By on February 26, 2014


You could make a case for Mini’s Clubman being an ideal small-business/delivery vehicle. It’s large enough to carry bulky office items, small enough to park, stylish enough to be seen in, and gets decent fuel economy. One of the biggest criticisms of the Clubman, though, has nothing to do with its practicality- it’s that the bigger Mini doesn’t quite live up to the brand’s hard-earned performance heritage. That’s going to change, however, with the launch of the 2015 Mini Hybrid Clubman.

Using a system similar to the one used by Volvo in its XC60 and V60 hybrids, the electric power train in the 2015 Mini hybrid models is expected to send power directly to the rear wheels. The “modular” approach here would make tooling up easier, and allow the unit to be used in other BMW/Mini properties like the recently-released, front-wheel drive BMW X2.

Up front, the 2015 Mini hybrids will make use of the company’s existing 135 HP, 1.5-liter three cylinder turbo engine. According to LeftLane News, the new car “may, effectively, act as a rear-wheel-drive platform if driving in electric-only mode. Under hard acceleration the system would switch to all-wheel-drive mode.” If that’s true, the arrangement should make for a fun little runabout- especially with the expected 190 total HP!

What do you guys think? Is 190 HP and all-wheel drive enough to make the Clubman a Mini a worth successor to the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally winning Mini Cooper, or is all this just an excuse to ramp up economies of scale for BMW’s i Brand? Let us know!


Originally published on Gas 2.

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13 Comments on “2015 Mini Clubman to Get RWD Electric Boost...”

  • avatar

    Moar window trims! Moar panel gaps, needs moar! And the chrome strip needs to continue all the way around the rear brake light panel.

    • 0 avatar

      Can’t have it – they rob the space designated to LEDs.

      As to silly suggestions of Clubman being something but a hipster hearse – have you checked their prices lately?

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    This sounds exactly like the hybrid system that pre-bankruptcy Saab was going to use. Is it made by American Axle like Saab’s system?

    I think Mini should have called their wagon the Travelall. No hipster could resist that.

  • avatar
    Toy Maker

    The Japanese Nissan Cube have a similar system all the way back from 2002. I’ve always wondered why the system wasn’t carried over to NA sooner.
    Wiki Nissan Cube and you will find it.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      The Highlander Hybrid has this setup since MY 2006, and the Acura RLX AWD has electric rear wheel drive as well.

      I would think that an electric motor would be cheaper than a driveshaft, any ideas why this isn’t more widespread in NA?

  • avatar

    i would like to see a similar system in the chrysler minivans. if they eliminate the stow and go seating there is plenty of space to house the hybrid parts.

  • avatar

    “it’s that the bigger Mini doesn’t quite live up to the brand’s hard-earned performance heritage.”

    Says who? Clubman weighs 180 pounds more than the basic Mini, that’s like carrying one average-sized man in the passenger seat, hardly a performance killer. At least one performance driving school uses Clubmen because the longer wheelbase is more stable at speed than the standard model. Sorry, I really loved my Clubman, Mini looks and performance with enough room for a Costco run.

    190 hp AWD hybrid? Sign me up! Oh wait, probably no stick shift on these guys. Dang.

    • 0 avatar

      I think there must have been a brain fart there as well. The Clubman is basically just as fun as the regular Cooper, it’s the Countryman which walks away from the, “brand’s hard-earned performance heritage.” I had a Countryman rental last year for a week and boy was I underwhelmed. It wallowed, it moaned and overall it didn’t do anything better than all the other anonymous cars I could have picked up at Avis. Unless of course I’m the one getting them confused.

      I’d go as far as saying the Clubman is actually the best Mini available. It’s more composed over expansion joints than a Cooper while paying almost no performance penalty for the improvement and it has usable storage and seating space.

      Just in case anyone from Mini USA is listening…I am absolutely a potential customer for the next Clubman, but I’m going to second Russycle and doubt there will be a manual version with the AWD system mentioned. If that came to market with a manual my wife would pretty much walk right over to the dealership and have a deposit down months in advance of delivery. If it’s just manual/fwd which is offered then the Mini needs to compete with all manner of used wagons and the next Sportwagen, and all of those cars have a significant power advantage over Mini’s current lineup of drivetrain selections. Do the right thing Mini, every drivetrain must have a three pedal option.

      • 0 avatar

        Good point about the Countryman, taller and 500 pounds heavier definitely effects performance. And it already comes with AWD, I wonder if somebody got their Minis mixed up?

  • avatar
    Robert Gordon

    “What do you guys think? Is 190 HP and all-wheel drive enough to make the Clubman a Mini a worth successor to the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally winning Mini Cooper”

    The Mini Cooper didn’t win the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally…or any other year for that matter.

  • avatar

    I’m with Tedward. The Clubman model is the definitive MINI, to me, from the moment MINI put the model announcement in my mailbox. The Countryman, on the other hand, seems like MINI went to Fiat and asked them to design a MINI like a 500L. What a pig of a design. I like BMW’s effort to offer a choice of more models, but I’d be happy for now if they just stuck with the Hardtop and the Clubman model in standard and Cooper S trim, and thought long and hard before offering more of their niche two-seaters that aren’t so successful with buyers. As for the awd Countryman, while I don’t personally care for the design at all, at last it seems to be popular with buyers on the east coast, so in one respect I’m happy for MINI and BMW. Any thing that keeps them in the black and in the market I’m fine with.

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