MINI Cooper S Clubman 2.0-litre 189bhp launch report

MINI Cooper S Clubman 2.0-litre 189bhp launch report

We jump inside the hot version of the new MINI Clubman to see if it has performance chops as well as added practicality.

A nippy petrol may not be the first thing you think of when you see the chunky dimensions of the MINI Clubman, but to satisfy those after practicality and driving thrills rolled into one, there is the Cooper S Clubman.

Before we get into the performance figures, we’ve got to mention a few things about practicality first. The Clubman still delivers when it comes to offering a more spacious alternative to the Hatch – and in fact, it is an impressively spacious alternative hands down. With a 360 litre boot, tons of leg room and barn doors at the rear that now open remotely, the Clubman is now more practical than ever before. Basically, it doesn’t feel mini, which is a good thing when it comes to storage and comfort.

Underneath the bonnet is a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine producing 189bhp – same power as the Cooper S Hatch. It also offers a top speed of 142mph. First thing to note is that peak power arrives at 5,000rpm, so it does need to be thrashed a bit before you feel all of those horses. Maximum torque however (280Nm) is delivered much sooner at just 1,250rpm.

Shoot off from the blocks and the Cooper S Clubman can reach the 62mph mark in just 7.2 seconds – 7.1 if you have the automatic gearbox we had. These sprint times mean that the Clubman is just 0.2 seconds behind the Cooper S Hatch. The Cooper S Clubman has a sporty note to the engine as well, giving off a hefty roar at high revs and a satisfying burble if revved out when stationary.

The automatic gearbox mentioned above is an eight-speed unit and is new to the Clubman. This transmission delivers swift changes even when pushed hard and bounces the revs high on downshifts, allowing you to slingshot your way out of bends. Personally, I would have appreciated the driver involvement benefit of the six-speed manual, but the auto ‘box is still impressive.

We were a little sceptical as to how agile the Clubman would feel, even with a hot hatch powertrain. However, the Clubman does not feel anything like its muscular body might suggest. Even when flooring the throttle on straights or tucking its nose into an apex, the Clubman feels just as capable as the Hatch. I’m sure a side to side comparison would reveal that the Hatch is slightly lighter on its feet, but still, there isn’t much in it.

The chassis in the Clubman is excellent, keeping all four wheels planted when going into tight corners. It is a tad on the stiff side, but it strikes a decent balance if you want comfort and performance.

Push the Clubman a bit too far into a bend and you will get a bit of understeer, but thankfully this can be easily ironed out by lifting off the accelerator ever so slightly. Thankfully, the steering is well-weighted and keeps you certain of where the front-wheels are pointing at all times, so you still feel in control even if the front-end skips out a bit.

For those after a sporty MINI, the Cooper S Clubman might be a hard sell, especially when you consider that the Cooper S Hatch is around £3,300 less. But if a potential buyer makes it to the test drive phase with the Clubman, they might find themselves reconsidering and the added practicality aspect of it may just be a clincher. 

Find prices for the MINI Clubman