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Used Mini Clubman review: 2008-2011

Fun, funky, and a whole lot more practical than the Mini hatch.
EXPERT RATING
7
As cute as the new Mini was it wasn't the most practical car you could drive, but that was where the Mini Clubman came in.

NEW

As cute as the new Mini was it wasn't the most practical car you could drive, but that was where the Mini Clubman came in. Recognising the need to expand the appeal of its retro-styled small car BMW poked, prodded and stretched the Mini to produce a larger, more practical car they called the Clubman.

The Clubman was almost 250 mm longer than the Mini hatch; it had a longer wheelbase and was higher. The bottom line was that it boasted substantially more leg and headroom inside. It was a real four-seater able to accommodate four adults in acceptable comfort, but more than that there was an option of an extra seat in the rear.

A measure of its new practicality was that the boot grew to a similar size to other cars in its class. To increase it further the back seat was a split-fold design that could be folded down when needed. Rear seat passengers were able to get in and out of the Clubman through a rear-hinged door on the driver's side of the wagon, while access to the rear was through rear barn doors.

There were two main versions offered in the Clubman range, the base Cooper and the turbocharged Cooper S. On top of that each could be up-specced with the Chilli option pack. The base engine was a 1.6-litre four-cylinder that put out 88 kW and 160 Nm. It didn't take your breath away, but was a solid, steady performer if worked hard.

For a more thrilling ride there was the turbocharged 1.6-litre engine that came with the Cooper S. With that you had 128 kW and 240 Nm under your right foot for a much more rewarding driving experience. The extra length and extended wheelbase had a dulling effect on the handling of the Clubman when compared to the Mini hatch, but with its direct steering it remained nimble and responsive.

One criticism that was regularly made of the Clubman, as it was with the Mini hatch, was the firm ride, which was mostly attributed to the run-flat tyres BMW used.

NOW

You have to suspect that many of the people who shelled out for the Mini, particularly the turbocharged Cooper S model were keen drivers who were likely to make the most of their car's get up and go.

Having made that broad, but necessary assumption, you need to thoroughly check your intended purchase for the tell tale signs of enthusiastic use, or worse, abuse. Hard driving in itself isn't a problem if the car is serviced accordingly, so check the service record to make sure the correct maintenance has been carried out.

From what we understand a number of turbocharged engines had a problem with the timing chain, which could be heard rattling, particularly when the engine was started from cold. It was so loud in some cases that the engine sounded more like a diesel engine. If the engine is rattling it needs to be fixed, ignoring it could lead to a major engine meltdown.

There were also issues reported of the sunroof making a rubbing noise on hot days. BMW recalled turbocharged Clubman models in 2012 due to a potential problem with the turbocharger coolant pump. Failure of the pump could lead to a fire in the engine bay, so it's important to check the owner's manual to be sure the recall work has been done.

SMITHY SAYS

Fun, funky, and a whole lot more practical than the Mini hatch.

Mini Clubman - 2008 - 2011
Price new: $36,600 to $49,200
Engine: 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder, 88 kW/160 Nm; 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder turbo, 128 kW/240 Nm
Transmission: 6-speed man, 6-speed auto, FWD
Economy: 6.6 L/100 km (1.6), 7.8 L/100 km (1.6T)
Body: 3-door wagon
Variants: Cooper, Cooper Chilli, Cooper S, Cooper S Chilli
Safety: 5-star ANCAP

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2011 $10,010 $20,350
2010 $8,690 $18,370
2009 $7,370 $15,950
2008 $6,160 $13,750

View all Mini Clubman pricing and specifications

Pricing Guides

$9,955
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$6,160
Highest Price
$13,750

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Cooper 1.6L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $6,600 – 9,240 2008 Mini Clubman 2008 Cooper Pricing and Specs
Cooper Chilli 1.6L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $6,160 – 8,690 2008 Mini Clubman 2008 Cooper Chilli Pricing and Specs
Cooper S 1.6L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $8,690 – 12,210 2008 Mini Clubman 2008 Cooper S Pricing and Specs
Cooper S Chilli 1.6L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $7,150 – 10,010 2008 Mini Clubman 2008 Cooper S Chilli Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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