MINI Clubman In Depth (UK)
More doors, more space, more legroom, more individuality, more British production.
(Official MINI UK Press Release - note not all features available worldwide.) The new MINI Clubman will go on sale in the UK on Saturday 10 November 2007. Based on a concept first shown at Frankfurt Motor Show in 2005, the new car is a modern interpretation of its famous Mini predecessors taking into account all the demands and technologies of the 21st century.
It takes a sneaky peek back in time, but has its eyes firmly ahead on the engineering, design, safety and image demands that today’s customers expect of a premium car. Still a MINI, but with a little bit extra.
Available from launch in three engine variants: Cooper, Cooper D and Cooper S, the new model offers practical flexibility, easier access through innovative door concepts, more space for rear passengers and high levels of safety and customisation options. But nothing compromises MINI’s revered driving dynamics and the Clubman look will be unique on the streets.
The stand-out styling (and added practicality) reinforces MINI’s position in the 21st century as the most in-demand small car on the planet. Over 188,000 were demanded in 2006 and 2007 will be yet another record sales year for MINI. But it is the swinging ‘60s that had a hand in the Clubman development.
The new car takes inspiration and styling cues from the Morris Mini Traveller, Austin Mini Countryman and the Mini Clubman Estate. The new MINI Clubman nevertheless stays true to the successful, modern MINI design language. It’s still a MINI, so owners get short body overhangs, wide track, a long wheelbase, the high shoulder line rising towards the rear and, of course, MINI decals for the roof.
The new MINI Clubman is 24cm longer than the Hatch. Inside, it offers 8cm more legroom for rear passengers and is the first new MINI to enter the market with five seats. Boot capacity has increased to 260 litres with the seats in place and up to 930 litres with the rear seats down. Access to this extra space has been made easier via the split rear doors and additional Clubdoor on the right-hand side.
Andy Hearn, MINI UK General Manager, said: “MINI remains the most successful small car of the decade, and its appeal to a wider variety of customers has increased even more in 2007. The MINI Clubman is the third model in the range to join the successful MINI Hatch and MINI Convertible. We have a great choice of engines that satisfy low emissions and high fuel efficiency desires, but also keep the fun in driving. The new MINI Clubman has all the plus points of a MINI, with added functionality and a unique style.”
Modern high-performance engines, designed specifically for the 2nd generation MINI, feature new improvements to optimise fuel economy and emissions management. Auto Start-Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration and a Gearshift Point Indicator are standard on all variants. The greatest impact is seen on the MINI Cooper D Clubman, which achieves a hybrid-matching low emissions figure of 109 g/km C02.
The Clubman body style adds to the MINI family of Hatch and Convertible models, which have sold over one million models worldwide since 2001. All three derivatives are built at Plant Oxford, where £100 million has been invested in the past two years to increase production up to 240,000 by 2008. This is more than double the planned production capacity prior to the first car coming off the line in spring 2001.
Oliver Zipse, Managing Director BMW Group Plant Oxford, said: “The new MINI Clubman is another milestone in the MINI success story. Our highly committed associates in the MINI production triangle plants in the UK at Oxford, Hams Hall and Swindon have so far produced more than one million MINIs since the car was relaunched in 2001. With the MINI Clubman we are expecting new production and sales records for MINI which is great news for the UK automotive industry.”
As with the Hatch models, the petrol engines will be assembled at Plant Hams Hall in the Midlands and the body panels and sub-assemblies are from Plant Swindon. This ‘MINI production triangle’ employs a workforce of approximately 6,800 in the UK, and delivers MINIs to over 70 markets worldwide.
The new MINI Clubman will be sold through the UK MINI network of 148 dealers spanning the country. Over the past few years, MINI dealers have been investing in their dealerships, expanding or re-locating to fit the growing MINI range.
Andy Hearn, MINI UK General Manager, said: “It’s a great time to be a MINI dealer. They’re very excited and confident about the imminent arrival of the Clubman. The planned expansion of the MINI range is in no small part down to the great service MINI owners receive at their dealerships, and this is reflected in the year-on-year growth. Dealers in the UK have invested close to £40 million in the last two years in expanding or moving premises, enabling them to present the huge choice of models, options and accessories to customers in the showroom.”
Hearn continued: “Demand continues to grow with 2007 sales up nearly 14 per cent, including three record sales months from March. Residual values remain the best in the industry according to Lex and the arrival of Clubman will further add to MINI’s growth over the coming years.”
The new MINI Clubman continues the design language of the 2nd generation MINI, and is inspired by its ancestors; the Austin Mini Countryman and Morris Mini Traveller, in particular.
The ‘Shooting Brake’ concept was the first hint of the future MINI Clubman. Debuted at Frankfurt in September 2005, versions were also unveiled at Tokyo, Detroit and Geneva 2006. Many important details have made it into the production version. Historically, a ‘Shooting Brake’ is a vehicle derived from luxury coupés, but featuring a rear end akin to an estate car and a stretched roofline emphasising both sportiness and functionality.
The designers have succeeded in blending classic Mini features with the added interior flexibility of the Shooting Brake concept in an entirely new style, creating a car with ultra-modern technology and functionality.
The three versions of the MINI Clubman are identical to the MINI hatch design and body structure up to the B-pillar, retaining the familiar hexagonal radiator grille and large, round headlights.
There are 12 body colours to choose from, creating 36 combinations of exterior paintwork. Hot Chocolate Metallic is new and reserved exclusively for the MINI Clubman. Other body colours are three non-metallic options (Chili Red, Pepper White and Mellow Yellow), as well as Astro Black, Sparkling Silver, British Racing Green, Pure Silver, Lightning Blue, Nightfire Red, Dark Silver and Laser Blue metallics.
The individual model variants are designated at the rear by their names Cooper, Cooper D and Cooper S, while the name Clubman is highlighted on the right-hand door sill strip.
From the side
The MINI Clubman’s compact proportions and low-slung look create the same dynamic appearance as all other models in the MINI family. Seen from the side, the car has a dynamic profile due to the shoulder line rising slightly to the rear in contrast with the horizontal roofline. This means that the distance between the roof and shoulder line is smaller around the C pillars and opens up at the front by the A pillars.
The asymmetric structure of the car’s flanks is a truly unusual design feature. While on the left-hand side the large, front passenger door provides easy access, the additional door (40 centimetres wide) on the right-hand side provides an added convenience for back-seat drivers, or for owners looking to fill their boot. The Clubdoor is hinged at the back and opens against the direction of travel. For safety reasons, this door can only be opened when the front door is open and is much shorter than the front door. The Clubdoor does not require an outside door handle and therefore blends smoothly into the body of the Clubman.
The dark surface colour on the A and B pillars presents the large window areas as one uninterrupted strip, creating the impression of a roof ‘hovering’ in space. This design feature was introduced with the Hatch, but is emphasised with the Clubman’s double-length rear side windows that also aid visibility.
The MINI Clubman is the same width as the Hatch model. It is two centimetres higher due to the so-called ‘Dune Line’: a slender elevation that extends back on both sides along the entire length of the roof, balancing the proportions and making the car look smaller than it is.
The almost vertical C pillars and the body overhang at the rear, extended by 16cm compared to the Hatch, highlight the greater functional value of the new MINI Clubman. The C pillars and rear bumper are painted either Silver or Black and this contrasting colour helps to create a balanced look from the front to the rear. The roof can be ordered in Silver, Black or body colour, but the C pillars cannot be specified the same colour. A further design ‘trick’ to keep the car looking dynamic and sporty.
From the rear
The typical MINI design has always been a combination of a wide track and low centre of gravity that give it such excellent road-holding qualities and a kind of ‘bulldog stance’. The design of the rear accentuates this look further with a number of horizontal, parallel lines that shorten as they reach the roof of the car. The third brake light integrated into the roof strip, the two rear window wipers and chrome-plated door handles are framed by the vertical C pillars.
The two piece split-door is a modern interpretation of an authentic detail found on the MINI’s classic forerunners. Hinging at the outside, the rear doors open up easily to the left and right offering convenient access to the rear.
The rear light clusters on the MINI Clubman are a new design for this model and are fixed on the main body structure of the car (rather than the rear doors) to meet legal and homologation requirements that state rear lights must be visible from behind at all times. In order to maximise space and access, and following positive feedback from press and public alike to the MINI Concepts, the designers decided to hinge the rear doors as far to the outside as possible and came up with this alternative solution for the lights. Sweeping slightly to the inside at the top, the light cluster design discreetly follows the line of the rear door frame.
Seen from behind, the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper D Clubman are the same design. The MINI Cooper S Clubman differs by a white third brake light (with a red bulb) and hexagon-design grid inserts either side of the registration plate, that match the front grille. Most obvious, are the two exhaust pipes either side of the body.
From the front
From the front, the roofline contour is all that separates the new MINI Clubman from the MINI Hatch. The familiar ‘face’ of the car includes the hexagonal radiator grille and large, round headlights. Other common features are the direction indicators integrated in the headlights, as well as the side lights beneath the headlight units, that also accommodate the optional front foglamps.
But the front views are subtly differentiated between the Clubman models. The edges of the MINI Cooper air intakes swing up slightly to present a more cheerful face in the rear view mirror of the car in front. The radiator grille on the MINI Cooper and Cooper D Clubman is chrome; a sporty-looking black honeycomb for the Cooper S Clubman.
MINI Cooper D has a slightly higher bonnet than the Cooper to accommodate the engine. The larger lower air intake with a body colour crossbar also differentiates it in the range.
MINI Cooper S Clubman stands out from the other models with a more defined bonnet that sits 20mm higher than the Cooper and presents an integrated air scoop. Practically, this extra two centimetres offers more space for the turbocharged engine beneath, and is a constant reminder of the extra power within.
The interior design of the new MINI Clubman replicates the design changes introduced on the 2nd generation MINI Hatch model. The opportunities for personalisation are just as varied with four interior colours and a wide range of trim options including Brushed Alloy and glistening Piano Black.
The generous luggage compartment offers 260 litres, 100 litres more than the Hatch, and easy loading options thanks to the split-rear doors. Folding down the rear seats provides 930 litres (250 litres extra compared to the Hatch), and a completely flat luggage compartment floor is available as an option.
The MINI Clubman is entering the market with five seats and three rear seat belts as standard. It is also possible to choose two seats at the rear as a no-cost option. The passengers in the rear enjoy 8cm more legroom than the MINI Hatch.
The toggle switches in the central column beneath the speedo operate the windows, fog lights, and central locking. When a sunroof and/or optional Lights Package is chosen, a second row of toggle switches comes into play in the roof lining above the central speedo. Ambient lighting included in the Lights Package allows the interior lighting of the car to be changed from blue through to orange.
The rev counter is fixed in front of the driver behind the steering wheel, with a digital speedo read-out and the car’s computer data incorporated within its dial. Not only are the revs recorded as the engine pumps the fuel through the cylinders, but the car’s standard alarm indicator pulses on the top surface of the rev counter. The alarm is a Thatcham Category 1 system.
The large central speedo houses the fuel gauge, seat belt warning indicator, audio system and any optional navigation and entertainment functions.
Personalisation and ownership
So who is going to buy the new MINI Clubman? Previous experience shows that MINI customers cannot be placed into categories but come from all walks of life. But, one example could be a driver who wishes to stand out from the mainstream, appreciates design and aspires to express his personality through the car. There are also likely to be people who already appreciate the MINI Hatch design and have just been waiting for ‘that little bit more MINI’.
The projected sales of MINI Clubman are anticipated to take up 25 per cent of Oxford’s production capacity. But not until 2009 when the car has been on sale globally for a full year. The market launch for Europe is November 2007, and the rest of the markets follow in February 2008.
Back in 2001, MINI virtually created personalisation in small cars, and the new MINI Clubman offers the same unparalled choice of options and aftermarket kit as its Hatch and Convertible variants. Factory options alone add up to several million possibilities of configuration to enable the owner to express his or her personal style.
- 12 exterior colours
- 12 light-alloy wheels designs measuring 16” or 17”
- 36 colour schemes
- 4 Interior Worlds (front door and rear side panels) – Carbon Black, Gotham Grey, Tuscan Beige, Hot Chocolate
- 14 seat options including 4 leather combinations for the seats – Carbon Black, Pacific Blue, Rooster Red, Hot Chocolate
- Five Colour Line options (armrests and lower edge of the dashboard) – Cream White, Rooster Red, Mellow Yellow, Pacific Blue, Dark Grey
- Four trim surfaces (instrument panel, door openers, trim rings) – Fluid Silver, Piano Black, Brushed Alloy, English Oak
- Hundreds of aftermarket options – Union Jack, chequered and target roof decals, viper, racing and sport stripes, chrome or black additional headlights.
Hot Chocolate is a colour reserved exclusively for the Clubman and can be chosen in several different ways including leather interior or in combination with fabric, exterior paintwork and Interior World for the area around the dashboard.
Chequered cloth upholstery is exclusive to the MINI Cooper S, while the Cooper and Cooper D come as standard with black Cosmos cloth seats.
As an option, a fully closing storage compartment can be integrated into the trim area of the dashboard on the front passenger’s side. A standard Aux-in socket allows the driver to be able to play music from an MP3 player on the car’s audio system.
Included within the long list of factory options are satellite navigation, television, Bluetooth, panoramic glass sunroof, comfort access system and DAB radio.
Further options to increase the car’s carrying capacity are a roof base support system, which (with additional attachments) is ideal for transporting bikes, skis, snowboards or a roof box.
The MINI range of accessories also offers a protection cover for the entire loading area up to the back of the front seats, particularly useful when taking Fido for a run!
The aftermarket MINI navigation system shows your current position in the guise of a MINI Hatch with individual variations of the roof pattern.
The aftermarket exterior mirror covers, door handles, door entry strips and split door finisher are available in Union Jack or Chequered design.
A wide range of John Cooper Works equipment adds a taste of motorsport and includes cross-drilled and inner-vented brake discs for the front wheels and 18” light alloy rims. Inside, owners can finish their gearshift lever knob and handbrake grip in carbon fibre.
Whilst design, performance and dealer service are all high up on a MINI owner’s importance rating, cost-of-ownership continues to register as a real deal-clincher. MINI’s unique money-saving tlc and tlc XL servicing options are the key to owning a premium small car on a pocket-sized budget and they will continue with MINI Clubman. For less than the price of a room at The Ritz, they offer unrivalled value-for-money motoring and peace of mind for up to the first eight years of MINI ownership. They are also a welcome financial boost when owners come to part with their cars.
MINI tlc is available to all UK retail and fleet customers when purchased with a new MINI. It covers scheduled servicing on the car for five years/50,000 miles, including parts and labour, for just £150 (including VAT)
The benefits of the tlc package are not only limited to running costs, but also contribute to MINI’s rock solid residual values as any remaining tlc years are passed on to future owners.
August 2007 saw MINI come top in a survey organised by Lex, a vehicle leasing company, evaluating the best performing cars in the used car market. The MINI retained 54 per cent of its original new price after three years/60,000 miles. This is the second year in a row that MINI has taken gold in Lex’s survey.
MINI tlc XL adds a further three years or 30,000 miles to the tlc service package and costs a further £380 (inc. VAT). It can either be bought together with MINI tlc when the car is first purchased or once MINI tlc has come to an end, as long as it’s before the next service is due. MINI tlc XL is also transferable to new owners if the car is sold during the eight year period.
MINI tlc comes on top of MINI’s standard package of aftersales benefits. These include a three year/unlimited mileage warranty, six year/unlimited mileage corrosion guarantee and a three year roadside assistance programme that includes bespoke MINI service engineers, replacement loan car, full European cover and accident management.
Pepper and Chili packs
The Pepper and Chili option packs have been hugely successful on MINI Hatch and Convertible models and represent a 25 per cent saving over buying the equivalent options individually.
Pepper Pack £1,110 (MINI Cooper/MINI Cooper D Clubman)
Leather steering wheel, chrome line exterior, manual air conditioning, interior lights pack, on-board computer, front fog lights, passenger seat height adjustment, velour floor mats, storage compartment pack, flat load floor.
Chili Pack £2,015 (MINI Cooper/MINI Cooper D Clubman)
Cloth/leather upholstery, 3-spoke sports leather steering wheel, velour floor mats, passenger seat height adjustment, front fog lights, manual air conditioning, on-board computer, interior lights pack, 16” 5-Star Blaster light alloy wheels, chrome line exterior, sports seats, storage compartment pack, flat load floor.
Chili Pack £2,135 (MINI Cooper S Clubman)
Cloth/leather upholstery, 3-spoke sports leather steering wheel, velour floor mats, passenger seat height adjustment, front fog lights, manual air conditioning, on-board computer, interior lights pack, sports suspension (optional), 17” Pace spoke light alloy wheels, Bi-Xenon headlights, storage compartment pack, flat load floor.
Engines and transmissions
Engines and engineering
The new MINI Clubman is entering the market with a choice of three engines: VALVETRONIC-inspired 1.6-litre petrol in the MINI Cooper, 1.6-litre turbocharged diesel in the Cooper D and 1.6-litre twin-scrolled turbocharged petrol in the Cooper S. In all cases, the car’s performance figures differ only marginally from the Hatch, proving that the MINI Clubman has lost none of the MINI’s revered driving dynamics even with added practicality and approximately 85kg extra weight.
MINI Cooper S Clubman
Powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with direct injection and a twin-scroll turbocharger complete with intercooler.
- Intake camshaft features infinite phase adjustment that balances valve timing to required power
- Common rail direct injection system is pressurised by a high pressure pump at the rear of the intake camshaft
- Fuel from the common rail is pumped into the combustion chambers through the injection valves in the side of the cylinder heads at the exact time and in the exact amount required
- The pistons are cooled by splash oil during the process that works under an extremely high compression ratio of 10.5:1
The twin-scroll turbo-charging system allows a spontaneous build-up of power as the ducts of each pair of cylinders are separated from each other in the exhaust manifold. This helps reduce exhaust gas backpressure at low engine speeds, produces more efficient use of the movement of gas through the manifold and, subsequently, makes the turbocharger’s response more immediate as its rotor blades develop optimum momentum virtually from start-up.
With a wastegate limiting charge pressure to just 0.8 bar at only 1,400 rpm, turbo lag is virtually eradicated. The system contributes to a specific output of almost 110hp per litre.
MINI Cooper Clubman
The 1.6-litre four-cylinder, naturally-aspirated engine features fully variable valve management based on BMW Group’s VALVETRONIC technology. This improves the engine’s response and refinement, as well as the all-round efficiency of the power unit.
It works by adjusting the intake valve lift and opening times within fractions of a second to meet the immediate power and performance requirements of the driver. The big advantage is that it replaces the conventional throttle butterfly on “normal” engines to instantly translate any movement of the throttle pedal directly into engine speed. Intake valve lift is varied infinitely between 0.2 and 9.5 millimetres.
In addition to variable control of valve lift on the intake, valve timing is also controlled on the outlet stroke. This enhances the torque curve to deliver not only high torque at low engine speeds, but also high power at high speeds.
- Distance between cylinders: 84mm
- Bore: 77mm
- Stroke: 85.8mm
- Displacement: 1,598cc
- Cylinder block and bearing housing of aluminium alloy
- Two-piece bedplate crankcase construction derived from technology developed in BMW Group’s motor sport development programmes
- Camshafts of composite structure; camrings of high-strength stainless steel are shrunk-fit to the camshaft then fine-polished to an accuracy of 1/1000th of a millimetre
- Alternator and climate compressor driven by one single poly-V-belt contribute to making the new MINI engine one of the smallest four-cylinders in production
- Volume-flow-controlled oil pump is chain driven and, as with the water pump, is driven by demand rather than offering a constant flow. Both systems contribute to an improvement in fuel consumption
MINI Cooper D Clubman (not available in all markets)
Four-cylinder turbo diesel with common-rail fuel injection and variable turbine geometry ensures optimum smoothness, efficiency and response even at low speeds. A diesel particulate filter almost eliminates diesel exhaust emissions and helps to make the MINI diesel engine one of the most environmentally friendly cars available.
Under normal conditions peak torque of 240Nm is achieved between 1,750 and 2,000rpm. A substantial 70 per cent of the engine’s maximum torque is available at speeds of just 1,250 rpm, meaning the new Cooper D has exhilarating pulling force even at low engine speeds. Deploying the engine’s Overboost function briefly gives the Cooper D an additional 20Nm of torque, meaning the driver will experience 260Nm at 2,000rpm. MINI enthusiasts will recognise this torque figure is identical to that produced by the new MINI Cooper S.
Highlights of the new engine:
- Second-generation common rail diesel technology operating at a maximum pressure of 1,600 bar is key to the new diesel engine’s combustion process.
- Additionally, refinement is achieved using a precise multiple-injection process for each operating cycle.
- The six intake ducts in the new injectors are only 0.135mm in diameter, while the combustion chambers have been optimised in their shape and dimensions to prevent unwanted turbulence and maintain a smooth and consistent combustion process at all times.
As with all MINI Hatch models, the MINI Clubman range benefits from the improvements introduced in production from August 2007 to bring further reductions in fuel consumption and emissions. Technologies include Brake Energy Regeneration, Auto Start-Stop function and a Gearshift Point Indicator.
Brake Energy Regeneration (not available in all markets)
This technology ensures that the output from the engine is converted primarily into drive power, with electricity being generated for the on-board network only when the engine is on overrun or during application of the brakes. To achieve this effect the alternator is automatically disengaged from the engine while under power. Accordingly, the power the alternator would consume in the conventional mode now remains fully available for even faster and more dynamic acceleration.
An adequate supply of electrical energy to the on-board system is nevertheless ensured at all times, since the alternator is activated again as soon as the MINI returns to overrun or the driver applies the brakes.
Auto Start-Stop (not available in all markets)
The new Auto Start-Stop function on all manual gearbox versions of the MINI Clubman serves to effectively reduce fuel consumption and emissions while the car is standing still. Whenever the car comes to a stop (e.g. traffic lights), Auto Start-Stop automatically switches off the engine as soon as the driver shifts to neutral and takes his foot off the clutch pedal. To re-start the engine, the driver presses down on the clutch pedal again, and the engine re-starts automatically and immediately. The driver may deactivate the system if he chooses. The system will not activate if the engine oil is still cold, the battery power is low or the outside temperature is less than three degrees Celsius.
Auto Start-Stop serves to optimise fuel efficiency in city traffic. The consumption of energy and the generation of exhaust emissions is reduced to zero in a very simple and straightforward process every time the car comes to a stop.
Gearshift Point Indicator (not available in all markets)
The driver of a manual gearbox MINI Clubman is able to focus on the most efficient style of motoring because the ideal ‘economy’ gear is shown by a numeric symbol in the cockpit display beneath the rev counter. The electronic engine ‘brain’ analyses engine speed, driving conditions and the position of the accelerator pedal to calculate the most efficient style of motoring and suggests the respective gear to the driver.
The key to MINI’s great driving is the direct response between driver inputs and reactions on the road, and the transmission is the defining touch.
The MINI Cooper and Cooper D Clubman come as standard with a six-speed manual. A single-cone syncromesh, carbon friction plates on the first two gears, a helical gear pattern and syncromesh on reverse are all features that remove noise and refine shifts.
The Cooper S’ six-speed manual provides a double cone that synchronises first and second to shorten the shift times and makes changing rapidly from first to second even easier.
The six-speed automatic transmission maintains the ideal balance of power and torque and is available for all three engine variants. The shift-paddles ensure that if the driver really is a driver, he or she never need lose touch with the chunky new steering wheel. The sporty DS mode has noticeably shorter gear-change times.
An automatic MINI can, of course, simply be left in Drive to allow the car to make the best possible gear selections for the road ahead, or gears can be changed manually by pushing forward or pulling back the gear selector for a downshift or to go up the ‘box
Chassis and suspension
The chassis, suspension, brakes and electronic dynamic driving programmes on the MINI Clubman are in essence the same in their configuration as on the respective Hatch models. However, the various chassis components have been adapted in their set-up to the specific requirements of the MINI Clubman and the engineers set themselves the goal to achieve the characteristic go-kart feeling of the MINI.
In a configuration tailored specifically for the MINI Clubman, the chassis and suspension guarantee superior handling, safety and sporting dynamics. The front axle is based on the McPherson spring strut principle and features an anti-roll bar to reduce body sway to an absolute minimum. The central-arm rear axle is unique in this segment, and sophisticated kinematics ensure optimum wheel-to-road contact. Aluminium longitudinal arms help to reduce the car’s overall weight.
As with the Hatch, the suspension on the MINI Cooper S is set-up to be firmer and more dynamic than the other models. An even firmer Sports Suspension set-up is available as an option to all three models and features harder springs, dampers and stiffer anti-roll bars.
The MINI Cooper Clubman and the MINI Cooper D Clubman come as standard on 15-inch alloy wheels, while the MINI Cooper S Clubman features 16-inch wheels with Runflat tyres, allowing the driver to continue driving even after a complete loss of tyre pressure. As an option, all models are available with 17-inch wheels in Five-Star Pace Spoke Design exclusive to the MINI Clubman.
MINI drivers without Runflats are protected from the danger and inconvenience of roadside wheel changes, and the added weight of a spare wheel, through the MINI Mobility System that allows the driver to ‘fix’ the tyre at the point of the puncture.
A Tyre Defect Indicator permanently monitors tyres for any loss of pressure and all wheels are protected by improved locking wheel nuts.
Electric Power-Assisted Steering (EPAS) gives direct feedback to the driver and contributes to the pin-point accuracy of the MINI Clubman. Speed-related power assistance guarantees low steering forces when parking and precise responses at high speeds on the motorway. A further advantage of EPAS is that it weighs far less than a conventional steering system and is geared towards saving energy: the electric motor is only activated when power assistance is required by the driver.
Sport button takes the S to the max
The standard Sport button beside the Cooper S gearstick takes the MINI smile-factor to another level. Once the button is pressed, the Servotronic steering is sharpened, the throttle response even more spontaneous and, on automatics, gears are shifted more quickly. This is available as a £90 option on the other models.
The sports-tuned suspension of the new MINI Clubman is further enhanced by a high-calibre brake system. The front wheels feature inner-vented disc brakes measuring 280 millimetres in diameter, except on the Cooper S which are 294 mm. The disc brakes on the rear are 259mm on all models.
Anti-lock braking (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), and Cornering Brake Control (CBC) are standard on the MINI Clubman. When applying the brakes in an emergency, MINI Brake Assist, builds up maximum braking power regardless of how hard the driver is pressing down the brake pedal and keeps stopping distances as short as possible.
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) is standard on all models (with on-off control by the driver), and is combined with ASC+T traction control. This system ensures superior safety, acting on the brakes as required or reducing engine power in order to prevent the car from possibly swerving in a bend.
Hill Assist is standard on all manual Clubmans and maintains braking for a brief moment to prevent the car from rolling back after the handbrake is released and the car begins to move uphill.
As an option, a limited slip differential can be specified for the MINI Cooper S Clubman. This prevents wheelspin on slippery surfaces or in fast bends by redirecting engine power between the drive wheels in a split second. The result is better traction and ability to cope with the effect of differing frictional coefficients on either side of the car.
In safety and quality, the new MINI Clubman reflects the high standards of the BMW Group. The safety equipment is based on the concept for the MINI hatch, which has already been awarded 5 stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests.
Six airbags are standard consisting of front, side and curtain head airbags for the driver and front passenger. The curtain airbags (integrated in the roof lining) extend further back in the Clubman and offer optimum protection from head injuries for front and rear passengers.
In the event of a collision, the car’s central safety electronics deactivate the central locking, switch on the hazard warning lights and interior lighting, and deactivate the electric fuel pump.
ISOFIX fasteners on the two outer seats in the rear ensure simple and effective installation of child seats. The front passenger airbag can be deactivated by the owner if a child seat is placed at the front.
Years of accident research within the BMW Group have been exploited to ensure MINI Clubman is as safe as houses. Crash safety is optimised by examining and perfecting the arrangement of various materials in the body and their individual features and interactions. High-strength steel and body plates varying in thickness, aluminium door elements and a magnesium carrier bar for the dashboard between the A-pillars ensure supreme stability, but also low weight.
In a side-on collision, forces acting on the car are diverted to the underfloor on the opposite side. The doors, B-pillars, seats, instrument panel and roof frame all act as an integrated safety shell to keep the side structure strong and stable. The right and left side of the car offer the same high level of crash safety, regardless of the Clubdoor on the right-hand side. Diagonally arranged door reinforcements and an aluminium extrusions-pressed profile on the doorsill level interact with the A and B pillars to form one common deformation zone.
The deformation zone at the rear is formed by two longitudinal arms, the luggage compartment floor, the rear panel, the rear side panels and additional reinforcement elements.
As the engine is fitted crosswise, there is ample space for ‘crash boxes’ that absorb impact energy in the event of a head-on collision. The impact energy is also smoothly diverted to the underfloor through the special design of the front axle subframe. Together with the carrier bar between the A pillars, this system effectively absorbs impact energy, keeping forces acting on the car away from the extremely stiff passenger cell even in a severe collision or roll over.
Active safety is ensured in critical situations by ABS anti-lock brakes, EBD Electronic Brake Force Distribution and CBC Cornering Brake Control as standard on all models. In addition, DSC Dynamic Stability Control is also standard (with on-off control by the driver) together with ASC+T Automatic Stability Control + Traction. Included within DSC is Hill Assist. This feature holds a manual MINI on the brake for a few seconds when setting off on a gradient to prevent it from rolling back.
More than a million MINIs in just six years – this is the most recent production record by the world’s first small premium car. The next chapter in the success story sees the MINI Clubman perfectly integrated within the ‘MINI Production Triangle’. The three British BMW Group production plants employ a workforce of nearly 7,000 and form a world-class, efficient and flexible production network for all variants of the MINI. The three plants are Oxford (Bodyshop, Paintshop, Assembly), Swindon (Pressings Plant) and Hams Hall (Engine Plant).
Like the other variants, the MINI Clubman offers virtually unlimited freedom of choice in customised production, with every car built to order. So every customer is able to put together his or her own MINI according to his or her personal preferences. All production and logistics processes are flexible and fully tailored to a high standard of diverse model specifications. Given the numerous options as well as the almost unlimited range of variation, it is perfectly conceivable that every MINI leaving Plant Oxford each year could be bespoke and unique.
The outstanding success of the MINI is borne out most clearly by the development of Plant Oxford. While in 2001 some 2,400 associates built a maximum of 200 cars a day in one shift, more than 4,700 associates now work in three shifts, on seven days and up to 134 hours per week, building up to 800 MINIs a day.
The plant’s maximum production capacity, reflecting market demand, has increased in the same period from approximately 100,000 to the new record level of up to 240,000 units a year. In all, the BMW Group has invested more than £380 million in production of the MINI at Plant Oxford since 2000.
All three plants naturally follow the high production and quality standards of the BMW Group and are certified for environmental care to ISO 14001. Together with the BMW Group’s Research and Innovation Centre in Munich, the Quality and Engineering Centre (QEC) in Oxford played a decisive role in the technical development of the MINI Clubman. At the same time the QEC applies the most advanced methods in testing and confirming production quality.
Apart from a test track, a hydraulic vibration tester to simulate chassis and body loads, a rain and climate chamber (with temperature from – 40 to + 90 °C), ?the QEC also operates an acoustic dynamometer where the MINI is examined and tested under laboratory conditions while “driving”.
The origins of the Oxford plant go back to the beginning of the last century when William Morris started to build cars in 1913. In 1994 the BMW Group acquired the plant, then completely modernised the facilities in 2000 and 2001, preparing for production of the new MINI.
In Paintshop and Assembly the MINI Clubman is built together, with the other variants of the MINI on the same, highly flexible production lines. Separate facilities for the new model are required only in some parts of the Bodyshop due to the car’s different dimensions.
Approximately 350 body components are fitted together by means of high-precision welding and handling robots. More than 500 of these computerised robots are working throughout the Bodyshop, and about 80 have been added specifically for the production of the MINI Clubman.
Applying more than 4,100 individual welding spots, the robots put together each individual body to ensure a high standard of stability and torsional stiffness. In some cases, eight robots work on one body at the same time on three different levels.
Quality assurance in the Bodyshop is ensured by integrated Perceptron laser measuring stations and inline measuring robots working to an accuracy of 0.05 millimetres to guarantee absolute precise measurements on each individual body.
The MINI Clubman goes through the Paintshop process together with the various other versions of the MINI in any random order, thus benefiting from all the advantages of the innovative Integrated Paint Process (IPP) introduced at Plant Oxford in 2006. Compared with conventional processes in applying the paint, IPP technology leaves out the individual stage of applying and burning in the filler coat, with the filler function instead being integrated on to one of two newly developed layers of basecoat.
In so-called wet-in-wet application of the two layers, the first layer takes on all functions and properties of the filler primer, while the second layer of basecoat provides the necessary optical qualities such as colour, effect and depth.
As in the past, the basecoat is finally covered by clear paint. The IPP process meets the same demanding requirements as a conventional paint application process in terms of its looks and the functional protection provided by the paint. Yet, in addition, IPP technology makes a positive contribution to the plant’s environmental objectives by omitting the filler stage (which often contains solvent) and thereby significantly reduces the consumption of materials and energy in the Paintshop.
Like other models in the range, the MINI Clubman is available in unique contrasting roof colours exclusive to MINI. So, depending on the customer’s request, the roof is painted in a contrasting colour by robots in a separate paint application process.
In the Assembly Hall the MINI Clubman is built on the same line as the other MINI models. Associates assemble up to 2,000 components on each individual MINI, depending on the customer’s request and the specific equipment chosen.
In the case of the MINI Clubman, 18 main modules are delivered to the assembly line just-in-sequence at exactly the right time and in the right order for assembly. These modules include the engines, the complete front module together with the headlights, bumper and cooling system, the integrated door modules, the seats and the cockpit.
Numerous quality checks are integrated in the assembly process. To carry out these tests, highly qualified associates use wireless and portable hand-held computers to identify the car by means of the chassis number scanned in advance as well as specific, pre-determined test requirements.
A comprehensive sequence of tests is also conducted after assembly, including a driving test on a rolling road and a wide range of electronic tests.
Plant Swindon: supreme precision in steel pressing.
Plant Swindon has been making body panels since 1954. Today the workforce of 1,100 associates makes 90 per cent of the pressings and 80 per cent of the pre-assembly body components such as the lids and doors for MINI assembly at Plant Oxford. Since 2005, the BMW Group has invested £60 million in the production of MINI at Plant Swindon.
The Pressings Production Area is made up of 19 pressing lines with a total of 50 individual presses. All presses have been thoroughly revised, automated and equipped with the latest electronic control systems, with press forces ranging from 400 to 5,000 tonnes.
The appropriate press is used in each case according to the size and complexity of the pressing involved. The front and rear lids on the MINI, for example, are pressed into shape on the longest pressing line with a total of six pressing stages, proceeding from a flat piece of steel plate all the way to the fully pressed, moulded and shaped outer skin. Particularly large body components on the MINI Clubman such as the doors, the roof with its two Dune Lines, and the side panels go through two four-stage large-area presses with a pressing force of 5,000 tonnes.
In all, more than 130 welding and handling robots are used in the highly automated production of complete body components such as the doors and lids. It takes 20 of these robots to build the Clubdoor and the split-door for the MINI Clubman.
Plant Hams Hall: high-tech engine technology for the MINI.
Built near Birmingham in 2001, Hams Hall is the BMW Group’s Competence Centre for the exclusive production of four-cylinder petrol engines for all BMW and MINI models.
The BMW Group has invested £30 million in the Plant since 2005 on the production of petrol engines for the MINI. Approximately 1,000 associates build engines in Hams Hall with the most advanced technology highlights. Hams Hall delivers up to 800 MINI engines a day to Oxford – just-in-time and just-in-sequence for maximum efficiency in final assembly.
The new MINI Clubman has its roots in the 1960s when the Morris Mini Traveller and Austin Mini Countryman first came on the market, and later the Mini Clubman Estate in 1969. The characteristic features of these legendary models – unmistakable design, agile driving dynamics, generous interior and the rear split-door – have been re-interpreted for the 21st century and brought bang up to date with the appropriate materials, functions and quality desired today.
Morris Mini Traveller and Austin Mini Countryman
Just one year after the launch of the Morris Mini Minor and the Austin Seven, a new body variant was launched by the British Motor Corporation. Entering the market in 1960 under the motto “revolutionary in concept, smart in appearance”, the technically identical Morris Mini Traveller and Austin Seven Countryman hit the streets. Based on the commercial Mini Van, this new model had glass windows all round and a folding rear seat bench, as well as the now familiar rear split-doors for easy access. In addition, and perhaps as a nod to its trade background, both models featured wooden planks at the side and rear resulting in the nickname ‘Woody’.
The Traveller and Countryman were largely identical to the Mini saloon in terms of technical specifications. An 848-cc four cylinder engine produced a maximum output of 34hp and a top speed of 69mph.
Between 1960 and 1969, BMC sold 207,000 units.
Through the merger of BMC and Leyland in 1968, British Leyland was established and the separation of Austin and Morris models was lifted and Mini remained. The new Mini Clubman Estate was launched in 1969 and replaced the Traveller and Countryman.
While the classic Mini remained in production virtually without any changes, the Clubman received a new ‘boxy’ front end and upgraded equipment, including wind-down windows instead of sliding windows on the doors. The engine was the same at first, but in 1975 engine capacity was increased to 1,098cc with a power output of 45hp and top speed of 81mph.
The Mini Clubman Estate reached the end of its lifecycle in 1982 having sold 197,606 units.
MINI’s more recent heritage
- January: Installation of MINI production line completed - £230m investment?
- 26 April: Production of MINI starts?
- 7 July: MINI Cooper and MINI One on sale in the UK?Total production 2001: 42,395 MINIs
- January: Start of MINI Cooper S production 100,000th MINI driven off the production line
- March: Start of MINI One Diesel production
- April: Start of MINI Convertible (One, Cooper, Cooper S) production?
- August: 500,000th MINI built
- February: Over £100m investment announced in 2005 to 2007?
- December: 200,119 cars produced in one year
- September: Start of production of the second generation MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S
- March: Start of production of the second generation MINI One and MINI Cooper D
- April: One millionth MINI produced at Plant Oxford
- August: All MINI Hatch and Clubman models benefit from the improvements introduced in production to bring further reductions in fuel consumption and emissions. Technologies include Brake Energy Regeneration, Auto Start-Stop function and a Gearshift Point Indicator.
- September: Series production of MINI Clubman begins
- November: MINI Clubman on sale in Europe