The latest member of Mini's exclusive club

AFP
First Published: 11:16 IST(25/1/2013)
Last Updated: 11:20 IST(25/1/2013)
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The special limited edition Mini Clubman Bond Street will make its official entrance at the Geneva motor show in March before going on sale worldwide.
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Described by its makers, BMW, as "an eye-catching statement of signature charisma and premium quality" and by motoring journalists as simply a premium small family car, the Clubman Bond Street is the latest in a long line of London-inspired MINI special editions such as the Camden, Bayswater and Baker Street, and as such comes with custom Midnight Black metallic paintwork and Cool Champagne contrasts on the roof, wing mirrors and C-pillars and sits on a set of 17-inch two-spoke alloy wheels.

Inside, the instrument panel is wrapped in black leather, as is the steering wheel, and high-tech features include climate control, an on-board computer, a ‘Sport' button for increased performance, stiffer suspension and driver involvement and cruise control for when the journeys become long and monotonous.

Prospective owners will have a choice of up to four engine options -- depending on their territory -- consisting of two gas engines and two diesel-powered options: the MINI Cooper (122hp), MINI Cooper S (184hp), MINI Cooper D (112hp) and MINI Cooper SD (143hp). All engines are linked to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with a six-speed automatic available as an option.

Since buying and re-launching the brand 12 years ago, BMW has worked miracles at Mini (just like it has at Rolls-Royce). The first BMW Mini was such a resounding hit that many have forgotten that the Mini it replaced had been in production since 1959 with nothing other than cosmetic and safety-regulation enforced changes for 40 years.

The revived Mini Clubman edition has proved extremely popular with consumers since its launch in 2008, maintaining the handling and performance qualities of the standard Mini while sufficiently extending the wheelbase so that it really can carry four people plus luggage. However, although each new variant of the Clubman is better than the one before, one problem is yet to be resolved. Access to the rear seats is via a single rear ‘suicide door' on the right-hand side. This means that in markets such as the UK, Japan and Australia which drive on the left-hand side of the road, this door opens backwards into traffic rather than onto the pavement.

The Mini Clubman will be available for order in March and prices are expected to start at $30,000.


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