Home » The Mini Clubman Is Dying And It’s All Your Fault

The Mini Clubman Is Dying And It’s All Your Fault

Mini Clubman Final Edition Topshot
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The Mini Clubman is counting its days. Pretty soon, this quirky wagon will be headed to the great production line in the sky, and it’s all the fault of enthusiasts. The holy grail for many internet car enthusiasts is the brown, manual, diesel wagon. While the Clubman never made it to America in oil-burning spec and the second-gen model was available in burgundy rather than brown, two-and-a-half out of four ain’t bad. Still, this elongated icon was never a sales success. At least it’s getting one last special edition before it shuffles off this mortal coil.

R55 Clubman

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This first iteration of the modern Clubman was gloriously weird. Sure, it was a five-door station wagon, but not in the traditional sense. Two normal front doors, one rear-hinged door on the right side of the vehicle, and barn doors out back all combined to make a stretched Mini that was hilariously unsuitable for right-hand-drive markets like, I don’t know, England. Still, cargo space was up big time over the regular hatch model, and the half-door made rear seat access a breeze. Sure, four wiper blades made annual servicing a bit more expensive, but it was worth it given the nimble chassis and proper practicality.

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Unfortunately, the old Clubman just wasn’t big enough for most people searching for a more spacious Mini, so the whole vehicle got a much bigger redesign in 2015. Length increased by more than a foot, width was up by more than three inches, and the wheelbase had grown enough to fit two full-sized doors on each side of the vehicle. Mind you, despite model bloat of biblical proportions, the revised Clubman was still more than 11 inches shorter than a Mk7 Volkswagen Golf wagon.

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Despite being more of a maxi than a mini, the second-generation Clubman was genuinely good to drive. Its sharp steering and chassis made the Volkswagen GTI feel positively sterile without sucker-punching its driver in the coccyx like a Ford Focus RS every time it rolled over an ant. The B48 two-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine may have only pumped out 189 horsepower in Cooper S trim, but the torque curve was absolutely prodigal. What’s more, the B48 was massively more reliable than the Peugeot-derived N18 motor in the old Clubman Cooper S, to the point where the second-generation Clubman Cooper S is a rather sensible used car pick.

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What’s more, the Clubman is genuinely practical. There’s 17.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, perfect for a week’s worth of shopping. The rear seats are sized for actual adult humans and don’t require occupants to undergo Cirque du Soleil training for ingress and egress. We’re talking about a Mini sized for Americans without being a full-blown crossover like the Countryman.

Mini Clubman Final Edition interior

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If everyone drooling on the internet over brown, manual wagons simply put their money where there mouth was, there’d be a Clubman at every car meet. Sure, it was a bit expensive, but niche products almost always are. Enthusiasts are a small subset of the car-buying public, so products catering to them usually carry higher price tags to recoup development costs. Still, if you keep from falling head-first into the options list, it’s possible to spec out a Clubman for reasonable money. The Clubman Cooper S starts at $33,895 including a $995 freight charge and comes with heaps of standard kit. Also, barn doors! Those are such a rarity outside vans.

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Mind you, I wouldn’t expect the Mini Clubman Cooper S Final Edition to be particularly inexpensive. With flash copper accents, wild wheels, and dark maroon leather, this is a Clubman that went to town at the options buffet. Available only in Nanuq White, Enigmatic Black, and Melting Silver, only 1,969 of these run-out models will ever be made. As for what will effectively replace the Clubman, all signs point towards a sub-Countryman crossover previewed by the Aceman concept. It feels like Mini’s almost telling us that we get what we deserve, doesn’t it?

(Photo credits: Mini)

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And They Called Him Gearhead
And They Called Him Gearhead
1 year ago

You’re right about the Clubman possessing enough charm / style to offset the higher horsepower competition. But for the money? Mini assigned the Clubman to the burn pile when it refused to give it the competitive edge it needed.

I’m a CO resident and was looking in 2018 for something AWD, stick shift and fun to replace my 2010 GTI that wasn’t the typical Rocky Mountain Subie Sled. I was CERTAIN a Clubman JCW All4 was in my future when I first saw one. Mini looks, barn doors, gorgeous redesigned interior with plenty of options to make it uniquely -mine- on the inside and out. Couple Mini’s legendary driving dynamics with what was -surely- a substantial bump from the S and I was sold… right?

That’s when I test drove one and found out it made LESS horsepower than my current 8 year old GTI in a car that weighed 450 lbs more (the latter not bothering me as much as the former).

The. Definitive. Hottest version of the Clubman… and the best we could do was 228hp??

So I put the search on hold hearing rumors a more powerful engine was coming. Sure enough, BMW plopped that 306hp hulk of a 4cyl into the Clubman JCW the next year but… yet again… in Mini’s RACIEST version of the Clubman, something serious was missing: no more stick. In a Mini. A MINI. With no stick option. Remind me what the point is again?

I was ready to throw down north of $40k for a -MINI- that I thought would be the best expression of what they could engineer in refined, fun, useful chassis that wasn’t an SUV -per say- and I couldn’t have the one thing that made a Mini a Mini (besides size).

I bought a brand new 6-speed Golf R for less money than I would have been out the door on the Clubman and am still enjoying my 300hp mighty hatch ever since.

If Mini has any hope of surviving, they need to remember that funneling Countrymans into production might bring them profit if they can sell enough, but forgetting the spirit of the brand will alienate the people who sell more cars than any salesman: the evangelical enthusiasts. The ones who tell everyone who will listen about their rad fire breathing Clubman. Listen to your fans, NOT the “trend predictors” at BMW, Mini and you’ll sell more than you thought possible.

Jac Camara
Jac Camara
11 months ago

I finally have a job that’s going to allow me to buy a nice car, and I want the clubman, I love it, but no stick, in any version (I’ll buy the 189 and add parts if I feel I need to. I’ve got everything picked out, it’s perfect, but no stick. Maybe I’ll just get a 2 door? I don’t know.

i3 Driving Indicator Fetishist
i3 Driving Indicator Fetishist
1 year ago

I loved my 2010 Clubman S, such a fun car.

JaredTheGeek
JaredTheGeek
1 year ago

Give me an electric Mini Clubman and I would be happy.

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