Category Archives: right brain

The MINI World Comes to an End

Today marks the end of an era. The Mayan’s knew this. Their calendar ends today. And so does the life with Our MINI Clubman Diesel. Later today I will return our beloved Clubman at the local dealership. The lease has ended and it will not be renewed. No new or other MINI will follow. That’s it. It feels awkward already.

I have driven a MINI now for over 8 years. First a Cooper S, then our Clubman Diesel for the last three years. And I enjoyed every minute in those cars. It was part of who I am. Thanks to MINI I made many friends, here in Germany and on other continents. But now I have to take a MINI break.

The world will not end today. After dropping of our Clubman a BMW 1er is waiting for us to be taken home. It’s bright blue like my first MINI and equally sporty. But it has 5 doors and that is because we do have two boys growing a little bit every day. We need a bit more space.
You could start arguing why we didn’t go for a MINI Countryman then. Well, it ‘s a nice car but it’s not for me.

Good bye dear MINI. I hope you get into good hands.


Changing the Perception of Diesel from Dirty and Slow to Clean and Fast

BMW, the company behind the MINI brand, runs a TV ad in the US to change the perception of Diesel powered cars.
No word about lower CO² emissions, lower fuel consumption, efficiency dynamics. No, no, no. Instead they show a “clean, quiet, powerful” 335d roaring and oversteering through the black exhaust smoke of the diesely past.

Watch the ad below. I enjoyed it. Do you?

The MINI Clubman – a true family car?

It’s been a while. Our MINI Clubman Diesel has since shuttled the whole family flawlessly and we all enjoyed it. It’s time to share this experience.

The main reason for getting a MINI Clubman was not because it fits our family of four better than most other cars. No, no, no. It was a decision driven by the fun and verve a MINI offers and the itch I felt personally after selling my beloved Cooper S. We already own a proper family car, a Škoda Octavia Combi, so there is really no need for another full-fledged family car. I was ready for the compromise of driving a smaller but fun car that at times can carry the kids as well. Living in an urban city, I drive the MINI to work each day. On the way there, I drop off the older of my two sons at the Kindergarten. And the MINI Clubman is just perfect for that.

In the past months we often choose to use the MINI instead of the Škoda – even for longer drives with all four of us. My main excuse for squeezing everyone in was that our MINI Clubman being a Cooper Diesel is very economical to drive vs. the Škoda with its 2.0 FSI (Volkswagen) engine. So each mile in the MINI helps to save the planet and some cash. Money we prefer to spend for our kids (toys, ice cream, diapers) instead of handing it to the big oil companies.

And while I have to admit that I cannot really recommend buying a MINI Clubman as the only family car, I still find ourselves squeezing in and enjoying it. As seeing is believing, here is proof that the MINI Clubman does fit two rather tall adults, a three-year old, his kids bike, a baby, a baby stroller, and a bunch of bags.

Here is how the boot looks like with all the stuff in it.

It looks a bit wild but the doors close easily. The baby stroller, a Teutonia “Fun” (or t-1o0 series),  is not even one of the most compact models available. It is the chassis only, without a seat. Our youngest sits in a baby capsule while riding in the back row of the MINI – and this is simply clicked into the stroller chassis at the destination. Folded the stroller chassis is about  24″ wide, 17″ tall and 36″ long. It took me about 5 minutes at first to figure out how to best place the stroller and kids bike in the boot. Once done, it’s fairly easy. And the view through the back windows is not even that limited by some of the things peaking out.

The kids have more than enough space. Our little one sits in his baby capsule, strapped in facing the rear. Our older son enjoys his Isofix secured booster seat.

And here is one other thing: fastening his seat belt through the MINI’s open Clubdoor – which is opening towards the rear – is much easier and more comfortable than doing the same in any other car with standard front hinged doors. The Clubdoors offers access more from the front, so guiding the belt around a seated person is much easier then if you have to do it from the side.

The MINI Clubman is a small car, but compared to the 3-door MINI models, it does offer decent adult leg room in the back. Colleagues riding with me in the Clubman were often positively surprised. The picture here shows my 6 ft 4 self sitting in the back. The front seat is adjusted in a way so I can sit there without my knees being squeezed against the glove box. Admittedly it’s not business class leg room, but most airlines offer less space in economy than the MINI Clubman in the back row. Believe me, I know what I’m talking about.

The summary?

Surprisingly the Clubman lives up to the promise of an urban family car – if you’re ready to squeeze in and don’t haul around a lot of stuff. But honestly, if you’re looking for a proper family car, you may want to consider some other options and do some extensive test drives.

And if you still end up with a MINI Clubman, one thing is for sure: your right brain has won this time.

The Cooper Diesel and its Fuel Consumption

After clocking the first 500 miles it’s now time for a quick check on how the Cooper Diesel engine of our Clubman does in terms of fuel economy. When I decided to go for the Diesel the main reasons were its low CO2 emissions, fuel consumption, and the good torque of the turbo.
The on-board computer told me I was driving at an average fuel consumption of 34 mpg. That is not overly impressive.
In the past weeks I drove the Clubman mainly through inner city traffic on my way to and from work. I have to admit I wasn’t never good at driving with a light foot. Especially when zipping through inner city traffic. I often try to beat the next light or to go around that slow car before the next turn.
And then there are a couple of other factors that need consideration when look at that rather poor mpg number.

Continue reading

The Clubman Order

After what felt like weeks, and actually was weeks, my future car is on order and will be build in November in Oxford.

A Clubman Diesel in Dark Silver metallic, with a black roof and C-pillars. I also went for the black Crown Spoke wheels.

The interior will have the Punch Carbon black leather seats, piano black dash panels, an anthracite headliner, and what MINI calls the “Soft Touch Knee Roll” in Rooster Red.
The list of options is long and includes the panoramic sun roof, the new Harman/Kardon sound system, the two-seat rear bench, the sport suspension, bi-xenon headlights, and a ton of electric helpers. Continue reading

MINI Driver vs. Non MINI Driver

Enough said.

Two visual reasons for the Clubman Diesel

My friend Richard thought of me today and sent two videos via Facebook. Thanks Richard!

One is a viral by MINI for the Clubman.

Clearly the video doesn’t play to the left brain about why buying a Clubman, but to the right brain. After all the Clubman is not really a practical car. Ask Corolla-driving Paul about it.
It’s a different car. The twin doors in the back. The “Clubdoor”, a one-sided rear suicide door.
One thing confused me though: I’m not sure why they are saying “it’s a fake” at the end of the video. I used to drive my MINI on the Autobahn like the two Clubman all the time. Three-sixties and flips and much more! 😉

The other is a “Making Of” the MINIMALISM ad that MINI produced to promote the economical fuel consumption of their cars.

Watching the “Making Of” is seems MINI wasn’t tightfisted when carving out the budget to create the ad. You can see the final result right here. Really nice.
It enforces my thinking once again that a Diesel is a good choice. I hope to be able to test drive one next week to find out more.

Enjoy the videos and have great week!