Mini’s all-new 2016 Clubman is ready to bust down the barn doors, with the second-generation model set to reach dealerships early next year.

Based on the current Cooper hatchback that debuted as a 2014 model, the new Clubman features the hatch’s bulkier styling and a corresponding uptick in exterior dimensions.

Most significant are the car’s length and width, up 299 mm (nearly a foot!) and 117 mm (4.6 in.), respectively, making it longer and wider than the Countryman crossover. The car also becomes a four-door, abandoning the old design’s clamshell passenger-side door opening. Making its return are the controversial barn-door style tailgate, behind which there’s 360 litres of cargo space, up from 260 in the old Clubman. Fold the rear seats and cargo space expands to 1,250 litres, a big bump over 930 in the old Clubman.

Lest anyone wonder what the point of the Countryman is in light of the five-door hatch introduced last year (does the split tailgate make the Countryman a six-door?), Mini is quick to point out that this car is 270 mm longer and 90 mm wider than the five-door, and rides on a wheelbase stretched by 100 mm.

As in the three- and five-door hatch models, the base Cooper Clubman gets a 1.0L turbcharged three-cylinder engine good for 134 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque, while the Cooper S Clubman uses a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 189 hp and 207 lb-ft. Both come standard with a six-speed manual transmission; the three-cylinder can be had with a six-speed automatic, but the S gets a new eight-speed that incorporates a launch control function in case you get the urge to take your barn doors to the drag strip. Also new is an electric parking brake. Sixteen-inch wheels are standard on Cooper models, and Cooper S trim gets 17s.

Stylistically, we’re not sure about the Buick Enclave-esque taillights, but we’re sure we’ll get used to them, just as we have (mostly) the latest Cooper’s less-elegant looks. That said, the new Clubman’s looks are more cohesive to our eyes than the first-gen model’s.

Mini says pricing will be announced closer to the car’s on-sale date.


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