2011 Mini Cooper Clubman Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Mini Cooper Clubman was new.


Performance: 8.2

The Mini Cooper Clubman is fun-to-drive, but some test drivers report that its power and handling capabilities aren’t as sporty as its smaller variant, the Mini Cooper Hardtop. As with the rest of the Mini line, fuel economy is excellent.

  • "I'm surprised to find that whipping around with the additional length and 177 extra pounds is not a problem. The Clubman is a long and heavy kitty, but she's still a cat. This much is clear as we bound from corner to corner; slow in, only to claw out fast under full throttle -- so quick, I question whether the regular Mini would be better out here." -- Motor Trend
  • "With its distinguished rally-racing history, the Mini is born for twisty roads, where it feels alive, edgy and high in testosterone. Especially in tighter quarters, the Mini can bob, feint and counterpunch its way to an upset over weightier, stronger competition." -- The New York Times

Acceleration and Power

Both the base Cooper Clubman and the Cooper S Clubman get more power for the 2011 model year. The base Cooper Clubman produces 121 horsepower, and the Cooper S Clubman produces 181 horsepower.

Despite an increase in horsepower, the Cooper Clubman keeps the engines it had last year: a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine on the base model and a 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine on the Cooper S. Fuel economy for both engines is very good. The base model gets 27/36 mpg city/highway with an automatic transmission and 27/35 mpg with a six-speed manual transmission. Fuel economy on the Cooper S is almost identical – 27/36 mpg with a manual transmission and 26/34 mpg with the automatic. While fuel economy is great, keep in mind that the Cooper Clubman uses premium fuel, which means you’ll pay more at the pump.

  • "The close gear ratios will have manual-transmission drivers changing gears quite often, but power is perfectly acceptable for the majority of owners. The Cooper S and John Cooper Works models will likely bring a smile to more enthusiastic drivers, with the turbo providing a generous helping of oomph with barely a hint of lag. Regardless of which Clubman you choose, prepare to have fun." -- Edmunds
  • "The Clubman is definitely a pay cut down from the joys of operating a regular Mini Cooper. The extra 200 pounds and 3.2-inches between the axles take a noticeable bite out of poise and agility. Turn-in is slower, the ability to jink through an S-bend more sluggish. The extra oomph available from the turbo motor is genuinely necessary to lift momentum to a fruitful plane." -- Automobile Magazine

Handling and Braking

Not all test drivers are impressed with the 2011 Cooper Clubman’s handling. They say that unlike the Mini Cooper Hardtop, the Cooper Clubman’s handling is less sporty. However, because the Cooper Clubman is heavier and longer than the Hardtop, this change is expected. For a sportier ride, test drive the Mini Cooper S Clubman, which has an optional sport-tuned suspension.

  • "But, as with any size Mini, Clubman's sports-tuned suspension makes it so agile and nimble, and steering response is so quick and accurate, that the machine feels more potent than it is." -- Chicago Tribune
  • "A trade-off for the car's spry handling is a slightly harsh ride quality (stick with smaller wheels unless you're a performance-minded buyer). There's also a tendency for the reasonable price to skyrocket as options are piled on. The electric-assist power steering makes maneuvering at slow speeds effortless, while hitting the Sport button (standard on every Clubman) firms up the steering and sharpens throttle response. For some, though, the stiff suspension may be a bit jarring, particularly on the John Cooper Works model and the Cooper S with the optional sport-tuned suspension." -- Edmunds

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