What Changed for 2009:
- New extended-length Cooper model
- Clubman model is 9.4 inches longer than regular Mini hardtop
- Split rear "barn doors" recall Mini heritage
- Rear-hinged Clubdoor on right side eases access to back seat
- Most of additional length is devoted to rear-passenger leg room
- Cooper and turbocharged Cooper S versions available
- For 2009, Mini adds high-performance John Cooper Works editions
Reacting to concerns about lack of rear-seat leg room in its retro-styled hatchback, initially launched for 2002
, Mini has introduced extended-length Clubman models for 2009. Offered in both regular Cooper and turbocharged Cooper S form, the Clubman models feature split "barn doors" at the rear, instead of the customary lifting hatchback. The unique doors are hinged at the outer edge of the C-pillars-a similar design had been used in the 1960s on variants of the original Mini. The left (main) door must be opened prior to the right one (and closed last). Rear-seat occupants receive easier access via a rear-hinged Clubdoor on the right-hand side. As soon as the front passenger door has been opened, the Clubdoor may be opened, promising four times the customary space to enter the rear seats (when the front passenger seat is in easy-entry position).
Mini promises the same "go-kart" handling with the Clubman that drivers expect in a hatchback model. Like regular Minis, the Clubman seats 4 occupants. Mini unveiled a Crossover Concept
at the Paris Motor Show
in October 2008 that promises even more interior space and utility. A production model of the crossover is likely in the near future. Mini produced the last convertibles of the prior generation in July 2008. Only hardtop coupes are offered for the 2009 model year. Like regular Coopers, the Clubmans are built in Oxford, England. They went on sale in February 2008, as 2009 models.
For 2009, Mini also has revived the John Cooper Works ("JCW") models, as a new sub-brand. JCW Minis have been offered for more than four decades, but disappeared temporarily. Debuting in March 2008 at the Geneva (Switzerland) Motor Show, the JCW editions made their North American premiere at the New York Auto Show shortly afterward. Technical advances that include direct injection and a twin-scroll turbocharger boost output of the 1.6-liter engine to 208 hp.Model Lineup
Like the standard-length Minis, Clubman models come in regular Cooper and turbocharged Cooper S form. Both have a standard 6-speed manual gearbox. Six-speed automatic transmissions are optional for each model. A standard Sport button for the automatic transmission increases steering forces for tighter handling and sportier feedback to the driver, Mini says.
Measuring 9.4 inches longer overall than the Mini Cooper hatchback, the Clubman is built on a wheelbase that's 3.2 inches longer. Luggage space is 61 percent greater with rear seats up (9.2 cubic feet, versus the usual 5.7 cubic feet). With both rear seats folded, the Clubman has 32.8 cubic feet rather than the customary 24 cubic feet. An optional flat-luggage-floor system includes a covered storage bin between the "barn doors" and seatbacks. Most of the increased wheelbase provides extra rear leg room, but shoulder space also is slightly greater than in the Mini hatchbacks. A new partnership with Original Wraps Inc. makes a number of interior/exterior graphics items and other accessories available, to personalize any Mini. Options include ambient lighting, Bluetooth connectivity, and automatic climate control.Powertrain
In the regular Cooper Clubman, a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine develops 118 hp at 6000 rpm, and 114 lb.-ft. of torque at 4250 rpm. A Getrag 6-speed manual gearbox is standard, with a 6-speed automatic transmission optional. Cooper S Clubman models use a turbocharged version of the 1.6-liter engine, rated 172 hp at 5500 rpm and 177 lb.-ft. of torque from 1600 to 5000 rpm. A Getrag 6-speed manual transmission is standard; a 6-speed automatic transmission is optional.
To satisfy high-performance enthusiasts, JCW editions also are available. In JCW trim, the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine generates 208 hp at 6000 rpm and 192 lb.-ft. of torque (between 1850 and 5600 rpm). Torque output momentarily increases to 207 lb.-ft. under heavy acceleration, Mini says.
According to EPA estimates, Mini Clubman models achieve the same fuel economy as regular Mini Coopers. Specifically, the regular-engine Clubman receives an estimate of 28 mpg city/37 mpg highway with manual shift, and 25 mpg city/34 mpg highway with an automatic transmission. The Clubman S earns an estimate of 26 mpg city/34 mpg highway with the manual gearbox, and 23 mpg city/32 mpg highway with automatic transmission.Safety
Six air bags are standard on the 2009 Mini Cooper Clubman, including side-impact and curtain-type air bags. Anti-lock braking with electronic brake-force distribution and Corner Brake Control are also standard. All-season traction control is installed, along with Dynamic Stability Control. Starting in December 2008, Dynamic Traction Control (a sportier mode of Dynamic Stability Control) becomes optional-a "first" for any Mini, according to the company. Manual-shift models have Hill Assist start-off, which holds the brakes for up to three seconds after letting up on the pedal and before the clutch is engaged. That can keep the car from rolling back when starting off on an uphill grade.
The 2009 Cooper Clubman has not yet been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA
) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS
Clubman innovations include the small rear "barn doors," a design used in the 1960s by the Austin Mini Countryman, Morris Minor Traveller, and Mini Clubman Estate, and the new side "Clubdoor." The rear barn doors glide open using gas struts.
Full-scale technological advances are highlighted in the JCW editions. They utilize a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct injection to increase engine power. Race-bred equipment includes high-performance brakes, sport suspension, low-back-pressure exhaust system, and modified 6-speed manual transmission. Exclusive 17-inch light alloy wheels are wrapped in high-performance tires. Electrically-assisted steering includes a "sport" setting. Dynamic Stability Control now incorporates Dynamic Traction Control, which is a "first" for Mini. In the JCW models, Dynamic Stability Control also incorporates Electronic Differential Lock Control, activated in DCS-Off mode, enhancing stability and cornering ability during "sporting" maneuvers, Mini claims. A JCW Clubman accelerates to 60 mph in a claimed 6.5 seconds.