Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on October 17, 2009
What a difference a rear end makes. The iconic MINI recently confirmed and released official photos of its much-rumored MINI Clubman, the make’s first major update since its 2001 re-release as the rambunctious stepchild of BMW. This boxy-behinded bulldog shares the base MINI Cooper’s front 2/3, which may cause a epidemic of double-takes when the first Clubmans (Clubmen?) zip by in the U.S. early next year.
All design changes come aft of the B-pillar, and what an aft it is: a roofline that just won’t quit, an extra 9.45 inches of overall length and fold-flat rear seats mean this utili-MINI boasts more than 32 feet of cargo space. A MINI driver’s friends, newly mollified by a 3-inch dose of surplus rear legroom, can access all this extra interior room in two ways — tiny versions of the clamshell doors more commonly handled by the SUV set and a set of unusual, asymmetrical, “butterfly” doors on the car’s right side.
The updates make for a cargo-capable-ish small car akin in overall philosophy to the Honda Fit, although with a price tag placing it somewhere between the MINI hardtop and convertible.
The Clubman will come with three powerplant options, a 1.6-liter base model, a turbocharged 1.6 (still recognizable by the hood-mounted air intake), and a 1.6-liter turbodiesel. Performance, strangely enough, looks even better than the base model MINI and the convertible. While the regular ol’ MINI gets just short of 45 mpg, the Clubman looks to manage over 51. The split on the turbocharged MINI is a little narrower, with the traditional S getting around 40 mpg and the Clubman pulling a combined mid-30s. These numbers are tentative and have yet to stand up to scrutiny, but there you have it.
As usual, the truly impressive “G”-rific projections emerge from the turbo(bio)diesel, which posts an average fuel economy of 68.9 mpg, with lower carbon emissions to boot.
As yet, however, BMW has lamentably announced no plans to back that biodiesel-capable thang up across the pond. Not that we’re not used to that over here. Or not not used to it. Whichever one means there aren’t enough US (bio)diesels.
Learn more about the new mini clubman on the International Mini Site