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Mini Cooper S Clubman versus VW Golf GTI

Achim Hartmann
Mini Cooper S Clubman vs. VW Golf GTI
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W e could just make it easy for us now, like Nick Carraway, the first-person narrator in F. Scott Fitzgerald's wonderful novel' The Great Gatsby ', who gets his job as a securities dealer mainly because it There are already so many of them that it really doesn't matter any more. Or to put it another way: The golf opponents are so numerous that you can also count the Mini Clubman.

We didn't come up with that. With its significantly increased dimensions and better space, the Mini Clubman is now ready to conquer the premium compact segment, reports the press release on the new Mini. So come on with the GTI. The Clubman Cooper S is only one and a half centimeters shorter than a standard VW Golf, with the new BMW four-cylinder turbo it puts 192 hp on the front wheels, and the base price remains south of the 30,000 mark at 27,500 euros. A Golf goes particularly well with this: the GTI, with 220 hp and a four-door model that costs 30,125 euros.

Agile Mini, faster Golf

Agile handling is one of the basic virtues of every Mini, the clubman should be no exception. Like the two- and four-door versions, it is based on the new BMW front-wheel drive platform, which it shares with BMW's two-seater tourers and the new X1. So no unpleasant surprises are to be expected. So the Mini Clubman turns in very willingly, reacts quickly to steering commands and remains neutral for a long time when cornering quickly before it tends to waggle load changes. So that fits. But it only lasts until you've switched to the Golf GTI. So that's how it works, you think, while you circling the GTI through corners. The steering responds harmoniously, the body movements remain low, the front wheels can easily handle the 350 Nm of the two-liter turbo, even without the differential lock of the ten hp more powerful performance GTI. The test car is equipped with the optional DCC chassis (1,035 euros); the normal position works best when driving quickly on country roads. So again in the Mini Clubman. It comes with Dynamic Damper Control and the Driving Mode package (together 780 euros), the driving modes are selected using the rotary ring on the gear lever. The sportiest of them literally promises go-kart feeling in the display.

In addition to the responsiveness of the steering and accelerator, the go-kart mode also animates theAmbient lighting for fun play of colors in the LED ring around the medium-sized large instrument. Well, you can like it. Apart from the uninvited play of light in the interior, it tightens the handling, but the Mini Clubman remains further away from the go-kart than the GTI. And by the way, as its shorter predecessor on the old platform.

Golf GTI as a six-speed switch

A look at the testers' timing systems shows that the difference to the Golf is not just felt: The Mini Clubman remains significantly slower than the Golf in both the slalom and the evasive test, and this is not only due to the 28 minus PS.

Which brings us to the drives. The GTI engine is quite a model boy, easy-revving, ready to perform and cultivated, not really a new discovery. What is more surprising, however, is the rather pale idea that the mini engine gives here. Yes, the two-liter turbo can do everything without shining in any discipline. In the case of the test car, it works with the new eight-speed Steptronic, a successful cooperation. The torque converter works attentively, changing gears quickly and appropriately, only the sometimes hectic downshifting when accelerating spoils the harmony.

The GTI: The good old days

The Golf GTI was at the time of the test only available with manual transmission, the DSG would have increased the base price by 1,950 euros without helping the VW significantly. Because the manual six-speed box fits this car excellently and can be shifted easily and precisely over short distances. And it reminds us a little of how it used to be, when seats with a checked pattern were still considered sporty and the double-throttle operation of a gearbox with locking synchromesh was considered special evidence of fine driving skills.

But actually you wanted something else read about the BMW engine in the Mini Clubman. You really can't blame him, he is so good in the forage that despite his lack of performance he accelerates the Clubman, which is around 50 kilograms heavier, so that it can keep up with the GTI. And it is economical, using 0.3 liters less per 100 kilometers than the VW engine. What he lacks is the potential for enthusiasm. This is of course just a feeling that is not reflected in the points evaluation at the end of the test.

There, among other things, the comfort qualities of the Mini Clubman come into play. And this time that is not meant ironically. Even the newcomer cannot deny a certain basic hoppiness, but especially with larger waves and stronger stimuli, it is even slightly more flexible than the Golf, which is somewhat disappointing in this regard. Its adaptive chassis responds to everyday joints and bumps in a somewhat more binding manner. However, he achieves the real advantage in comfort with better seats. They are bigger, more comfortably padded and offer more lateral support than themsomewhat small armchair in the Mini Clubman. This also applies to the rear seating. It's hardly any tighter there in the Clubman than in the golf, a little surprise.

Plenty of space in the Mini Clubman

It is also remarkable that the overall space available in the Mini Clubman is hardly worse; there are no relevant differences in the size of the cargo space. Here the Golf is more suitable for everyday use because its compartment is shaped more favorably and the opening opens more generously.

Oh yes, fold it up, there was something: With the two rear doors, the Clubman saves at least one characteristic detail from one platform to the next. The doors are very impractical, obstruct the view to the rear, require a lot of space when opening and reduce the loading hatch to a rather impractical size. Incidentally, the doors flap open automatically with a gas spring loaded, then want to be pressed back into the lock with a strong hand.

The Mini Clubman has a few other impractical details, but the operation sometimes deviates from the clarity typical of the group never bothered customers, it will probably stay that way with the new Clubman. Neither is the simple head-up display on gray glass - the surcharge of 600 euros is one of those items in the option list that can be saved.

Adjusted for equipment, the Mini Clubman is even slightly more expensive than the Golf, that is not a criterion for a lifestyle car either. But it also means that this test ends like many others: Santa Claus is not an Easter bunny, in the end the Golf is always ahead. And that is not from F. Scott Fitzgerald, but from Uli HoeneƟ, who instead of 'Golf' said 'FC Bayern'.

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