Ah, Mini — over the years (and many, many rather useless, unnecessary models and trim levels) you seem to have lost your oh-so-cool retro, fun-to-drive ways.
It started going downhill with the Cooper Countryman, to be honest. Big, bloated, and decidedly un-Mini-like. I didn’t hate it, but I also wasn’t in love, which was a first for a Mini product and me (just ask my friends and family). The only real redemption for the Countryman was its All4 all-wheel-drive system.
Then the pointless Paceman surfaced, followed by the Coupe and equally redundant Roadster cabriolet. Really, Mini, what were you thinking?
Of all the iterations of the Cooper hatch, the best was always the quirky Clubman. Just that extra bit larger with all the charm and wit you hoped to find in a Cooper, the Clubman offered a little je ne sais quoi that set it apart — but not too much.
For eight agonizing years we waited and waited for the German bigwigs to grace us with a new Clubman, a revamped version of the Cooper deviant we loved the most. Finally, it arrived — and it’s every bit as good as it was, if not better. If it’s possible to fall in love at first sight for a second time, then I think that happened to me with the 2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman.