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2008 Mini Cooper S Clubman

2008 Mini Cooper S Clubman Races Through Monterey, CA

by Jeff Voth

One hundred and fifty trillion color combinations. That is how MINI described the variations available on the new 2008 Mini Cooper Clubman and 2008 Mini Cooper S Clubman. An almost unfathomable number, it reinforced the uniqueness factor that so defines the famous brand reinvented several years ago by BMW.

2008 Mini Cooper S Clubman
2008 Mini Cooper S Clubman

Monterey is equally beyond measure, the innate beauty of California’s coastline gracing your vision with each flick of the steering wheel on Highway 1. With room for four, agility in spades and sunshine breaking the fog over a windswept Pacific Ocean, the driving day ahead looked just as perfect as the scenery.

If the idea of a large MINI seems somewhat counter intuitive, you are not alone in your thinking. I too had initial concerns about the concept, that is until getting behind the wheel and experiencing the taunt attitude of the MINI Cooper S Clubman. While interior space has been significantly upgraded, no sacrifice reared its ugly head with regards to on-road performance and overall fun.

Underfoot resides the heart of a champion. Displacing 1.6 liters, the little 4-cylinder engine that could produces 172 hp at 5,500 rpm and 177 lbs.-ft of torque between 1,600-5,000 rpm. Punch the fully electronic throttle and the turbo motor responds with zug, (that’s MINI speak for what comes after zig and zag).

Crank the car left and right through the twisty’s and its true racer personality comes to the forefront. MINI is an action word, whether it has 2, 3 or potentially 4 doors in the near future.

2008 Mini Cooper S Clubman
2008 Mini Cooper S Clubman - Side

Leaving Monterey for the day, we passed Carmel-By-The-Sea on a blitzkrieg tour of the coastal mountains and surrounding Los Padres National Forest. Highway 1 heads south as you leave Carmel tracking to infamous landmarks and cities such as Bixby Creek Bridge and Big Sur. A prearranged detour through Fort Hunter Liggett provided the perfect setting to test the “cohones” of the MINI Cooper S Clubman, and perform it did.

Riding in a go-kart couldn’t be more fun than this. Sitting low to the ground, the MINI Cooper S Clubman showcases active safety features that include Dynamic Stability Control. DSC ensures power is delivered to the road in manageable amounts, especially when you need it most.

Double driveshafts in front and a multiple-control-arm rear axle provide excellent road connectivity. Rack and pinion steering is light when it needs to be, firm when pushing the limit.

ABS brakes bring everything to a rapid halt. Top speed is rated at 145 mph and 0-60 is achieved in just over 7 seconds. Not blindingly quick by any means, but fast enough to put a smile on your face.

Clubman - Interior
Clubman - Interior

Inside, the MINI Cooper S Clubman showers occupants with what is arguably the best interior of any small car. Filled with enough toggles, round dials and metal to make a space shuttle pilot green with envy, the dash provides all the comforts required in a compact, easy-to-use setup.
Seats are irresistibly comfortable and offer excellent adjustment. Safety is ensured with 6 airbags including the air curtain system.

The rest of the day passed towards sunset as we plied two-lane asphalt through redwood forests and past beachfront vistas that would make the even the most skeptical soul embrace romance. The MINI Cooper S Clubman is a sure bet to be another success in what is a rapidly expanding product line.

Features and Specifications:
Wheelbase: 100.3 inches
Overall length: 155.8 inches
Overall width: 66.3 inches
Transmission: 6-speed manual; 6-speed automatic
MSRP: starting from $24,100

Read about all 2008 BMW Models in RTM's Vehicle Model Guide.

Learn more about the Mini Cooper S Clubman.