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Where size matters

A grown up MINI that's able to be a proper family car. But does it still retain its MINIness?
OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
03 Mar 2016
What we like:
Refined ride and driving characteristics
What we dislike:
Costs a lot of money

Powered by MINI’s 2.0l 189 bhp four cylinder engine, the Clubman Cooper S is actually quite a brisk car to drive. During my short stint with the car, it rained quite heavily at one point and I quickly discovered that if you floor the throttle on a wet road from a standing start, the car struggles to get all the power on to the road and the traction control light sees some use.

This is courtesy of the 280 torques that the engine delivers and with a dry weight of just under one and a half tonnes, the car is not what you’d call heavy by today’s standards.

All these translate into a car that’s zippy, quick to accelerate and all around rather lively and agile. Nought to 100 km/h is done in 7.1s, but in the real world it feels much quicker than that number suggests.

The Cooper S version also comes with adjustable dampers, which means that you can get the chassis to stiffen up in Sport mode and drive in a more vibrant manner. Do that and you’ll find out that the car is a peach around the bends despite being longer than its smaller cousins with the suspension keeping body movement in check minimising body roll.

There’s not much understeer; simply lift of the throttle and the car is easy to correct. And if you chuck it around a corner too quickly, you’ll find that the car actually has a tendency to want to swing its rear out.

Of course most people would never drive their MINIs like the raving lunatics motoring journalists are, but the Clubman Cooper S retains all of the MINI driving fun that’s characterised (in their own words) by a sense of go-kartness and that all around agility and liveliness. Paired to a sensible and quick shifting 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters and ride quality that’s more BMW than MINI, I’d say this is a MINI for grownups who still need to get in touch with their inner child. Just more frequently behind the wheel of this car.

Credits: Story and Photos by Alvan Sio

Cars in this article
MINI Cooper S Clubman (A) 2016

MINI Cooper S Clubman (A) 2016

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