The 2011 MINI Cooper Clubman splits the difference between the traditional hardtop and larger Countryman. With more length and width, and therefore more weight, the Base's engine does not offer as much zip as those in the S or John Cooper Works (JCW) trims. 2011 saw a slight improvement in the Base’s power, increasing the horsepower of its 1.6-liter inline 4-cylinder engine to 121 (an increase of 3 hp), as well as offering 114 lb-ft of torque. As with all trims, the standard transmission is a 6-speed manual, but the Base does offer an available 6-speed automatic with sport mode. With fuel economy a strength at any trim level, the Base Clubman produces 35 mpg highway/28 city.
Outside, the front of the Base Clubman is almost identical to the hardtop. The Clubman is, however, distinguished by the right-side clubdoor (a small additional door meant to facilitate entry to and exit from the rear), as well as the split rear barn doors (in lieu of a single hatch).
Safety features for the Base, such as 6 standard airbags, antilock brakes and tire pressure monitoring for the 15-inch alloy wheels, match those found in the other two trims. In fact, even optional safety features, such as adaptive headlights for better visibility with available xenon headlights can be purchased for the Base. The trim can also be equipped with a park distance control feature to help drivers detect objects behind them.
Inside, drivers who choose the Base Clubman over higher trim levels may not feel that they are missing much. 6-way adjustable seats covered in leatherette can be tweaked to add leather, cloth or heat for the front. Larger and lower sport seats are an option for the Base (standard for other trims), as is two-way lumbar support. The standard tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel includes controls for cruise and audio: a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD player with (new in 2011) HD radio and a one-year subscription to Sirius satellite radio.
If the Base consumer does feel something is missing, never fear, the Clubman offers a massive number of available options and packages. Although they can quickly raise the price, add-ons can include an upgraded Harman Kardon audio system, universal garage door opener and the MINI Connected system (with Bluetooth, a USB/iPod adapter and Smartphone integration), which can include navigation.
Although the Base 2011 MINI Cooper Clubman may not provide quite the same power as the S or JCW trims, it nonetheless offers good handling and fuel economy, as well as its fair share of fun driving.