Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Club Class; MINI's Second Generation Clubman Is the Latest and Biggest Model from the Britishbased Brand, Setting Its Sights on Premium Hatchbacks like the Mercedes A-Class and Audi A3. What Do the Experts Make of It?

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Club Class; MINI's Second Generation Clubman Is the Latest and Biggest Model from the Britishbased Brand, Setting Its Sights on Premium Hatchbacks like the Mercedes A-Class and Audi A3. What Do the Experts Make of It?

Article excerpt

THE Clubman was launched in 2007 as the first truly practical MINI but came with one key drawback: you couldn't have two rear passenger doors.

This second generation model not only corrects that oversight but is also smarter, better equipped, highertech and more efficient. But it joins a range that, in the Hatch 5-Door and Countryman models, already boasts similar designs of this type. Can it stand out? MINIs have always been known for handling excellence and this MK2 model Clubman should be no exception.

Based on the same UKL platform as the BMW 2-Series Active Tourer and measuring the same distance between the wheels, it offers sophisticated suspension with what is promised to be the highest level of ride refinement ever for a MINI.

There's a familiar range of engines under the bonnet. The usual three cylinder 1.5 litre 136PS petrol unit features in the standard Cooper alongside a 2.0 litre 192PS four cylinder petrol engine for the pokier Cooper S. The Cooper D diesel gets a 2.0-litre unit with 150PS and all engines are turbocharged and offer 0-62mph in considerably less than 10s. The quickest option will be the Cooper S 0-62mph possible in as little as 7.1s.

Even the Cooper D can still manage 8.5s to 62, while offering predictably cheaper running costs. Standard with all three engines is a six-speed manual gearbox - with automatic transmission an option on all.

The smallest three cylinder motor can be optioned with a Steptronic auto that offers six ratios, while the 2.0 litre units both get the option of an eight-speed auto 'box that includes steering wheel-mounted paddles.

There's no performance reduction if you decide on the auto option. In fact, the eight-speed units actually reduce the 0-62mph times.

There's no disputing that from the outside, the Clubman still looks like a MINI, even though it's actually longer than the Countryman Crossover model. …

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