenger seats, including memory function on the driver's side. For the first time, seat height, longitudinal position, seat surface angle, backrest angle and lumbar setting can be adjusted at the press of a button. A wide range of individualization options are available with the model-specific selection of upholstery colors, interior surfaces and the optional Chrome Line for the interior. As an alternative to the standard fabric, the seat surfaces are also available in fabric/leather combinations and leather finishes with various seam patterns. The MINI Cooper S Clubman is fitted with sports seats as standard, and these are available as optional extras for the other models. Alternatively there are also John Cooper Works sports seats.
    In addition to the typical MINI seats with the tube-like visual structure, the new Chester pattern is also offered in Indigo Blue with diagonal stitching and piping in Pure Burgundy.
    The functional character and long-distance suitability of the new MINI Clubman is enhanced by its many storage facilities, a large glove compartment, storage compartments in the split doors and door pockets which can hold one-litre drink bottles. When all five seats are in use, the luggage compartment has a volume of 17.5 ft3. For bulkier transport, the rear backrest with a 60 : 40 split can be folded down. A 40 : 20 : 40 split is optionally available and as is a tilt adjustment function for the rear backrest. This enables the load volume to be increased in stages as required up to as much as 47.9 ft3. A storage package is also available comprising elements such as a variable load compartment floor, additional storage compartments, lashing eyes and attachment nets.

     

    Powerful engines with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology.
    For the launch of the new MINI Clubman there are two engines of the latest generation to choose from with three and four cylinders respectively as well as MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology. Both the Cooper and Cooper S vehicles are classified as SULEV (super ultra-low emissions vehicles).
    The technology package of the petrol engines comprises turbocharging, petrol direct injection with centrally placed injectors, fully variable valve control in the form of VALVETRONIC as patented by the BMW Group and variable camshaft control on the intake and exhaust side (double VANOS). This combination gives the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine of the MINI Cooper S Clubman particularly sporty performance figures. It mobilizes a peak output of 189 bhp and a maximum torque of 207 ft lbs that goes on stream at just 1,250 rpm.
    The new MINI Cooper S Clubman sprints in 7 seconds (automatic: 6.9 seconds) from 0 to 60 mph, reaching a top speed of 142 mph.
    Spirited power delivery is also characteristic of the 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine in the MINI Cooper Clubman. With a peak output of 134 bhp and a maximum torque of 162 ft lbs at 1,250 rpm, this engine also ensures sporting performance figures. 8.9 seconds is all that is required with both manual transmission and Steptronic for acceleration from 0 to 60 mph, and the top speed is 127 mph in each case.
    A MINI premiere: 8-speed Steptronic transmission
    The 4-cylinder engines in the models MINI Cooper S Clubman can be optionally combined with an 8-speed Steptronic transmission. This automatic transmission type is available in a MINI for the first time, providing an even more favourable basis for efficient, comfortable and sporty driving due to a broader gear spread and smaller engine speed steps. Another option for the new MINI Cooper S Clubman is an 8-speed Steptronic sports transmission offering even shorter shift times that can be operated in manual mode by means of shift paddles at the steering wheel. It also has a Launch Control function for traction-optimised acceleration with maximum dynamic performance from standing.

     

    For the new MINI Cooper Clubman, an optional 6-speed Steptronic transmission of the latest generation is available which demonstrates increased efficiency and a high level of shift comfort, as well as shift dynamics optimized for sporty driving. It offers both automatic and manual changes in drive position using the gear selector switch. All automatic variants have a transmission control system that is able to draw on navigation data for the purpose of gear and shift point selection. This means that in cars fitted with a navigation system, shift control is based on the route profile. In this way, the appropriate drive position is selected to match the imminent situation on the road ahead, e.g. directly prior to junctions or on corners. This obviates the need for upshifts between two bends in quick succession.

     

    All variants of the new MINI Clubman are fitted as standard with a 6-speed transmission of the latest generation, characterised by low weight, a high level of internal efficiency and shift comfort optimised by means of carbon fibre friction linings for the synchroniser rings. A gear sensor also enables active engine speed adaptation for especially sporty shifting when accelerating and increased comfort when shifting down.

     

    In addition to the auto start/stop function that can also be used in conjunction with an automatic transmission and extensive measures to optimise weight and aerodynamic drag, the MINIMALISM Technology fitted as standard in all of the new MINI Clubman models also features a shift point display, brake energy regeneration, active cooling air flaps and needs-oriented control of the fuel and coolant pump as well as other ancillary components. The electromechanical power steering operates energy-efficiently, as do the map-controlled oil pumps in all engines.

     

    MINI Driving Modes: sporty flair and efficiency at the turn of a switch.
    The optional MINI Driving Modes are activated by means of a rotary switch at the base of the gear or selector lever. In addition to the standard MID mode there is a choice of SPORT and GREEN mode. In SPORT mode, the accelerator pedal characteristic curve and steering are switched to a sporty set-up, as are the shift times in cars fitted with Steptronic transmission. In GREEN mode, a more relaxed and also more fuel-efficient driving style is supported by intelligent control of energy and climate management as well as by means of systems such as shift point display. In cars fitted with Steptronic transmission it is also possible to use the coasting function. The drivetrain is decoupled at speeds above 30 mph as soon as the driver's foot is removed from the accelerator pedal. The new MINI Clubman then rolls at idling engine speed with a minimum rate of fuel consumption.
    A new dimension of go-kart feeling: characteristic MINI suspension technology with completely newly developed components.
    The large track width and long wheelbase of the MINI Clubman benefit the model-specific design of the suspension. What is more, new development of all front axle parts has resulted in optimisation of kinematics and component stiffness. The car's weight has been reduced by the use of aluminium swivel bearings as well as front axle supports and wishbones in highly rigid steel. The particularly stiff wheel suspension on the rear axle also enhances the agile handling properties of the MINI Clubman. In addition, spatial economy is achieved by the separate arrangement of springs and dampers, impacting positively on the room available at the rear and in the luggage compartment.

     

    Thanks to the brand's typical combination of single joint strut axle at the front with a multilink rear axle and the model-specific interpretation of this structure, the new MINI Clubman has suspension technology that is unusually sophisticated for the compact segment, too. In conjunction with the power transmission to the front wheels and the low center of gravity, this construction principle provides the perfect basis for the agile handling known as the go-kart feeling. Electromechanical power steering including speed-related steering assistance as standard also contributes to the car's precise driving properties.

     

    The dampers are decoupled at the front and rear axle by means of triple-path support bearings. The new MINI Clubman can be optionally fitted with Dynamic Damper Control. Two characteristic lines are available for damper set-up, allowing activation of either a more comfort-oriented response or a direct, sporty response to road bumps, depending on the given situation. The compression and rebound stage are adjusted by means of electrical control of the EDC valves.

     

    In addition to the anti-lock system ABS, electronic brake force distribution EBD, Cornering Brake Control (CBC) and the brake assistant, the standard driving stability control system DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) also includes a drive-off assistant, a brake dry function, Fading Brake Support and DTC mode (Dynamic Traction Control), which permits controlled slip so as to facilitate driving off on loose sand or deep snow. When the driving stability system is deactivated (DSC Off mode), there is an electronic locking function for the front axle differential known as the Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC) which selectively and appropriately brakes a spinning drive wheel on tight corners, redirecting the drive torque to the other wheel. A standard feature in the MINI Cooper S Clubman, Performance Control supports agile steering for dynamic cornering prior to reaching the threshold level.
    The MINI Cooper Clubman model is fitted as standard with 16-inch light alloy wheels. The new MINI Cooper S Clubman is fitted with 17-inch light alloy wheels as standard. The range of special equipment features additional light alloy wheels sized 17 to 19 inches.
    Low weight, stable passenger cell, comprehensive safety features.
    In the new MINI Clubman, too, intelligent lightweight construction ensures maximum safety, agility and acoustic comfort by means of a torsionally stiff, rigid but also weight-optimized body structure. Highly resilient load-bearing structures, deformation zones in optimum design and an extremely stable passenger cell provide an excellent basis for keeping impact energy away from passengers and ensuring maximum occupant protection.

     

    The integrated MINI safety concept also includes a standard fitting of six airbags, three-point automatic belts on all seats including belt tensioners and adaptive belt force limiters at the front and ISOFIX children's seat attachments at the rear tire pressure display for each individual wheel is also included as standard.

     

    The full range of driver assistance systems.
    The driver assistance systems optionally available for the MINI Clubman enable selective optimisation of comfort, driving fun and safety. They include Park Distance Control with sensors at front and rear, a rear view camera, the Parking Assistant which helps the driver select and use parking spaces parallel to the road, and a cruise control with brake function.
    The Driving Assistant option comprises a camera-based cruise control and distance control function that automatically maintains a distance from the vehicle ahead, as well as the collision and pedestrian warning system with initial brake function. In critical situations, the driver is initially warned by means of visual and acoustic signals. In addition to this, an automatic brake manoeuvre is triggered in the case of an imminent collision if there is a risk of a rear-on collision in urban traffic. Other components of the Driving Assistant include road sign detection for speed limits and the high beam assistant.

     

    The likewise optional MINI Head-Up-Display promotes concentration on the road in that it projects driving-related information onto an extendible display in the upper area of the instrument panel between the windscreen and steering wheel. Here it can be read quickly and conveniently without the driver having to avert their eyes from the road. The information that can be shown includes speed in figures, navigation directions in the form of arrow graphics and junction sketches, visual signals for collision warning, display symbols generated by Speed Limit Info, and Check Control messages and entertainment program details such as radio channels and track titles.

     

    For individual premium character and additional driving fun: high-end fittings, the current MINI Connected range.
    The standard trim of the new MINI Clubman includes such features as electrically adjustable exterior mirrors, dual zone automatic climate control, a rain sensor with automatic headlights, and a 6.5 inch display with MINI Connected and AUX-IN socket and USB interface, as well as Bluetooth connectivity for phone and streaming audio. A wide range of high-end options in the areas of comfort, functionality and individuality are available to allow drivers to match the car precisely to their own personal style. In addition to seat heating for driver and front passenger, there is also a panorama glass roof with a glass surface measuring 47.2 inches in length. Customers can upgrade from a standard sports leather steering wheel to a optional MINI Yours sports leather steering wheel or a John Cooper Works leather steering wheel. The options program also includes roof rails, electrically heated and foldable exterior mirrors and the twelve-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.
    The standard MINI Connected infotainment system offers extensive integration of smartphones in the car, allowing the use of internet-based services in the areas of infotainment, communication and driver experience. Numerous social media and infotainment functions for integration in the car via apps are available for both the Apple iPhone and for select Android smartphones. Operation is intuitive and reflects hallmark brand style in using the MINI Controller in the center console as well as a color display in the central instrument. The optional Wired Package includes an 8.8-inch version of the on-board computer and the MINI Touch Controller with touch-sensitive surface.
    The new MINI Clubman: an innovative concept with traditional roots.
    Offering driving fun typical of the brand, innovative technology and a maximum level of comfort and versatility, the new MINI Clubman brings the qualities of the latest model generation to an additional vehicle segment. In so doing, it draws on a principle that has defined the history of the brand and was first put into practice 55 years ago. Just one year after its debut, an additional body type was produced for the classic Mini so as to conquer new target groups, applying new techniques of creative space utilisation. Measuring 25 centimetres more in exterior length and with a wheelbase enlarged by 10 centimetres, the identically structured models Morris Mini Traveller and Austin Seven Countryman offered significantly enlarged space for passengers and luggage. As suggested by the model designations, both were designed for country outings and holiday trips with the family. Due to their still very compact exterior dimensions and customary agile handling properties, however, they continued to provide the driving experience that was typical of the classic Mini.
    The two models underscored their talents as a stylish means of transport not least by means of a luggage compartment opening at the rear that consisted of two wing doors. With each one opening at an angle of more than 90 degrees, the split doors facilitated loading of the car in tight parking spaces. This distinctive body feature contributes to optimised functionality in the new MINI Clubman, too. What is more, the split doors help make the new MINI Clubman an individual character within its segment – a modern interpretation of the tradition-steeped vehicle concept of the shooting brake, as is especially popular in the country in which MINI originated, the UK.
    The model designation Clubman first appeared in the classic Mini program in the year 1969. The original classic Mini model was still available and the newly developed car that bore the name of Clubman was positioned above it within the brand family. With a clear and sturdy-looking body design and a front section that now sported a broad radiator grille, it was offered as the Mini Clubman Estate from the outset. Again with split doors and extended transport capacity, this body variant replaced the models Morris Mini Traveller and Austin Seven Countryman, of which more than 200 000 had been already been sold by this time.
    As compared to its predecessors, the Mini Clubman Estate had grown by another 3.9 inches to an exterior length 11.2 feet. Modern functionality in the interior was provided in the form of new circular instruments: these replaced the speedometer positioned centrally in the dashboard and were now placed behind the steering wheel – directly in the driver's line of sight. The basic concept remained, consisting of short overhangs and widely set wheels, front-wheel drive and a transversely installed 4-cylinder engine at the front, while the output was increased from 34 to 39 hp. The Mini Clubman Estate remained in the program until 1982, and a total of 197,606 of this compact all-rounder were manufactured during this period.

     

    55 years of success: individualists with a sense of versatility.
    After the relaunch of the brand, too, there was soon a need for extended transport capacity and expanded variety in the model program. As the first premium model in the small car segment, the MINI offered terrific driving fun which many fans were keen to enjoy on long-distance trips, too. The MINI Clubman presented in 2007 responded to a desire for space to accommodate more passengers and luggage as well as to expectations of a 21st century automobile in terms of comfort, safety and efficiency. It took the shooting brake concept in MINI style to a whole new dimension – not just in terms of technology. The MINI Clubman surpassed its predecessor and namesake from the era of the classic Mini by more than half a meter with an exterior length of 3,945 millimeters.
    Within the MINI model program, the new addition took on the role of the extrovert individualist with a marked sense of versatility. Its unusual design – with distinctions that include a red dot award and an IF Product Design Award – combined the characteristic brand styling with distinctive proportions, the longest roof line ever seen in a MINI, a steep rear and a fresh and very striking interpretation of the legendary split doors.
    Behind the two rear doors, a luggage compartment was revealed that could be expanded to a volume of 32.8 ft3 by folding down the rear backrest. And that was not all: on the right-hand side the MINI Clubman featured an additional door that provided increased functionality in unconventional style. The rear-hinged so-called Clubdoor gave rear passengers a particularly convenient entrance and exit – stylish, unique and perfectly suited to the car's generous leg room, which had increased by eight centimetres as compared to the three-door MINI. The MINI Clubman was also available with three rear seats on request.
    The new model opened up a whole new range of ways to enrich everyday life and leisure with driving fun typical of the brand. Its unique blend of contemporary utility value, individual charisma and traditional roots took it to worldwide popularity, reflected in a total sales figure of 204,669 units up until the end of its production period. Now the latest interpretation of the shooting brake in characteristic MINI style is lined up at the start. Further matured and having grown out of the small car segment of its predecessor, the new MINI Clubman sets out to conquer additional target groups with progressive technology, clever functionality and individual style.

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    From the front it looks like some sort of bug-eyed alien, but from the side it has a certain charm about it.

     

    I've never really been a fan of modern Mini's but this one has got some charm going for it, I'll give it that.

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    • By William Maley
      When I go back and look at the various Kia Optimas I have driven for Cheers & Gears, there has been one variant that I haven’t driven, the 2.0L turbo-four. But this changed back over the summer when a 2016 Kia Optima SXL came into the Cheers & Gears’ Detroit bureau for a week-long evaluation. The SXL serves as the Optima’s flagship trim with more premium materials and the turbo-four.
      As I mentioned in my Optima EX review from earlier this year, the redesigned Optima looks familiar to the previous model. But that isn’t a bad thing per say. It is still as sharp looking as the previous model and the changes done such as a new trunk lid, LED taillights, a smaller grille, and reshaped headlights. The SXL takes it a step further with a set of 18-inch alloy wheels, Turbo badging on the fender vents, and a little bit more chrome. Finished in a dark blue, the Optima SXL is damn good looking midsize sedan. You won’t find many differences in the SXL’s interior compared to other Optima’s. The key one is the seats being wrapped Nappa leather with a quilted pattern. If I am being honest, I can’t really tell difference between the Nappa leather and the standard leather used on other Kia models.  But what I can tell the difference with is the materials used in the SXL’s interior. Kia swaps the soft-touch plastic used on the dash and door panels for stitched leatherette. This is to give the impression that you’re in something more expensive and it works very well. The Optima SXL’s backseat is slightly tighter than the one found in the Optima EX. Why? The SXL comes with a panoramic sunroof as standard, which eats into headroom. Let’s talk about the engine. The SXL features a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder with 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. Leaving a stop, it takes a moment for the engine to fully wake up and you can’t help but wonder where is the power. At first, I thought this new 2.0L developed a bad case of turbo-lag. But I soon realized that it was a lazy throttle that was causing this issue. This is something we have been noticing in recent Hyundai and Kia models equipped with the turbo engine. Once you get over the lazy throttle, the engine moves the Optima with some authority. Merging onto a freeway or making a pass is no problem as the turbo quickly spools up and gives the necessary thrust. It doesn’t hurt the engine is very refined. EPA fuel economy figures stand at 22 City/32 Highway/25 Combined. I achieved a not too shabby 26.1 mpg average for the week. One of my biggest complaints about the last Optima I drove was the uncomfortable ride. The tuning on the EX model let in more bumps and road imperfections inside than what I was expecting. To my surprise, the SXL featured a more comfortable ride. Despite featuring larger wheels, the SXL was able to iron out most bumps and imperfections. I can’t explain why there is a vast difference in terms of ride quality between the two trims at this time. The SXL does retain the sharp handling that we liked in the Optima EX. Body motions are kept in check and the steering provides a nice heft when turning. Some will lament that the steering doesn’t have the same feel as something like the Mazda6, but this has to be Kia’s best effort yet.  The Optima SXL begins at $35,790 and that includes every option available on the Optima as standard equipment - 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, a Harman/Kardon audio system, navigation, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, surround view camera system, and much more. Some might balk at the price. But considering what the SXL brings to the table, along with its improved ride quality, it is very much worth the price. Plus, you might be able to work out a deal to where you’ll be able to cut the price. We’ve seen dealers cutting about $2,000 to $4,000 off Optima SXLs in an effort improve sales of the midsize sedan. Who knows, you might be able to get one of best equipped and decent driving midsize sedans at a surprising price. Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Optima SXL, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Kia
      Model: Optima
      Trim: SXL
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 245 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 1,350-4,000 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/32/25
      Curb Weight: 3,594 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: West Point, Georgia
      Base Price: $35,790
      As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $825.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      N/A

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      When I go back and look at the various Kia Optimas I have driven for Cheers & Gears, there has been one variant that I haven’t driven, the 2.0L turbo-four. But this changed back over the summer when a 2016 Kia Optima SXL came into the Cheers & Gears’ Detroit bureau for a week-long evaluation. The SXL serves as the Optima’s flagship trim with more premium materials and the turbo-four.
      As I mentioned in my Optima EX review from earlier this year, the redesigned Optima looks familiar to the previous model. But that isn’t a bad thing per say. It is still as sharp looking as the previous model and the changes done such as a new trunk lid, LED taillights, a smaller grille, and reshaped headlights. The SXL takes it a step further with a set of 18-inch alloy wheels, Turbo badging on the fender vents, and a little bit more chrome. Finished in a dark blue, the Optima SXL is damn good looking midsize sedan. You won’t find many differences in the SXL’s interior compared to other Optima’s. The key one is the seats being wrapped Nappa leather with a quilted pattern. If I am being honest, I can’t really tell difference between the Nappa leather and the standard leather used on other Kia models.  But what I can tell the difference with is the materials used in the SXL’s interior. Kia swaps the soft-touch plastic used on the dash and door panels for stitched leatherette. This is to give the impression that you’re in something more expensive and it works very well. The Optima SXL’s backseat is slightly tighter than the one found in the Optima EX. Why? The SXL comes with a panoramic sunroof as standard, which eats into headroom. Let’s talk about the engine. The SXL features a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder with 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. Leaving a stop, it takes a moment for the engine to fully wake up and you can’t help but wonder where is the power. At first, I thought this new 2.0L developed a bad case of turbo-lag. But I soon realized that it was a lazy throttle that was causing this issue. This is something we have been noticing in recent Hyundai and Kia models equipped with the turbo engine. Once you get over the lazy throttle, the engine moves the Optima with some authority. Merging onto a freeway or making a pass is no problem as the turbo quickly spools up and gives the necessary thrust. It doesn’t hurt the engine is very refined. EPA fuel economy figures stand at 22 City/32 Highway/25 Combined. I achieved a not too shabby 26.1 mpg average for the week. One of my biggest complaints about the last Optima I drove was the uncomfortable ride. The tuning on the EX model let in more bumps and road imperfections inside than what I was expecting. To my surprise, the SXL featured a more comfortable ride. Despite featuring larger wheels, the SXL was able to iron out most bumps and imperfections. I can’t explain why there is a vast difference in terms of ride quality between the two trims at this time. The SXL does retain the sharp handling that we liked in the Optima EX. Body motions are kept in check and the steering provides a nice heft when turning. Some will lament that the steering doesn’t have the same feel as something like the Mazda6, but this has to be Kia’s best effort yet.  The Optima SXL begins at $35,790 and that includes every option available on the Optima as standard equipment - 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, a Harman/Kardon audio system, navigation, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, surround view camera system, and much more. Some might balk at the price. But considering what the SXL brings to the table, along with its improved ride quality, it is very much worth the price. Plus, you might be able to work out a deal to where you’ll be able to cut the price. We’ve seen dealers cutting about $2,000 to $4,000 off Optima SXLs in an effort improve sales of the midsize sedan. Who knows, you might be able to get one of best equipped and decent driving midsize sedans at a surprising price. Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Optima SXL, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Kia
      Model: Optima
      Trim: SXL
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 245 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 1,350-4,000 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/32/25
      Curb Weight: 3,594 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: West Point, Georgia
      Base Price: $35,790
      As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $825.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      N/A
    • By William Maley
      Most luxury SUVs will never go fully off-road. The closest they’ll ever get is driving down a gravel road. But that doesn’t mean some automakers aren’t filling them with the latest off-road for that one person who decides to. Case in point is the LX 570. Lexus’ variant of the Toyota Land Cruiser has been updated inside and out to try and draw buyers away from the usual suspects in the class.
      For 2016, Lexus has softened the LX’s boxy-shape with some rounded edges and more imposing fenders. The front grille has grown in size to match other Lexus vehicles, though to our eyes it looks more like the head from a Cylon in the 1980’s Battlestar Galactica tv show. The rear features new taillights and a reshaped tailgate. The interior has somehow become more opulent since the last LX we drove. A new dash design features real wood trim and more soft-touch materials. Our tester featured leather upholstery that can be described as red-orange. At first, I thought it was a bit much. But over the week I grew to like the color as it adds some personality. Sitting in either the front or second-row seats of the LX is a pleasant experience. There is plenty of head and legroom for both rows, along with heat. Front seats also get ventilation as standard. The third-row seat is a bit of joke. Getting back there in the first place is quite difficult due to the small gap when you move the second-row forward. Once back there, you find legroom is almost negligible. Finally, the way the third row folds up by side walls and not into the floor hampers cargo space - only offering 41 cubic feet. Lexus’ Remote Touch interface has arrived in the LX this year with a gargantuan 12.3-inch screen sitting on top of the dash. On the plus side, the screen is vibrant and easy to read. The negative is the remote touch controller as you’ll find yourself choosing the wrong function because the controller is very sensitive to inputs. Power comes from 5.7L V8 with 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic and full-time four-wheel drive system. On paper, the V8 should move the LX 570 with no issue. But a curb weight of 6,000 pounds negates this. Performance can be described as ho-hum as it takes a few ticks longer to get up to speed. At least the eight-speed automatic transmission is a smooth operator and quick to respond when you stab the throttle. The LX 570 is chock full of clever off-road tech such as crawl control, hill start assist, 360-degree camera system, and multi-terrain select system that optimizes various parts of the powertrain and four-wheel drive system. Sadly, we didn’t get the chance to put any of these to the test. No matter the condition of the road, the LX 570 provides a smooth and relaxing ride. Impressive when you consider the LX is riding on a set of 21-inch wheels. Road and wind noise are kept to very acceptable levels. Lexus added a set of adaptive dampers for the 2016 LX and you can adjust the firmness via a knob in the center console - Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. The dampers do help reduce body roll in corners, giving you a little bit more confidence. Steering is what you would expect in an SUV, light and numb. This makes the LX a bit cumbersome to move in certain places such as a parking lot. Compared to the last LX 570 we drove, the 2016 model has gone up in price. Base price now stands at $88,880 and our as-tested price comes in at $96,905. This one feels a bit a more worth of price tag that Lexus is asking for, but I still think a Cadillac Escalade or Range Rover are slightly better in terms of value. If you’re planning a trip to Death Valley or the Rocky Mountains and want something that can you there and back, along with providing all of the luxuries, look no further than the LX. Otherwise, there are a number of other luxury SUVs that make more sense if you’re planning to stay on the pavement. Year: 2016
      Make: Lexus
      Model: LX 570
      Trim: N/A
      Engine: 5.7L 32-Valve, DOHC Dual VVT-i V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Full-Time Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 383 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 403 @ 3,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/18/15
      Curb Weight: 6,000 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Aichi, Japn
      Base Price: $88,880
      As Tested Price: $96,905 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Mark Levinson Audio System - $2,150.00
      Dual-Screen DVD Rear-Seat Entertainment System - $2,005.00
      Luxury Package - $1,190.00
      Heads-Up Display - $900.00
      Cargo Mat, Net, Wheel Locks, & Key Glove - $250.00
      All-Weather Floor Mats - $165.00
      Heated Black Shimamoku Steering Wheel - $150.00
      Wireless Charger - $75.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Most luxury SUVs will never go fully off-road. The closest they’ll ever get is driving down a gravel road. But that doesn’t mean some automakers aren’t filling them with the latest off-road for that one person who decides to. Case in point is the LX 570. Lexus’ variant of the Toyota Land Cruiser has been updated inside and out to try and draw buyers away from the usual suspects in the class.
      For 2016, Lexus has softened the LX’s boxy-shape with some rounded edges and more imposing fenders. The front grille has grown in size to match other Lexus vehicles, though to our eyes it looks more like the head from a Cylon in the 1980’s Battlestar Galactica tv show. The rear features new taillights and a reshaped tailgate. The interior has somehow become more opulent since the last LX we drove. A new dash design features real wood trim and more soft-touch materials. Our tester featured leather upholstery that can be described as red-orange. At first, I thought it was a bit much. But over the week I grew to like the color as it adds some personality. Sitting in either the front or second-row seats of the LX is a pleasant experience. There is plenty of head and legroom for both rows, along with heat. Front seats also get ventilation as standard. The third-row seat is a bit of joke. Getting back there in the first place is quite difficult due to the small gap when you move the second-row forward. Once back there, you find legroom is almost negligible. Finally, the way the third row folds up by side walls and not into the floor hampers cargo space - only offering 41 cubic feet. Lexus’ Remote Touch interface has arrived in the LX this year with a gargantuan 12.3-inch screen sitting on top of the dash. On the plus side, the screen is vibrant and easy to read. The negative is the remote touch controller as you’ll find yourself choosing the wrong function because the controller is very sensitive to inputs. Power comes from 5.7L V8 with 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic and full-time four-wheel drive system. On paper, the V8 should move the LX 570 with no issue. But a curb weight of 6,000 pounds negates this. Performance can be described as ho-hum as it takes a few ticks longer to get up to speed. At least the eight-speed automatic transmission is a smooth operator and quick to respond when you stab the throttle. The LX 570 is chock full of clever off-road tech such as crawl control, hill start assist, 360-degree camera system, and multi-terrain select system that optimizes various parts of the powertrain and four-wheel drive system. Sadly, we didn’t get the chance to put any of these to the test. No matter the condition of the road, the LX 570 provides a smooth and relaxing ride. Impressive when you consider the LX is riding on a set of 21-inch wheels. Road and wind noise are kept to very acceptable levels. Lexus added a set of adaptive dampers for the 2016 LX and you can adjust the firmness via a knob in the center console - Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. The dampers do help reduce body roll in corners, giving you a little bit more confidence. Steering is what you would expect in an SUV, light and numb. This makes the LX a bit cumbersome to move in certain places such as a parking lot. Compared to the last LX 570 we drove, the 2016 model has gone up in price. Base price now stands at $88,880 and our as-tested price comes in at $96,905. This one feels a bit a more worth of price tag that Lexus is asking for, but I still think a Cadillac Escalade or Range Rover are slightly better in terms of value. If you’re planning a trip to Death Valley or the Rocky Mountains and want something that can you there and back, along with providing all of the luxuries, look no further than the LX. Otherwise, there are a number of other luxury SUVs that make more sense if you’re planning to stay on the pavement. Year: 2016
      Make: Lexus
      Model: LX 570
      Trim: N/A
      Engine: 5.7L 32-Valve, DOHC Dual VVT-i V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Full-Time Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 383 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 403 @ 3,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/18/15
      Curb Weight: 6,000 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Aichi, Japn
      Base Price: $88,880
      As Tested Price: $96,905 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Mark Levinson Audio System - $2,150.00
      Dual-Screen DVD Rear-Seat Entertainment System - $2,005.00
      Luxury Package - $1,190.00
      Heads-Up Display - $900.00
      Cargo Mat, Net, Wheel Locks, & Key Glove - $250.00
      All-Weather Floor Mats - $165.00
      Heated Black Shimamoku Steering Wheel - $150.00
      Wireless Charger - $75.00
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