I was at Good Wood Revival enjoying the vintages Minis racing on the track. They just looked so damn cool. This was a few days before my road trip to Bruges to review the Mini Clubman. The Mini brand is still loved by all around the world and the revival of this brand was the only good thing to have come out of BMWs ill-fated purchase of Rover.
The revival of Mini is why it is celebrating its 60th anniversary.
I was more impressed that it is Mini’s sixty year anniversary, and that the brand is still as funky, relevant, fun and super cool still in 2019.
BMW has done so well to continue to create Mini’s that are current to the city market in this digital fast world. No matter who and what age you choose to drive a Mini Clubman, the Mini is a lifestyle and fashion car that we all want to be seen in.
How many car brands can say that?
The new Mini Clubman is a car that is well suited for European and United Kingdom cobblestones and narrow streets. Driving in Bruges, the Mini Clubman is a car that still turns heads in envy for those outsiders. It is a show pony vehicle with a huge practical balance.
Mini Clubman owners are those who live the super fast but effortlessly edgy lifestyle of the modern day demands. Strike a pose darling welcome to the Bruges Job!
What Is New?
What is new for 2019 regarding a MINI, the Clubman’s? There are new colours for the characterful exterior styling. It is faster than ever with the John Cooper Works version. There are host of new wheel options. And just like a bespoke suit, the Mini Clubman caters for the individual needs and personality.
The distinctive silhouette and infamous split rear doors remain an obvious and important DNA to the Clubman’s heritage, both recent and historic.
Boot space for me is so important in small cars. So when I opened the unique double-door tailgate, the 360-litre luggage bay was music to my ears. To get a whopping 1 250 litres of boot space was very possible just by simply folding the rear seats down.
MINI John Cooper Works Clubman The Fastest Model
The new MINI John Cooper Works Clubman is the fastest model ever approved for public road use with a 0-62mph time of just 4.9 seconds. Driving from Bruge back to the United Kingdom was so much fun. It sounded very sporty, and the feel-good factor was never-ending.
For the first time, the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman has a newly designed 4-cylinder engine with TwinPower Turbo technology, offering 306 hp and 450 Nm Torque.
I just stepped out of two very powerful electric cars and was very impressed with the take-off the sound and speed overall of the mini. I forgot how nippy they are.
The Clubman JCW’s potent motor is mated with a new 8-speed Steptronic transmission, which works in conjunction with an integrated font-axle differential lock and a revised ALL4 all-wheel-drive system. Mini claims a 0 to 100 kph sprint time of 4.9 seconds for this version, which is 1.4 seconds faster to the mark than the previous Clubman JCW. It’s also the first time that a Mini’s top speed has been electronically limited to 250 kph.
Exterior colour for me in a Mini is so important. There is so much I could choose by to create my own unique and niche Mini. It is all about being exclusive after all. Choosing colours is like choosing a pair of shoes it comes down to the individual. So the new colour Indian Summer was the least of my favourite but for others they loved it. It was refreshing, however but not my cup of tea.
The black Mini looked mean, fast and durable, very BMW DNA. With added stripes etc it was a perfect backdrop to add my own touches. Black on the runway for 2020 is a huge colour. I would add some gold stripes it would certainly be very chic
However my favourite of all was the Rebel Green. This retro vibe and ambience ticked all the boxes. It also matched my vintage leather and silk top. This was unplanned so it is why I fell in love with it. That is what the Mini Clubman is all about, the unexpected love affair that unfolds.
If we are focusing on interior design, the mood board was endless and the feel-good factor was spot on. Trending a retro vibe, I am referring to the changeable light-surrounds which added splashes of colour to the interior. My mood-board was always changing depending on which Bruges corners I was taking. The brighter the colours were the more super fun I felt. Perfect for those winter days coming up.
As I get older my eyes need bigger fonts. So I loved the large, central 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen system, with integrated navigation (optional). I always seem to make wrong turns and in the city of Bruges, this is easy to do. But I could read and understand the navigation from the word go. I liked how I could control the system using the familiar Mini Controller on the centre console. Nothing new but I like GPS’s to be user-friendly.
I was on my own but I did sit in the back to test rear passenger space and I found space was ample in all directions. That is so amazing about the Mini Clubman and the MINI 3-Door Hatch still remains the strongest car on the market for Mini.
The ample of space combined with style is why my kids would be more than happy in the back. I could throw as much fashion items in the back with easy access to it.
Pops And Bangs Overload
The pops and bangs in the cars over the last two years have been in overdrive. On most occasions, it was an overkill and ridiculous devaluing of the concept. For me pops and bangs belongs to certain car brands. So it was nice and refreshing that BMW respected the European noise regulations. Well done to the Mini’s engineers who chose to dial back on the pops and bangs to prevent suburban road rage by ruining people’s peaceful rests in Bruges.
Trust me the Mini Clubman turned heads, it does not need to be loud to be cool. The Mini Clubman is funky in its own right.
Euro Tunnel Access
Driving into the train at the Euro Tunnel for me was a revisit to the final scene of the Italian Job movie. I find driving into this train quite challenging. It is very narrow, steep and the pressure of cars behind me is stressing. But in the Mini Clubman, I felt fast and in control.
Check out our Instagram video to see how I got on.
It was amazing to imagine replicating the Italian Job being fast, nippy and making an entrance and exit in the super funky and cool way whilst on the Eurotunnel. The slow steep descent when exiting was even more thrilling driving out of the train.
As I sat there sipping my coffee and eating an obscene amount of chocolate I legally took. For me it is why the Mini Clubman is like a box of Chocolates. You never know what it is like unless you taste one for yourself.
Mini Clubman Lifestyle
I decided to ignore the routes given to me by team BMW. I wanted to test this Mini Clubman around one of the most beautiful cities in Belgium, Bruges. I wanted to test how easy it was to park? How fast it was to manoeuvre on those cobblestones and around the narrow streets?
I wanted to hear that engine and attract peoples attention.
The definition for manoeuvre is about moving skilfully or carefully. “the lorry was unable to manoeuvre comfortably in the narrow street” Yes that lorry manoeuvre was very hard but in the Mini Clubman it was fast, nippy, stylish, practical and empowering.
I wanted to test if the GPS was spot on regarding one-way street?. Revision mirrors in the last year have had a huge redesign and some can be very odd in shape and resulting in being very unsafe.
So I want to discover how accurate the Mini Clubman revision mirrors were? They were easy and spot-on to use. Especially in Bruges where bikes rule the roost and they come out of nowhere. I certainly tested the unexpected braking in the Mini Clubman it was was perfect.
Thanks to the local football match there were many unexpected police checks occurring. I was intrigued regarding their reaction to this Mini Clubman. I noticed they liked opening the infamous split rear doors. I understand Dutch well, Yes I know, they speak Flemish.
For me driving a Mini Clubman is all about striking a pose and getting the public reactions and the Mini Clubman is a car for cities, not long drives. In saying that, driving from the United Kingdom to Belgium and back was very comfortable and in the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman overtaking was effortless.
Owning a Mini Clubman is about a certain lifestyle. Just like delicious desserts, champaign or soaking in a bath. It has to be experienced for oneself.