Flash Drive: 2008 MINI Cooper S Clubman
This 2008 review is representative of model years 2008 to 2012.
By Staff of MSN Autos
The 2008 Cooper S Clubman is a car that supports an active lifestyle, starting with the peppy BMW turbocharged engine that is fast yet fuel-efficient. Extending the wheelbase by three inches over the current Cooper S provides a smoother ride, and with a curb weight of 2,856 pounds the car feels agile and ready to adapt from carving up mountain roads to general commuting. Inside, there are unique dials that are sometimes difficult to understand at a quick glance. The large sunroof is a nice option and provides ample daylight exposure. Getting into the back seat is easy using the Clubdoor behind the passenger door, and there is plenty of headroom and legroom for 6-foot-tall passengers. The new tailgate opens to a respectably sized trunk, and with the seats folded down a bike or similar gear can be transported. If you’re looking for go-kart handling with decent cargo room, the 2008 Clubman is for you. – Joe Chulick
Anyone who says a car can’t be both fun and fuel-efficient has never driven a MINI Cooper. And with the new MINI Cooper S Clubman, you can throw versatility into the mix as well. Our test car was the turbocharged S version, and driving is best described as a blast. Power is most satisfying and thoroughly enjoyed with the precise 6-speed gearbox. Handling is akin to a go-kart with tight steering and excellent brakes. The novel rear access door on the right side provides quick access to the rear seat, which is surprisingly comfortable — even for an adult. The rear double doors are a nice touch and provide a wide opening to highly usable cargo space. Although I couldn’t help but drive the Clubman in a spirited fashion, I still achieved 26 mpg in city driving. – Perry Stern
At first glance the MINI Cooper S Clubman seems too cute for its own good. The excessive styling inside and out suggests a lack of substance; as if the kitschy controls are meant to distract the occupants from the lack of interior space, or from a lousy engine or chassis. But the MINI Clubman is actually brilliant. The interior has plenty of space, especially for front passengers, and there’s a great view from the driver’s seat. The trunk — unique to the Clubman — has space for a week of groceries. The steering wheel is wonderful to touch and use; the gear lever for the 6-speed is fantastic. The engine and transmission are a joy around town and provide great fuel economy, while being sporty enough to bring the MINI to an autocross event. Cute and economical, the MINI Cooper S Clubman is also fun, satisfying and wonderful. – Paul Hagger