The MINI Cooper Clubman is a wagon or ‘estate’ version of the regular MINI Cooper hatchback and was first introduced back in 2008. That’s technically wrong to say as the Clubman has been around since the days of the original Mini Minor back in the 1960s and ‘70s.
The latest generation Clubman, based on the new MINI range, follows in the footsteps of its predecessors by offering a longer and more practical wagon body for the MINI Cooper, which results in a longer wheelbase, more doors and extra cargo space.
The Clubman is easily the most practical in the modern MINI lineup after the Countryman crossover
, the latter being a new addition for the 2011 model year.
At a starting price of $21,800, key competitors for the 2011 MINI Cooper Clubman would be the Volkswagen Golf and Mazda3, while the slightly more expensive--and sportier--Clubman S, which lists at $25,500, would probably go on to compete with the likes of the GTI and Mazdaspeed3 hot-hatches.
Despite the Clubman being a more practical model, we’re glad to report that there’s a high-performance John Cooper Works variant. John Cooper Works, or JCW for short, is MINI’s performance branding and is only applied to the fastest and best handling models in the MINI lineup.
In the case of the 2011 MINI Cooper Clubman John Cooper Works, you get a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine with 208 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque on tap. Other specs include 17-inch wheels, MacPherson strut suspension in the front and a multi-link setup in the rear.
The sporty Clubman JCW also features an ‘overboost’ function that bumps torque up to 206 pound-feet momentarily during hard acceleration, helping the 0-60 mph time to pass in just 6.5 seconds.
That may not seem that quick but when you’re this close to the ground in a car whose wheels are pushed to the corners, you’ll suddenly understand what reviewers mean when they say a car has a “go-kart feel”.
The standard models are almost as fun, with the Clubman S getting a less powerful turbocharged 1.6-liter unit rated at 181 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. The base model, the regular Clubman, comes with a naturally aspirated version of this engine and just 121 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque.
We strongly recommend you get a turbo model--Clubman S or Clubman JCW--as the increased level of performance is very noticeable and simply so much fun. The same can be said for the difference between the standard manual transmission and available auto.
For a detailed review of the 2011 MINI Cooper Clubman, including a closer look at its styling, performance, quality and safety, head over to TheCarConnection