30 July 2007

New Clubman is as ugly as 60s version shock!

Mini has released official pictures and specifications of the Clubman

Mini Clubman

We're still in shock.

Hitting the streets in three engine variants (D, Cooper and Cooper S - there will be no base 'One'), the Clubman is basically a miniature estate for people with very small livestock to transport.

It boasts 8cm more legroom for the three rear passengers (it's now a five-seater if you so wish) and 260-litres of bootspace with the seats in place - which is still pretty bad despite the Clubman being some 24cm longer than the hatch and some 2cm higher.

We've yet to see the car in the metal, but the whole 'modern re-interpretation' schtick is also slightly wearing. The two-piece split rear doors for instance, need a pair of both windscreen wipers and door handles - meaning that the two-tone rear is looks cluttered.

Oh yeah, that two tone rear; best opt for solid colours all round, the Clubman's C-pillars and back bumper can be painted either silver or black, the roof can be silver, black or body colour and that there are 12 colours to choose from, so expect the fashion police to be working overtime.

It gets, er, better. The new 'Clubdoor' appears only on one side of the car and is a kind of half-suicide arrangement that opens from the inside only. Unfortunately for the 'British' Mini, it's on the right-hand side of the car, so opens into traffic - presumably put there for the LHD markets. Also, from pictures TG.com have seen, the Clubdoor hangs the front seatbelt out of the door at ankle-tripping height...

So there are less successful bits of this new variant. But at least the hardware should stand up to scrutiny - Mini assure us that the Clubman will not compromise the Mini's 'revered driving dynamics'. We will also see the Clubman get Stop/Start, brake regeneration and GPI (Gearshift Point Indicator) to help make the most of every litre of fuel - let's just hope they use it to park the things backwards.

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