Thursday, 24 November 2016 12:33

Spring Motoring Festival Part 2: The Mini Clubman

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The Mini Cooper Clubman was released in 2016 The Mini Cooper Clubman was released in 2016 Pictures provided by Melrose Arch Mini

The Austin Mini Cooper has come a long way since it was the quintessentially British ride of the 1960s, becoming the Beatles' mode of transport on their Magical Mystery Tour and featuring in movies like The Italian Job and A Shot in the Dark. Even Mary Quant paid homage to her favourite car, the Mini, naming her iconic skirt after it.

The icon:

The first generation Mini Hatch was first introduced at the end of 2000, after the original Mini built by British Leyland was discontinued that very year. And then, delight of delights, a soft top convertible Mini was available in 2005, the only thing that the original "box on wheels" lacked. The Mini had sass, it had heart, it fought above its weight on the racetrack and off- and now the roof opened up.

The experience:

The best Mini yet was the one that I had the opportunity to pick up from the Melrose Arch MINI dealership recently - the Mini Clubman. The biggest Mini available on the market it is, as an envious spectator said, "more of a Maxi than a Mini". Its a SuperMini, in fact!

No time like the present for an immediate Instagram moment with the marketing team and some MINIlove.

No doubt about it, the Mini Clubman is a headturner. From the moment I drew up at The Inanda Club where the Absa Champagne Festival was being held for the bank's private clients, my shiny black Mini Clubman with its go-faster white stripes, got compliments.

Heidi Duminy from Great Domaines, who was showcasing Barons de Rothschilds boutique bubbles at the festival, jumped out of her snazzy yellow Renault Clio and ran over to have a look.

Not only did the Mini spin heads in the carpark but it got R-E-S-P-E-C-T on the road. All the petrol pump attendants were extremely clued up and filled my model up immediately. "This year's model," they said, admiringly shaking their heads and lovingly soaping the windscreen, "This is a beautiful car."

Obviously the Mini is a marque with clout, in fact, serious fashion influencer Trevor Stuurman drives one in Johannesburg.

The car was the perfect shape and size for a parking space, so I did not have to stress about anyone opening their car door on it or scratching it. I loved the split door with its Easy Opener function and the boot was huge, considering the size of the car, with room for enormous amounts of shopping (a 360 litre luggage capacity, wow), although some ignorant person told me it looked like a hearse. The death of bad taste, perhaps?

Two tiny little gripes: firstly, I was not used to the split doors so they obstructed my vision of the rear windscreen, The second gripe was that driving in traffic meant using the Stop/Start function a lot so that which chewed up the petrol.

The interior:

I enjoyed the interior too, the round control panels that harked back to its Swinging Sixties days teamed with a Stop/Start keyless function, a discotheque-like dashboard that lit up in different colours, a high res reversing camera, MINI Connected app and an option for a full interior customisation! 

The engine: 

So far, the aesthetics alone earned the Mini Clubman a huge tick. But it is not a girly car - not by any manner of means and would appeal to any testosterone addicted petrolhead.

The engine underneath that stylish hood contains pure BMW voomah

We are talking a modular 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, with a 189 horsepower, and 207 pound-feet of torque.


Final impression: 


The Mini Clubman is cool, sexy and drives like a boss. A strong contender for my next new car!




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