I remember my first Mini Clubman experience like it was yesterday. Back when the current F54-generation Clubman was still fresh, I attended my first Mini Takes the States event. This massive Mini owners' gathering travels the United States together, experiencing race tracks and the best driving roads the country has to offer. One of the cars I spent a few days with was a Clubman Cooper S and I had a blast carving up Virginian country roads in it. So, I report with great sadness that the Mini Clubman has reached the end of the line and it isn't coming back.
Two generations of Mini Clubman were built at the brand's plant in Oxford, England, first starting in 2007. The Clubman will be replaced by the electric Aceman, which is bigger, bulkier, and lacks the Clubman's signature design element—its rear barn doors. Rather than a typical hatchback, the Clubman had two barn doors that opened outward, instead of upward, and while some considered them impractical, they gave it loads of character.
Despite my sadness, I'm not surprised. The Clubman was never a sensible car. It was barely more practical than the four-door Mini Cooper and its barn doors could be a nuisance in tight parking spots. And since it was more expensive than the Cooper, the Clubman was an oddball tweener who didn't have a real place in the market—even if that made it a bit more lovable.
The modern automotive landscape is such that every vehicle needs to fit into a designated slot, leaving very little room for quirkiness. The Clubman was a refreshing break from the norm in an increasingly homogenized arena. However, refreshing breaks in normality rarely sell well, so it's no surprise that Mini—ahem, BMW—is replacing it with a more conventional electric crossover.
Goodbye, little buddy. Thanks for the fun memories. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go look for a used Clubman to buy.
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