Drive and conclusion

So with a new engine and new gearbox, this Clubman Cooper is really beginning to resemble something out of BMW’s product line.

That’s right – the 2 Series Active Tourer. And in case you’re wondering, yes they share the same chassis.

But that’s not a bad thing at all, because BMW has always found a way to create a balance between dynamism and refinement; and although MINI would rather I not talk about BMW as much (because it is after all a MINI review), getting BMW parts is really no bad thing.

The Clubman Cooper feels pretty similar to its more expensive brother, except that because it doesn’t have adaptive dampers and is a bit more comfort oriented in the way it rides. It still is every bit as refined as the Cooper S, but lacks the stiffened chassis when you want to push it hard because Sport mode now only tightens the steering and makes the throttle angrier.

Surprisingly, the engine in the Cooper actually doesn’t feel all that underpowered. When revved hard it pulls the car along fairly quickly and doesn’t run out of breath like in a BMW. That said the turbo does take a noticeable while to spool up so if you want it to feel quick you’ll have to knock the gear lever over into S mode and let it hold on to lower gears at higher RPMs.

The 6-speed automatic gearbox does its job excellently and can be left to its own devices without issue. You can still manually override the gears, just knock the stick to the left and take control thereafter. It’s still pretty zippy around town and can take corners pretty decently, albeit with some body roll and a bit less composure than the Cooper S.

Those minor differences though are probably not worth the difference in price, because you save over 20 grand from the Cooper as compared to the S, and the smaller engine means less fuel will be burnt too which equates to even more money in the bank.

So was I taken by surprise with the Cooper S?

Certainly.

And the Cooper?

That’s an even better surprise.

In Summary

We Like

Still possess the refined ride and handling characteristics

We Don't

Noticeable turbo lag

Verdict

Would I pay the extra 20 odd grand more for the Cooper S after driving this? Probably not.

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Engine

Engine Capacity 1499cc
Engine Type Inline 3
Compression Ratio 11:1
Bore x Stroke (82 x 94.6)mm
Power 136bhp @ 4400rpm
Torque 220Nm @ 1250rpm

Performance

Acceleration 9.1s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 205 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 18.5 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Auto
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type 5 Door Hatch
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4253 x 1800 x 1441) mm
Wheelbase 2670 mm
Turning Circle 11.31 metres
Boot Capacity 360 L
Boot Capacity (folded) 1250 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs