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We shake the passengers out of the new Mini Clubman hatchback.

Shaking passengers out of the new Mini Clubman hatchback.

For the usual Mini Clubman Cooper in Russia they ask from 1,349,000 rubles, and for the Cooper S – from 1,679,000. There is also an all-wheel drive “Esca” for 1,839,000 rubles. All versions are initially equipped with a manual gearbox, and the surcharge for an automatic transmission is 82,500 rubles.

Mini cars have the clearest ideology. Regardless of the model name, the number of doors, the type of engine, its recoil or the richness of the equipment, any Mini is a car for the driver, and nothing more. Those who do not hold onto the steering wheel, but the door handrails, are superfluous.

I was again convinced of this on the example of the new Clubman hatch. It has become more spacious, especially in the second row, its trunk is now more spacious, but this does not change the essence of the matter. In the six-door hatchback, as the creators themselves call it, only one enjoys life – at least if the car is shod with optional Run Flat tires, like all experimental hatchs at the presentation in Kaliningrad.

We are driving a Cooper version with a 136-horsepower three-cylinder 1.5 turbo engine, adaptive suspension and 17-inch wheels. I am a passenger. Shakes wow!

On the paving stones, which Kaliningrad is so rich in, my teeth do not fall on my teeth. Yes, and on asphalt roads bumps “to the touch” are much more than by eye – now a pit with sharp edges, now a large step from a patch. By hoisting the Clubman on a new platform, the British promised more comfort.

But in our conditions, this increase is barely noticeable – in no mode of electronically controlled shock absorbers there is not even a hint of smoothness.

Having barely endured my passenger watch, I finally found myself behind the wheel. The dense embossed seat, made as if for me, is located low. The side bolsters perfectly hold the body, the cushion adjustable in length does not bind the legs, the steering wheel, which is optimal for the thickness of the rim, is installed almost vertically.

I would find this fit ideal if it were not for the door armrest, against which I rest my elbow, turning the steering wheel to the left..

I turn the steering wheel almost without stopping – not only because it is better to go around the pits on the Clubman, but also because this car is simply pleasant to steer. How responsive he is! Even a slight deviation of the steering wheel is perceived as a command “face” – and immediately rushes into a turn, devouring it without choking.

It is a pity, it is impossible to “untie” the mode of operation of the electric power steering from the shock absorbers: in “Sport” the steering wheel is too viscous. But even in this “overloaded” form, the management is gambling, precise and understandable. The same praise goes to effective brakes..

One and a half liter motor of stars from the sky is not enough, but in the city its 136 forces and 220 N • m are more than enough. Peak traction is just above

1000 rpm. Moreover, its life-giving flow does not subside up to 4300 rpm.

And if you put the power unit in Sport mode, sharpening the reaction to the accelerator, the movement becomes dynamic without any discounts. In addition, you can use the sports mode of the six-speed “automatic” Aisin – it will quickly switch to lower gears and keep the tachometer needle longer in the high-speed zone.

Even more emotional Clubman Cooper S with a two-liter “four” (192 hp, 280 N • m). Against the background of Cooper’s poor sound, he is perceived as a graduate of a music school. At idle, it perks up loudly, grumbles menacingly on the move, and starts clapping from the exhaust system when the gas is dumped. The first hundred is obeyed by the one and a half ton “esque” in 7.1 s against 9.1 for the basic version.

Overtaking on the highway takes a matter of seconds, thanks in part to the clever “automatic”. This is also Aisin, but already eight-speed.

I call the electronically controlled “Eski” suspension only “all living things die.” With the same ground clearance (141 mm), it is perceived to be even more rigid than in the 1.5-liter version, including due to the tires increased by an inch. Regardless of the selected chassis mode, shocks and bumps from potholes are rougher, shaking on paving stones is angrier, and the metallic clang from the front wheels is louder. Passengers will not be forgiven, but for the enthusiast behind the wheel, this level of comfort is an acceptable part of the Mini’s image.

After all, Clubman Cooper S skillfully plays on the strings of the driver’s soul: the reactions are even faster, the hold is tighter, and the deceleration is more intense..

Youthful design, double-leaf tailgate, cool powertrains, quality interior and spacious back row. However, if driving a car is not more interesting for you than a trip on the subway, and the thirst for comfort prevails over other feelings, the Mini Clubman is not your friend. Only a person who is ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of his driving benefit can accept the Mini philosophy.

And the fact that the Clubman made a full five-seater and hung six doors on the body is just a disguise for his approval at family councils. Be carefull!

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