It’s not often you get something for nothing, so Matthew Parkinson went to get the lowdown on MINI’s new ‘Black Pack’
It must be hard making a car that’s both stylish and sensible, but yet again, MINI have done just that. Their new MINI Clubman has only been out a year, and despite this, the famous British brand is finding new ways to give buyers more for less with their new ‘Black Pack’.
Far from resting on their laurels, MINI have decided to cram even more into their new Clubman than ever before, with the limited edition gaining a set of slick 17” alloy wheels and racy bonnet stripes on the outside, as well as an interior clad in glossy piano-black trimmings throughout.
These extra details are just the icing on the cake however, with the Cooper Clubman boasting a huge selection of kit as standard. It’s usually at this point that I take the car in question for a test-drive so I can tell you all about how it works in practice, but there’s a problem – I haven’t driven this car.
Whilst the limited edition arrives in June, I’ve been driving a near-identical car since late December, so instead of the usual test-drive comprised of around 50 miles or so, the Cooper Clubman and I have racked up close to 4,000 miles together, and although the honeymoon period is now long-gone, I’m yet to find myself bored.
Trips out are a cinch, whether I’m flying solo or playing taxi – the new Clubman is perfectly packaged to comfortably seat four passengers, with the interior bathed in the soft glow of the customisable coloured mood-lighting.
Everything about this car is easy, which means that I’ve been able to plan each and every one of my journeys up and down the country with incredible ease thanks to the simple satellite navigation system (which comes as standard), with the additional bonus of being able to connect my phone and MP3 player via Bluetooth to provide my latest adventure with a suitable soundtrack.
I’d admit that I was a bit dubious at first about the engine, but the grunt provided by the turbocharged three cylinder 1.5 engine proves that size isn’t everything, and twinned with MINI’s unmistakably brilliant handling, the car still puts a smile on my face when the roads turn twisty.
The split rear doors are a big plus, too. You can open them conventionally by their handles, remotely using the key, or even (and I promise I’m not joking here) with a gentle kick up the rear! What’s more, the split pillar between the two doors doesn’t create that much of a blind-spot on the road either, and reverse parking is just as easy as a conventional hatchback.
The MINI Clubman is the perfect all-rounder. It’s big enough, interesting enough, fun enough, quick enough, and frugal enough. If there’s something it doesn’t do well, I can honestly say that after 4,000 miles behind the wheel, I haven’t found what it is yet.
Bowker MINI Blackburn
Trident Way, Blackburn BB1 3NU