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William Maley

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

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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




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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Mini News: Revealed: 2016 MINI Clubman Is All About The D



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      Press Release is on Page 2

      BMW Group plans joint venture for MINI electric vehicles in China
      MINI brand set for growth with local partner No plans for additional sales organisation in China Expansion of BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture Munich. The BMW Group is in advanced discussions to ramp up the global success of its MINI brand through a new joint venture in China. A key element of the brand’s continued strategic development will be local production of future battery-electric MINI vehicles in the world’s largest market for electromobility. To this end, the BMW Group has signed a “letter of intent” with the Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motor. In addition to production of the first battery electric MINI at the main plant in Oxford starting in 2019, this signals a further clear commitment to the electrified future of the MINI brand.
      Next steps will be to agree on the details of a possible joint venture and cooperation agreement and clarify aspects such as the choice of production location and concrete investments. The BMW Group has no plans to set up an additional sales organisation in China. The company is firmly committed to continuing the successful cooperation with the established sales structure.
      Independently of its strategic considerations towards the MINI brand, the BMW Group will further expand its highly successful BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) joint venture in China with its partner, Brilliance. In addition to its two automobile production locations, BBA already runs an engine plant, which includes a battery factory for electrified BMW brand vehicles produced locally in Shenyang. This is the first battery factory operated by a premium automobile manufacturer in China.
      In recent years, BBA has become a cornerstone of the BMW brand’s success in its largest market and serves as a model for the continued development of MINI in China. Around 560,000 BMW brand vehicles were delivered to customers in China in 2017 – more than in the next two largest markets, the US and Germany, combined. In 2017, China was MINI’s fourth-largest market, with around 35,000 units delivered. This underlines the brand’s additional global potential.
      The successful strategy for expansion of the BMW Group’s global production network obeys a clear rule: Production follows the market. However, expansion of the BMW brand in its largest markets, such as China, has not led to a decrease in production at the company’s German plants. On the contrary, between 2007 and 2017, production in Germany increased by close to a quarter to around 1.15 million vehicles per year. At the same time, almost half of all BMW production now takes place at plants outside Germany.
      A similar growth strategy could accelerate development of the MINI brand significantly without questioning the BMW Group’s commitment in the UK. The company has made significant investments over the years to step up its involvement in the country.

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    • By William Maley
      BMW appears to be making a number of changes to future plans once again. According to a report from Automobile Magazine, a number of BMW i models have been canned. They include a proposed i9 flagship sedan (replaced by a slightly smaller i7 sedan), the i5 which was supposed to arrive in 2023, and an even larger version of the i3. Other plans that reportedly been canceled include a supercar plan with McLaren and new vehicle architecture with Diamler.
      The situation is somewhat worse at Mini. Automobile said plans for a joint development of a new small car platform with Toyota have fallen through. It was expected this platform would have underpin the next-generation Mini Cooper. According to some sources, BMW is working a deal with Chinese automaker Great Wall about developing a new platform for Mini.
      Other details from Automobile's report,
      The follow-up to the i3 will be renamed the iX1 Plans are being drawn up for an electric version of the next Rolls-Royce Ghost There is talk about a new model that "defines the BMW brand in the 21st century." It could be a reskin of the i8 with bigger batteries and a turbo-four; keeping the i8's central structure and adding new front and rear ends, along with a four-cylinder; or designing a new model that will feature the choice of three different electric motors and either 3.0L inline-six or a V8 engine with 600 horsepower Source: Automobile Magazine

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    • By William Maley
      Mini will be using next week's Detroit Auto Show to debut refreshed versions of the Cooper Hardtop and Convertible models. At first glance, the changes don't seem apparent as the new models look like the current ones. But you'll need to get a bit closer to see the changes. Up front, the 2019 Coopers feature a new headlight design and updated logo. Around back, Mini has fitted a new set of LED taillights with a Union Jack pattern.
      The interior sees some minor changes with Bluetooth and a 6.5-inch infotainment screen becoming standard. An 8.8-inch system with navigation is available as an option.
      The U.S. will miss out on one change that Mini is making for the Cooper in other markets - a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
      No mention of when the 2019 Cooper Hardtop and Convertible will go on sale.
      Source: Mini 
      Press Release is on Page 2

      Fresh update for the original: the new MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the new MINI Hardtop 4 Door, the new MINI Convertible.

      Detroit, MI,  January 9, 2018. The British premium automobile manufacturer strengthens the progressive character and appeal of its models in the small car segment with a stylishly refined visual appearance and extensive technological advancements. The update for the MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the MINI Hardtop 4 Door and the MINI Convertible includes fresh design accentuations, innovations in the field of drive technology, additional customisation options and an expansion of the digital services available as part of MINI Connected.
      The upgrading of the original product substance in the premium segment of small cars highlights the mature yet distinctive charisma of MINI, which in its current model generation is now available for the first time with three body types for hallmark driving fun in urban environments. This is due to such elements as an extended range of standard features, newly designed headlights and rear lights, additional body finishes and cutting-edge connectivity technology for convenience and infotainment.
      MINI Hardtop 2 Door, MINI Hardtop 4 Door, MINI Convertible: overview of new features.
      LED rear lights in Union Jack design. New MINI logo, new body finishes, Piano Black exterior. New light alloy wheels. Extended range of leather trim, interior surfaces and Color Lines. Unique individualisation with MINI Yours Customised. Multifunction steering wheel and radio with 6.5-inch colour screen, USB and Bluetooth interface as standard. Optional radio and navigation systems with touchscreen monitor. Telephony with wireless charging. MINI Connected and MINI Connected XL with new functions. MINI logo projection from the exterior mirror on the driver's side. Bright and dazzle-free: LED headlights.
      A modified design for the characteristic circular headlights make the hallmark front view of the new MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the new MINI Hardtop 4 Door and the new MINI Convertible even more powerfully expressive. In the standard halogen headlights, a striking accentuation is added by means of a black panel. In the LED headlights available as optional equipment items, the high-quality technology is underscored by means of an entirely newly design of the light sources. The latest generation of the LED modules for low and high beam offers increased brightness. The LED daytime driving light and the turn indicator light are generated by a ring which surrounds the entire contour of the headlight,
      Very British: rear lights in Union Jack design.
      The rear lights also feature a new design in conjunction with the optional LED headlights. As a clear reference to the brand's British DNA, the upright light units at the rear of the new MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the new MINI Hardtop 4 Door and the new MINI Convertible now appear in a Union Jack design.
      The striking flag motif is recreated in the structure of the light functions. The turn indicators are horizontally arranged and the brake lights are vertically aligned, with the tail light additionally representing the diagonal lines of the British flag. In order to ensure a particularly harmonious lighting effect, all light sources forming the Union Jack graphic use LED technology.
      New MINI logo: reduced to the essentials.
      The new MINI logo is clear and authentic in style, appearing on the bonnet, tailgate, steering wheel, central instrument display, remote control, and optional driver’s side puddle lighting all models. It is a re-interpretation of the existing logo and now features a two-dimensional "flat design". As such, the MINI logo reflects the new brand identity with its focus on the essentials – namely key values such as driving fun, distinctive design, premium quality and emotional appeal.
      Three new exterior paint colors, premiere for Piano Black Exterior.
      The extensive range of exterior paint colors available for the new MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the new MINI Hardtop 4 Door and the new MINI Convertible now adds three variants: Emerald Grey metallic, Starlight Blue metallic, and Solaris Orange metallic.
      What is more, the list of optional equipment items features an additional means of customizing the exterior design. With the option Piano Black Exterior, the surrounds of the headlights, rear lights and radiator grille are finished in high-gloss black instead of chrome.
      The selection of optionally available light alloy wheels has been expanded, too. The 17-inch light alloy wheels in the design styles Roulette Spoke 2-tone and Propeller Spoke 2-tone are now available for all body variants of the new MINI. The likewise 17-inch light alloy wheels in Rail Spoke 2-tone design have also been newly added to the program.
      New leather trims, interior surfaces and Color Lines.
      A broad selection of seat surfaces, interior surfaces and Color Lines add a touch of individual style to the interior of the new MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the new MINI Hardtop 4 Door and the new MINI Convertible. New features for the MINI Hardtop 2 Door and the MINI Hardtop 4 Door include supple Malt Brown Chesterfield Leather upholstery.
      In addition, the new option MINI Yours Interior Style Piano Black with illumination includes a backlit decorative panel on the passenger side of the dashboard, likewise finished in Piano Black as well as bearing a stylised Union Jack motif.  The color of the backlighting matches the ambient lighting selected by the driver. This option also adds high-gloss Piano Black surfaces in the area of the doors and center console., 
      Maximum individualization: MINI Yours Customised.
      The MINI Yours Customised program now raises hallmark brand individualization to a whole new level. It includes retrofit products that can be designed by customers themselves, which are then produced precisely according to these individual specifications. The MINI Yours Customised range will include side scuttles, decorative strips for the interior on the passenger side, LED door sill finishers and LED door projectors.
      MINI Yours Customised products can be designed and previewed through a specially created Online Customiser. Here customers can choose between various colors, patterns, surface structures and icons, as well as contributing their own texts and adding a touch of personal style to the design. This offering enables MINI fans to turn their vehicle into a unique specimen that bears the stamp of their own personality. The individualized products are manufactured using innovative production techniques such as various 3D printing methods and laser engraving.
      New infotainment systems and features
      A new 6.5” display is included as standard, and features an updated and optimized user interface, Bluetooth mobile phone integration, and support for Bluetooth audio streaming. In addition, customers can specify a new 8.8” touchscreen navigation system with new user interface and greatly expanded features.  
      New options: telephony with wireless charging, MINI logo projection.
      The innovative optional equipment for the new MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the new MINI Hardtop 4 Door and the new MINI Convertible includes a wireless charging option. A storage compartment integrated in the centre armrest enables wireless charging of mobile phones which offer this capability. This option also adds a second USB port in the front section of the center console.
      For the first time, the MINI Hardtop 2 Door and MINI Hardtop 4 Door are available with a MINI logo projection feature. When the vehicle is opened and closed, the new MINI logo is projected onto the ground in front of the driver’s side door from a light source in the exterior mirror and can be seen there for 20 seconds, or permanently if the door is left open.
      MINI Connected: a range of digital services that is unique within the segment.
      With the new MINI Connected functions, MINI offers a diverse range of digital services at premium level that is unique in the small car segment. New features include Advanced Real Time Traffic Information with 4G LTE connectivity, support for Apple CarPlay, Connected Services, and intelligent emergency call.
      The personal mobility assistant feature of the MINI Connected smartphone app now enables drivers of the new MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the new MINI Hardtop 4 Door and the new MINI Convertible to integrate their vehicle and mobility planning seamlessly into their day-to-day digital routine. For example, MINI Connected can draw on calendar entries and contact data entered in a smartphone to plan a route and determine the ideal time to set off based on real time traffic data. The Send-to-Car function enables planned routes to be sent to the MINI navigation system, while Remote Services allow the driver not just to display vehicle location, fuel level and other vehicle status details on their digital end device, but also activate the headlight flasher, horn, ventilation and door lock/unlock function.
      Intelligent networking of the MINI is via a SIM card integrated in the vehicle: this now complies with the mobile communications standard 4G. It also enables the use of MINI Teleservices and the Intelligent Emergency Call with automatic detection of vehicle location and accident severity.
      Services now available in the new MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the new MINI Hardtop 4 Door and the new MINI Convertible for the first time also include MINI Find Mate. This consists of so-called tags with a wireless tracking function that can be attached to frequently used objects and travel items such as bags, cases, key rings and rucksacks. Their position can not only be displayed on the on-board computer but also in the MINI Connected App on a smartphone. In this way, MINI Find Mate helps prevent personal items getting lost or left behind.

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    • By William Maley
      2016… What a year. This year saw a number of things that no one thought would actually happen did. Not helping matters is the number of famous people that have sadly passed on. Here at the Cheers & Gears Detroit Bureau, it wasn’t such a great year for vehicles. For the 2016 review season, 44 vehicles came in for evaluation. Out of this group, only eight vehicles earned a spot of being my favorite vehicles from the year. Read on to see which vehicles made the cut.
      2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe
      It is amazing how far Cadillac has come in the past decade and proof of it can be shown in the ATS- V coupe. A 464 horsepower twin-turbo V6 makes the vehicle fly with no issue. A set of sticky tires and adjustable dampers show the ATS-V is just as capable, maybe more so than its German counterparts. But it can also provide decent ride around town if you set the dampers into a comfort mode. Then there is the look. I’m not usually a fan of red, but it looks killer on the ATS-V coupe. It pairs quite nicely with sharp angles and a low roofline This was one of the models where I found myself grinning from ear to ear because of how much fun I had.
      2016 Chevrolet Volt
      It is amazing how far Chevrolet has come with the Volt. Five years ago, the Volt was this odd looking vehicle with a clever powertrain that made range anxiety nonexistent. Yes, 35 miles of electric-only range didn’t seem like a lot. However, the gas generator acted as an insurance policy if you ran out of juice with the battery. Flash forward to this year and Volt has not only seen an increase in overall range to 53 miles, but it has also gotten sleeker. This is currently my favorite looking Chevrolet vehicle with the new Cruze a close second. Other plus points include an improved interior and smooth ride. The new Bolt is currently basking in the spotlight that the Volt was at one time. But let us not forget the Volt is one of the key reasons why the Bolt exists. 
      2016 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack & SRT Hellcat
      Dodge covered the two extremes of performance this season with the Charger R/T Scat Pack and Hellcat. The Scat Pack was first up and I fell in love with it. For almost $40,000, you basically got an SRT Charger minus the adaptive suspension and number of luxury items. It was great fun with the 6.4L HEMI V8 bellowing down the road and the sharp looking Plum Crazy paint color. I found that you really don’t need the adaptive suspension as the Scat Pack does ok on bumpy roads or curvy roads.
      Then we come to the Charger SRT Hellcat. 707 horsepower from a supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8. It seems maddening that we are given a vehicle with all of this power for a price tag under $66,000. Trying to describe the way the Hellcat goes is difficult and something you need to experience. This is a vehicle that will make you laugh like a small child every time you decide to drop the hammer to hear the whir of the supercharger and manic sound of the V8.
      2016 Kia Optima SXL
      It is no secret that the Kia Optima is one of my favorite midsize sedans. It offers distinctive looks and feature set at a price that will surprise many. But it was set to fall off my list earlier this year when I drove the Optima EX. The big issues were an uncomfortable ride and poor noise isolation. So when I found out that the top of line SXL was scheduled later in the year, I was worried that it would be plagued by the same issues. But those issues never appeared. The SXL was not only quiet but showed a noticeable improvement in terms of ride comfort. I still don’t know what black magic Kia did on the SXL, but it kept the Optima on my favorites list. Now if they could work on the lazy throttle…
      2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata
      “Sometimes to fully test a vehicle, you need to put it in a situation where it isn’t fully comfortable.”
      That was the case for the Mazda MX-5 Miata as it would not be only driven in the middle of one of the coldest winters in Michigan, but it would also be taking me to and from the Detroit Auto Show. Crazy? Of course. But the MX-5 Miata was wearing a set of winter tires which helped it stick to the road. Despite the cold temps and snow that would fall during the latter half of the week, the MX-5 Miata proved to be just as fun as it would have been in warmer weather. Sharp handling, an engine that loved to rev, and a slick six-speed manual transmission. It didn’t hurt that I could actually fit my suitcase into the trunk of the Miata for the show.
      2016 Scion iA
      I have a trend of driving brands or vehicles that will be ending. Most infamously was the time when I drove a Suzuki SX4 for review and then hearing the news of the brand leaving a couple of days after returning it. That was the case of the Scion iA. A few months after driving the iA, Toyota announced that it was shuttering the brand. Some of the vehicles, like the iA would continue as Toyotas. This was a smart move as the iA proved to be a winner. Being a rebadged Mazda2 was a big reason as to why I liked the iA. It was a fun vehicle to drive around town or on a special road. But it also featured a lot of standard equipment including automatic emergency braking. While the brand is gone, it is good to see the iA lives on.
      2016 Toyota Prius Three
      I have never been a fan of the Prius family. Every Prius that I have reviewed left me wondering who decided to start selling a science experiment and not an actual vehicle. But the 2016 Prius is my biggest shock of the year. Yes, the Prius will take its time getting up to speed on the freeway. But around town, the Prius was a spritely performer. More surprising was how well the Prius drove. Taking a corner, I was expecting to experience motion sickness because of how much body roll previous models had. But the Prius took it like a champ showing little body and some decent steering - thank the new TGNA architecture. It doesn’t hurt that I got 60.2 mpg as my average for the week. Well done Toyota.
      2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
      If there is one shining light at Volkswagen, it would have to be the Golf family. Last year, I named the Golf GTI as one of my favorites. This year, that honor falls to the SportWagen. Yes, it isn’t the sharpest looking vehicle in the class and the DSG transmission needs some more work. But Volkswagen got the basics right. The 1.8T is powerful and delivers excellent fuel economy. The interior spacious for both passengers and cargo - I was able to fit two massive Ikea boxes into it. Volkswagen also mastered the dark art of balancing fun to drive with comfort. I could take the Golf SportWagen down a windy road and be entertained. Afterward, I could drive it around town and not feel any road imperfections. 
      There you go, the eight vehicles that earned a coveted spot on my favorites list. Now it should be noted that some vehicles we’re close to getting onto this list, but were kicked off for one reason or another. Here are those vehicles,
      Chevrolet Malibu 2LT: Chevrolet did an excellent job with the new Malibu with fixing a number of issues that plagued the old model. But the 2LT introduced a new set of problems - questionable materials, poor road noise isolation, and the lack of options. I really do like the new Malibu, just not in 2LT form. Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible: Loved the V8 performance and noise. Hate the $54,000 pricetag. This might explain why GM has such a large amount of Camaros sitting on dealers. Hyundai Elantra: Hyundai played it safe with the updated Elantra and this would have been ok a couple of years ago. But in light of the redesigned Chevrolet Cruze and Honda Civic, it wasn’t enough for the Elantra to be a strong contender as it once was. Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X: This was a truck I really wanted to like. Nissan was trying something different with the Titan XD - offer something between a light-duty and heavy-duty pickup. Plus, a nice Cummins V8 diesel could have been the cheery on top. But trying to convince someone that your truck is the best is difficult since truck buyers tend to stick with one brand. Not helping is the lack of cab and bed sizes. At the time of our original review, the XD was only available as a crew cab. A regular cab has been since introduced. But it seems Nissan doesn’t fully understand the truck market. You need to have a lot of options available to buyers at launch, not down the road.
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