- We attend a sneak preview of the new MINI Clubman
- Spacious, frugal and yet still retains the MINI character we love
- Set to rival the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Since MINI launched the five-door hatchback just over a year ago its appeal in the fleet industry has rocketed - so much so that in 2015 the firm is expecting that 15 percent of total sales will come from the fleet arena. That represents a huge up-lift over years gone by, and could grow further with the launch of the new MINI Clubman.
We were invited to a preview evening at MINI's new HQ in Farnborough for a sneak peak.
Moving on up
The new Clubman is significantly longer and wider than the previous model and as a result moves away from rivals like the Peugeot 208 and towards largers cars such as the Audi A3, Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.
This is unchartered territory for the brand and MINI is hoping that its distinctive styling, practical features and focus on comfort will set the Clubman apart from its rivals.
Featuring six doors as standard and significantly more interior space than before, the new model retains those infamous barn doors at the rear and offers boot space of 360 litres - 100 litres up from the previous Clubman.
It’s also 270mm longer and 73mm wider than the MINI five-door hatch, with a wheelbase which is 100mm larger making it a more practical family option on your user-chooser list.
You’ll have three versions of the Clubman to choose from; Cooper, Cooper D and Cooper S. It's mid-range Cooper D that is likely to appeal most to company car drivers though, as under the bonnet lies a four-cylinder 2-litre diesel engine emitting 109g/km of CO2 and offering an official combined fuel consumption of 68.9mpg.
This places the MINI Clubman Cooper D in a 19 percent BIK tax band for the current 2015/16 year, with a P11D price of £22,210 it’ll cost a 20 percent tax payer just £70 a month.
The diesel engine offers 148bhp and 330Nm of torque, which means it can complete the 0-62mph sprint in 8.6 seconds and run up to a top speed of 132mph.
Both the entry-level Cooper and Cooper S models will be fitted with petrol engines. The 2-litre, four-cylinder unit in the Cooper S offers 189bhp and 280Nm of torque which can accelerate the car from 0-62mph in just over seven seconds.
Although the least powerful of the three engines, the 1.5-litre three-cylinder powertrain under the bonnet of the entry-level Cooper can achieve the 0-62mph sprint in 9.1 seconds courtesy of the 134bhp and 220Nm of torque available. Running costs for this model are respectable too with a combined fuel consumption of 55.4mpg, plus CO2 emissions of 118g/km placing this model into a 18 percent BIK tax band for the current 2015/16 year.
All models come equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox, however a new eight-speed automatic transmission will be available as an option on Cooper D and Cooper S models.
Sat-nav as standard
All MINI Clubmans will be equipped with sat-nav, 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, keyless start, and central display with LED ring as standard.
Every car will also be fitted with the MINI Excitement Package as standard, which includes a projection of the brand logo on to the ground beneath the driver’s side door mirror for 20 seconds when the car is locked or unlocked. You also get extended interior lighting.
Top-of-the-range Cooper S models also feature 17-inch alloys, twin exhausts, performance control and sports seats.
As with all MINIs there will be a variety of option packs available to choose from. The Chilli Pack, which is selected by over half of the current hatchback's buyers, is expected to be even more popular in the new Clubman and features cloth/leather upholstery with heated sports seats, parking sensors, air-con, LED headlights, and keyless entry and boot opening.
The new MINI Clubman will be officially unveiled to the public at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month with first deliveries expected to start in November.