This is the post you I’ve been waiting for.
We got the keys to our MINI Clubman Diesel last night. And my face hurts from the smile that I can’t wipe off since then.
The MINI is back!! Our new Clubman Diesel certainly isn’t comparable in performance to our previous Cooper S. It’s not screaming like a cat out of hell when you floor it. It’s not giving you that exhaust thumbing that I learned to love so much. It’s not pressing you into the seat when you accelerate it from 100 mph on a German Autobahn. But there are many things I fell in love with on the way back home last night. First and foremost my wife who encouraged me to buy a MINI again instead of settling for public transport or an all rational car.
But before I dive into this, let’s quickly re-cap the pick-up event.
Yesterday late afternoon, my wife, our 3 year old, our 3 month old and I took the subway across town to meet Scotty and 2mD outside of Scotty’s office. We fitted the kids into the back of Scotty’s MINI and I got the hot seat next to 2mD in his MINI. The two generously offered to come along for the fun of it and to give us a ride.
So we set off towards the Autobahn … and right into a nice traffic jam. We slowly rolled towards St. Augustin (near Bonn) where our Clubman was waiting for us. The traffic got better after a while and so it all went much better than we first thought. After about 90 minutes we pulled into the lot of the MINI dealership Hakvoort in St. Augustin.
Christian, the MINI sales manager, and MrRed and ShortCut, two MINI enthusiast – who are also members of the German MINI² club – were awaiting us already. We unpacked the kids and walked into the dealership. It was quite late already and all the dealership’s staff was leaving. But Christian had the keys to the showroom and so we could start our hand-over celebration.
Our Clubman was covered with a MINI Indoor Car Cover and parked right at the front and center of the MINI showroom. Only the black wheels peaked out underneath.
The cover was stretched as it wasn’t one for a Clubman. But no one but Christian really cared. We all wanted to see what was underneath!
Christian then slowly lifted the draping and revealed our Clubman.
I’m really pleased with the color-combination I chose. It is dark-silver metallic with a black roof, c-pillars, and wheels. I think it does really look great.
I also think that the back of the Clubman only looks good with the black c-pillars. The rear lights are more pronounced that way and the split doors are well framed.
When the car was completely uncovered I was handed the key and an (alcohol-free) drink. We all drank on the new car and everyone got a chance to take a closer look.
Then I opened the door.
And I immediately fell in love with the new car. The thing I love most about our new MINI is the interior. It’s all black, with the punch leather seats, the piano black dash and the anthracite headliner … and a broad red stripe across the dash that is called the “knee roll”. It looks fantastic.
It was then time for the formal part. I signed the hand-over papers and got a load of stuff in return; The MINI’s manual and other car related documents, a nice folder for all those papers, a key fob, a red MINI cup for Tim, and a few more things. It was like Christmas.
Then Christian fitted the plates. This will be an area for improvement from him. He actually put the front plate on the back and the back plate to the front. The stickers on the plates are different as of course there are rules for everything in Germany. But never mind – it’s going to be a quick fix on the weekend.
It was getting late and we were hungry. So we prepared to leave. Tim’s new red & black child seat was fitted and Moritz tried out the boot to get his diaper changed. Before driving back to Frankfurt we had dinner at a nearby restaurant.
The drive to the place was short but fun already. The smell of the new car was just intoxicating. Tim loved the view out of the large sunroof into the dark, star-spangled sky. We all enjoyed the sound of the harman/kardon sound system.
After dinner I filled up at the next, nearby gas station – with Diesel. Which brings me to the sound of the engine. The Cooper Diesel sounds meaty – a dark rhythm that is not displeasing, still a bit uncommon for a MINI. But when driving with the music on, it’s soon gone into the background. When we pulled onto the Autobahn the Diesel was comfortably silent. Not quiet, but not over-present in any way. It felt like a more comfortable MINI overall – compared to the 2004 Cooper S I owned before.
The Clubman’s slightly longer wheelbase makes it less bumpy. Our car has the sports suspension but no run-flat tires. With this combination, I don’t think anyone can complain about the ride being harsh. Whoever buys a MINI should go for the sports suspension to get the MINI-typical agility and feel for the road.
And so we rolled back towards Frankfurt. While my wife and the kids were soon asleep, I followed Scotty and 2mD followed me. A mini MINI convoy zipped down the Autobahn under a deep-black sky. I loved every second of it. This brand new, absolutely immaculate car. The undisturbed view through the spotless windows and mirrors. The smell. This wonderful sensation of a new car.
A big thank you goes once again to Scotty and 2mD for the ride and the company on this great day. Some of the pictures above are also courtesy of Scotty. We did forget our proper camera, so they are all low quality phone camera shots. Better ones will follow in the coming posts on this blog.
I will have more details on fuel consumption and a review of selected options in the weeks to come. Let me know in the comments if you have something specific you want to know more about.