The 2021 MINI Cooper Sport on test for Changing Lanes!

MINI Hatch Review (2022)

The 2021 MINI Cooper Sport on test for Changing Lanes!
The 2021 MINI Cooper Sport on test for Changing Lanes!

Read Caroline's MINI Hatch review for everything you need to know about the MINI range in Ireland in 2022.

The iconic MINI Hatch - reinvented at the turn of the century under the steer of BMW Group - needs little introduction. Styling cues have stayed fresh and relevant over the years with just the slightest tweaks. The friendly round headlights say it all. 20 years old this year.

But is this MINI still relevant in today's market where it's all about how electrified you are?

MINI of course is not immune to market trends and in 2020, the brand launched the all-new MINI Electric in Ireland.

What's new for the MINI Hatch in 2021?

But MINI will still plant a petrol engine in this beauty and in 2021 the MINI Hatch got a comprehensive range of updates, along with the MINI Convertible and five door hatchback variants. It's the MINI, just swankier with a few more embellishments and options.

The MINI Hatch on review for Changing Lanes presents itself in Island Blue with three doors and a new multitone roof with an enthralling colour gradient from San Marino Blue through Pearly Acqua to Jet Black, created with a new painting technique. It's simply wild!

The MINI Hatch has been updated for this model year
The MINI Hatch has been updated for this model year

The MINI Hatch is cool. No doubt about it. After all these years, there's still no car that drips with attitude quite like it. Our MINI Hatch Cooper Sport on test rolls in at €27,903 with a small but funky 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine under the bonnet.

MINI has tweaked the front end with a larger radiator grille with black, hexagonal surround, flanked by hallmark round MINI headlights. The position lights have been replaced by vertical air inlets and the central bumper strip is now in body colour. The wheel arches have new contours and the side indicators have been redesigned to feature LED technology. At the back, the fog light is now integrated into the rear apron as a narrow LED unit. The John Cooper Works pack comes as standard on the Sport model and adds extra badging and more visual chutzpah.

What's it like inside?

Inside it's classic MINI too. No one else in the motor industry does car interiors quite like MINI. It's dark and cool with the central binnacle standing the test of time, now digital with an 8.8-inch colour touchscreen display and Piano Black high-gloss surface as standard. A newly-designed sports leather steering wheel with multifunction buttons is now standard, as is the digital display behind the steering wheel.

This car is oh so cool but it's not hot on rear legroom or even boot space. Carrying rear passengers is the MINI's least favourite thing to do. It's tight back there with just two seats. Some other small cars do boot space better too with the Hatch only managing 211 litres.

Inside the 2021 MINI Hatch
Inside the 2021 MINI Hatch

Driving the MINI Hatch

Behind the wheel, John Cooper Works sports sear bolster you perfectly in the MINI Hatch Cooper Sport. After driving this car we can confirm that the MINI Hatch petrol is most certainly relevant because fun never goes out of fashion.

This is probably the most fun small car you can buy. After all these years, it's still got it. The controls have a bit of weight to them, enhancing the sporty feeling behind the wheel. The MINI buries itself in corners with such enthusiasm, backed up by fabulous grip and precision. The MINI is a car you drive and it loves corners.

The six-speed gearbox is wonderfully notchy, the steering tight and sporty. There are few cars that feel this lively on the road any more, certainly in this price range. Refinement is as good as it should be for a car of this type, yet there’s a natural firmness to the suspension that adds to the atmosphere behind the wheel.

In the Cooper Sport, the 1.5-litre engine is a three cylinder affair with just 136 hp. But it feels lively and engaging and will suit most buyer's needs for power and performance. The 6-speed manual gearbox comes as standard but there is an automatic gearbox available too. The Cooper S models pack a more powerful 2.0-litre four cylinder petrol under the bonnet.

The classic silhouette of the MINI Hatch that never goes out of fashion
The classic silhouette of the MINI Hatch that never goes out of fashion

Did you like it?

The MINI Hatch is still one of the most desirable small cars on the market right now. It never goes out of fashion, even these days. It's not cheap and certainly carries a premium for its style and prestige. But driving it is a reminder why.

Delightfully sporty and fun on the road, this car is all about the joy of driving. Granted it's not the most practical small car on the market either.

Inside the MINI feels just as sporty with a unique interior perfectly 'digitised' for the times we live. MINI remains an icon of premium compact cars.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: MINI 3-Door Hatch Cooper Sport
Price: 
€27,903
Engine: 
1.5-litre turbo petrol
Power:  136 hp
Torque: 220 Nm
Top speed: 210 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 8.1 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
129 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€200 per year

MINI Hatch Cooper Sport is a cut above the rest in the small car market
MINI Hatch Cooper Sport is a cut above the rest in the small car market

The MINI Convertible on test for Changing Lanes!

MINI Convertible Cooper Sport Review

The MINI Convertible on test for Changing Lanes!
The MINI Convertible on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2021 MINI Convertible!

Ireland’s heatwave of summer 2021 broke just as I was handed the keys to the Zesty Yellow MINI Convertible. It was probably a good thing, saving me the effort of applying sunscreen. In fact, the overcast skies proved a good match to convertible driving, a slight breeze adding even more atmosphere to what turned out to be an unexpected motoring highlight of the year.

MINI make good cars. I had forgotten just how good. Getting into the MINI Convertible is like discovering a part of you that disappeared when life got serious. It took ten years off me at least. The sheer fun of changing gears, the sporty steering, trendy cabin, and cool, classic good looks that have endeared the 21st century MINI to millions for now over two decades.

Reviving the MINI was a very good decision. Creating a fun and playful car that adults can enjoy whether you’re 25 or 85.

Priced from €34,424 for the day-glo MINI Convertible Cooper Sport on test, it's an expensive small car but actually seems like a bit of a bargain relative to the fun behind the wheel. Let me explain.

The MINI Convertible in Zesty Yellow

The MINI Convertible in Zesty Yellow

What's new for the MINI Convertible in 2021?

The revamp for the MINI Convertible in 2021 includes fresh new design and technology updates.

The front-view is dominated by a larger radiator grille and its black, hexagonal surround, and the hallmark round MINI headlights. The position lights have been replaced by vertical air inlets to optimise aerodynamics and the central bumper strip is now in body colour, rather than black. The wheel arch has new contours, the side indicators have been redesigned to feature LED technology and at the back of the car, the fog light is now integrated into the rear apron as a narrow LED unit. At the rear, LED lights in the Union Jack design are now standard for this market too. Zesty Yellow is an exclusive new colour option for the MINI Convertible.

Sport models like the one on test now offer Intelligent Adaptive Suspension as standard, Piano Black Exterior, additional John Cooper Works badging and Dinamica Leather upholstery. Rear Park Distance Control is also included as standard.

As part of the Piano Black Exterior option, the door handles, side scuttles, fuel cap, MINI logo on the bonnet and luggage compartment lid and model lettering and tailpipes of the exhaust system are now finished in high-gloss black, in addition to the surrounds of the headlights, radiator grille and rear lights.

The interior of the MINI Convertible
The interior of the MINI Convertible

Driving it!

Powered by a 1.5-litre three cylinder engine putting out 136 hp, this MINI Convertible will move you with great intent, with 0 – 100 kmh in 8.8 seconds. Driving the MINI is an experience, the famed go-kart handling a real thing, not a myth. This car is fun and tactile to drive. You must wrestle it a bit, pull a gear here and there, fling it in and out of the corners, with all the enthusiasm of a terrier after its favourite toy down the back of the sofa.

The six-speed gearbox is wonderfully notchy, the steering tight and sporty. There are few cars that feel this lively on the road any more, certainly in this price range. Refinement is as good as it should be for a car of this type, yet there’s a natural firmness to the suspension that adds to the atmosphere behind the wheel.

Is it practical? Well, it will happily fit you and your passenger up front but rear seating is not a strong point. If you regularly carry rear passengers, it’s going to be uncomfortable for them. The boot lid opens niftily, and will stow away a few things, but again awkward to access. But hell, it’s a convertible MINI! The fully electric roof also opens and closes in just 18 seconds. And that’s how long it takes for the real fun to begin!

The impossibly fun and glam MINI Convertible!
The fun and glam MINI Convertible Cooper Sport is powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine with 136 hp

Inside the 2021 MINI Convertible

The interior is classic MINI – a vibe all its own – one of shiny gloss black, retro switches and that large circular binnacle still doing its job after all these years, just modernised enough for the digital era.

An 8.8-inch colour touchscreen display and Piano Black high-gloss surface are now standard and the audio control unit and function buttons for hazard warning lights and driver assistance systems are integrated more harmoniously into the circular control unit. Chrome elements have been significantly reduced throughout the interior with the two outer air outlets framed by black panels. The internal air vents have been completely redesigned and are now embedded to be flush with the interior surface. There’s also a newly-designed sports leather steering wheel with multifunction buttons. The digital display behind the steering is now standard.

Did you like it?

Yes, yes and yes! The MINI Convertible is flirty and superfluous on the surface. But then spend some real time with it. Find a deserted mountain road, let the roof down and enjoy some good, old fashioned motoring.

This car is an absolute hoot to drive even with the rather basic 136 hp 1.5-litre engine of our test car. It’s about the way you drive the car, the tactile nature of it, something that is gradually becoming rarer in modern cars.

Getting inside is like steeping into a nightclub – all shiny black surfaces and funky lighting. But it’s fun and mischievous, just like the car.

I’d choose the MINI again and again and again.

Behind the wheel of the new MINI Convertible!
Behind the wheel of the new MINI Convertible!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: MINI Convertible Cooper Sport
Price: 
€34,424
Engine: 
1.5-litre turbo petrol
Power: 136 hp
Torque: 220 Nm
Top speed: 208 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 8.8 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
118 - 123 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€200 per year


Comprehensive round of updates for the MINI in 2021

2021 MINI Hatch Updated For Ireland

Comprehensive round of updates for the MINI in 2021
Comprehensive round of updates for the MINI in 2021

MINI Ireland has announced a comprehensive range of updates for the MINI 3-Door Hatch, the MINI Electric, the MINI 5-Door Hatch and the MINI Convertible.

There's a fresh exterior look with the front now dominated by a larger radiator grille with black, hexagonal surround, and the hallmark round MINI headlights. The position lights have been replaced by vertical air inlets to optimise aerodynamics and the central bumper strip is now in body colour, rather than black. The wheel arch has new contours, the side indicators have been redesigned to feature LED technology and at the back of the car, the fog light is now integrated into the rear apron as a narrow LED unit.

There are three new exterior paint finishes and five new light-alloy wheels. Rooftop Grey is now available on all models, with customers also now able to choose Island Blue (previously only available on MINI Countryman). The MINI Convertible gets an exclusive colour option with Zesty Yellow. There's also a new Multitone Roof that features a colour gradient from San Marino Blue through Pearly Acqua to Jet Black, created with a new painting technique.

Inside the 2021 editions of the MINI 3-Door Hatch, MINI Electric, MINI 5-Door Hatch and MINI Convertible an 8.8-inch colour touchscreen display and Piano Black high-gloss surface are now standard. The audio control unit and function buttons for the hazard warning lights and driver assistance systems are said now to be integrated more harmoniously into the circular control unit. A newly-designed sports leather steering wheel with multifunction buttons will be part of the standard equipment of all model variants, as will the digital display behind the steering wheel.

Inside the 2021 MINI Hatch
Inside the 2021 MINI Hatch

Petrol engine include available include 1.5-litre 3-cylinder engines with 102 hp or 136 hp. There is also a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine available with maximum power of 178 hp or 231 hp in the two John Cooper Works models. The combustion engines of the MINI 3-Door Hatch, MINI 5-Door Hatch and MINI Convertible are combined with a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard.

All new 2021 models of the MINI Hatch, Electric and Convertible are available to order now, with customer deliveries beginning in spring.

Indicative pricing has been released by MINI Ireland:

MODELManualAutomatic
MINI 3-Door HatchFrom €22,455From € 24,355
MINI 5-Door HatchFrom € 23,405From € 25,505
MINI ConvertibleFrom € 29,315From € 31,305
MINI ElectricN/AFrom €35,715

(€28,455 including SEAI and VRT rebate)

MINI Electric CollectionN/A€ 46,175

(€38,242 including SEAI and VRT rebate)

 All new models available to order now, with customer deliveries in spring
Updated MINI range available to order now in Ireland

The new MINI Electric is on sale in Ireland now

MINI Electric (2020) Preview In Dublin

The new MINI Electric is on sale in Ireland now
The new MINI Electric is on sale in Ireland now

MINI Ireland hosted a media preview of the new MINI Electric at University College Dublin this week.

The MINI Electric marks the brand's first fully battery electric vehicle based on the iconic three door hatchback.

A 32.6 kWh battery gives the new electric MINI a range of up to 233 kilometres (WLTP). 50 kW fast charging gives 80% charge in 36 minutes while the new MINI can get a full charge at home in 4 hours and 20 minutes using AC 7.4 kW charging.

The electric motor provides 184 hp and 270 Nm of torque. Acceleration is a brisk 7.3 seconds from 0 to 100km/h. MINI promises a fun to drive character, with none of the fun the car is famous for list in this electric iteration. New suspension technology designed for this model helps retain and enhance the MINI’s famed go-kart driving dynamics. At a weight of 1,365 kg, the MINI Electric is just 145 kgs heavier than the current MINI Cooper S 3-Door with automatic transmission.

The MINI Electric will be distinguished visually by an embossed logo on the car’s side scuttles, as well as on the tailgate and front radiator grille. The front grille features the hallmark hexagonal shape of the MINI but is closed for the electric model as the car requires less cooling. According to MINI, there have been no restrictions in terms of the size of the luggage compartment, which remains at 211 litres.

The new MINI Electric will be available in three trim lines in Ireland (OTR pricing including grants):

Level 1       €27,764

Level 2       €30,155

Level 3       €35,455

Level 1 standard equipment will include a new digital dashboard, automatic air conditioning, cruise control, Connected Navigation including Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI), and LED headlights/taillights.

Level 2 includes a cloth/leather-look upholstery, additional exterior body colour and wheel options, as well as rear Park Distance Control (PDC), Rear Camera, Seat Heating, Driving Assistance Pack and Logo Projection.

Level 3 includes front PDC, Park Assist, Harmon Kardon sound system, Head-up Display, Panoramic Sun Roof, Matrix LED’s and upgrade to a 8.8” infotainment touch screen. Wireless phone charging is also included, in addition to MINI Yours Leather Lounge upholstery, a choice of five alloy wheels and six exterior body colours.

The new MINI Electric will compete against new electric compacts including the Honda e, Peugeot e-208, Corsa-e, Renault ZOE, and Volkswagen ID.3.

The new MINI Electric is in dealers now available from €313 per month with first customer car deliveries expected in March.

The MINI Electric has a range up to 233 kilometres
The MINI Electric has a range up to 233 kilometres

The new MINI Electric will arrive in Ireland in 2020

MINI Electric Expected In 2020!

The new MINI Electric will arrive in Ireland in 2020
The new MINI Electric will arrive in Ireland in 2020

A new MINI Electric based on the brand's iconic three door hatchback, will arrive in Ireland in March 2020.

It is the brand's first all-electric model and will go on sale from €27,765 OTR, including SEAI grant and VRT Rebate.

A model-specific lithium-ion battery gives the electric MINI a range of 235 to 270 kilometres. The electric motor provides 184 hp and 270 Nm of torque. Acceleration will be a brisk 7.3 seconds from 0 to 100km/h. The car can be charged at a household socket, wall-box or at public charging stations. Fast direct-current charging will be possible at up to 50 kW.

At a weight of 1,365 kilograms, the Electric is just 145 kgs heavier than the current MINI Cooper S 3-Door with automatic transmission. There's also new suspension technology designed for this model to retain and enhance the MINI's famed go-kart driving dynamics.

In accordance with new EU law, the car is fitted with acoustic pedestrian protection for low speed driving, with a distinctive sound created especially for the car generated via a speaker system.

An embossed MINI Electric logo will appear on the car’s side scuttles, as well as on the tailgate and front radiator grille. The front grille features the hallmark hexagonal shape of the MINI but is closed for the electric model as the car requires less cooling.

According to MINI, there have been no restrictions in terms of the size of the luggage compartment, which remains at 211 litres.

Standard equipment will include a new digital dashboard, Connected Navigation including Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI), and LED headlights/taillights.

A mid-level style MINI Electric is available at €30,405 OTR (including SEAI grant and VRT rebate). Equipment includes a cloth/leather-look upholstery, additional exterior body colour and wheel options, as well as rear Park Distance Control (PDC), Rear Camera, Seat Heating, Driving Assistance Pack and Logo Projection.

The top style is available at €35,695 OTR (including SEAI grant and VRT rebate). Equipment includes front PDC, Park Assist, Harmon Kardon sound system, Head-up Display, Panoramic Sun Roof, Matrix LED’s and upgrade to a 8.8” infotainment touch screen. Wireless phone charging is also included, in addition to MINI Yours Leather Lounge upholstery, a choice of five alloy wheels and six exterior body colours.

MINI retailers in Ireland are already accepting deposits now for a March 2020 delivery of the new electric MINI.


The new MINI 60 Years Edition

New MINI 60 Years Edition

The new MINI 60 Years Edition
The new MINI 60 Years Edition

MINI is kicking off its 60th anniversary year in Ireland with the introduction of a limited edition model. The MINI 3-door Hatch Cooper S 60 Years Edition will go on sale from €40,370 from March 2019.

It will be offered exclusively with an automatic transmission, with acceleration from zero to 100km/h in 6.7 seconds. It features new Racing Green IV exterior paint finish, piano black exterior trim, black roof and exterior mirror caps, special anniversary design bonnet stripes and model exclusive 17-inch light alloy wheels in 60 Years Spoke 2-tone.

The MINI 60 Years Edition has a unique interior with MINI Yours Leather Lounge in Dark Cacao with contrast seat stitching and piping matching the new exterior paintwork.

Navigation Plus pack is included, providing a larger 8.8” touch display with Satellite Navigation, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth connectivity, concierge service and wireless charging. In addition, a rear view camera, folding exterior mirrors and front and rear Park Distance Control (PDC) can be found on the vehicle, courtesy of the Comfort Plus Pack.

A limited run of 500 MINI 60 Years Edition vehicles will be available from March 2019 at retailers nationwide, priced at €40,370 RRP.

Just 500 examples of the MINI 60 Years Edition will be available for sale worldwide.

Built in the MINI Plant in Oxford, the MINI 60 Years Edition is the first of many celebrations planned for 2019 that will champion the brand’s heritage and continuous dedication to innovation.


The new BMW 3 Series will arrive in Ireland next March, as the brand announces price reductions

BMW And MINI Announce Price Reductions

The new BMW 3 Series will arrive in Ireland next March, as the brand announces price reductions
The new BMW 3 Series will arrive in Ireland next March, as the brand announces price reductions

BMW Group Ireland has announced price reductions across BMW and MINI brands in Ireland.

The average price reduction is 5.1 per cent, representing an average saving of €3,296 on new BMW models.

Meanwhile for MINI, the average reduction is -3.9% or €850 across its range.

These reductions are despite the diesel VRT increases announced in Budget 2019.

Paulo Alves, Managing Director BMW Group Ireland said: “The change in our pricing is designed to make it even more compelling for customers to stay in BMW’s Irish network and offset currency fluctuations. We are offering this decrease at a time when the industry is faced with increasing prices due to new EU legislation with WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure)."

MINI Ireland is also announcing a new simplified product offering for customers across its entire range, with now just three styles for each model: Classic, Sport and Exclusive. These changes are designed to make it easier to order a MINI in five simple steps.

Two new functional optional packs will also be introduced: ‘Comfort Pack’ and the ‘Comfort Plus Pack’.

Additional standard equipment will be featured on all new MINI models including interior ambient lighting, MINI logo projection from the driver door, automatic headlights and rain sensors.


2017 MINI Countryman PHEV

MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid Review

The MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 is the MINI brand’s first plug-in hybrid and they have chosen the Countryman crossover to debut this new hybrid technology.

The MINI Countryman is a great option for buyers who need more space and practicality than what the classic MINI hatch can offer, while it also carries all the attributes of a fashionable crossover with rugged styling and an elevated driving position.

The Countryman is already available with a range of petrol and diesel engines but new for 2017 is the Countryman plug-in hybrid.

Though the new car market has shrinked in 2017, hybrid sales are up about 70%. It’s clear that buyers are starting to seek alternatives.

The MINI Countryman range starts at €32,980 while the plug-in hybrid has a list price of a heftier €42,500, though the SEAI and VRT reduction of a combined €7500 for plug-in hybrids brings that down to €35,000.

2017 MINI Countryman PHEV
The interior of the MINI Countryman

This is a very high spec model and the big boon is that real savings can be made on running costs. ‘ALL4’, MINI’s four wheel drive system, comes as standard, as does a six speed automatic transmission. Under the skin, a 1.5-litre three cylinder engine combines with a lithium ion battery and electric motor to produce a healthy 224hp, while CO2 emissions of 49g/km mean that motor tax is just €170 per year.

The beauty of the Countryman plug-in hybrid is that you can charge your Countryman like an electric vehicle from a domestic mains supply or a public charge point for a full charge in 2 to 3 hours. You can drive the car on electric power only for a range of up to 42km. If the battery can be topped up after each journey and you do a short commute or a lot of low speed urban driving then this car has the potential to be very cheap to run. On longer runs and when the battery power runs out, the car becomes less efficient.

On the road, the Countryman plug-in hybrid loses none of the fun-to-drive quality of its siblings. It just does it all in near silence. The transmission is super smooth and any switches between engine and electric power are done seamlessly without any disruption to the driving. The lightening quick responses of the steering and resistance to body roll in the corners make the Countryman a fantastic crossover to drive, and there is no shortage of power or in-gear punch with the ‘eboost’ from the electric motor giving the Countryman a 0 to 100kmh time of 6.8 seconds! The car is comfortable for the most part, though the optional 18” wheels on my test car did contribute to more road noise in the cabin at high speed.

2017 MINI Countryman PHEV
The MINI Countryman can be charged like an electric vehicle and driven on pure electric power, emission free, on short journeys

Visually, the plug-in hybrid is distinguished from the rest of the Countryman range by some ‘E’ badging, and the Cooper S badge, typically red, is now yellow to denote the electric power. The interior carries a classic MINI design with the centrally mounted 6.5” touchscreen being the main focal point of the cabin. There is also an optional, larger 8.8” screen as part of the Media Pack. For convenience this can be operated by touch or via a rotary controller on the centre console.

Other standard equipment includes 17” alloy wheels, silver roof rails, front fog lights, cloth/leather upholstery, front sport seats, sport leather steering wheel with multifunction controls, cruise control, interior lights package, navigation and rear parking sensors.

MINI has managed to package the hybrid tech in the Countryman with minimum disruption to cabin space. The battery is under the rear seat, which has just been slightly raised to accommodate it, but headroom has not been compromised too much. The rear bench however would be more comfortable for two rather than three. The boot is a reasonable good size at 405 litres, with a practical shape and low loading sill.

The MINI Countryman is a highly desirable crossover that doesn’t come cheap, but offers considerable value in the compact premium segment. It’s a high quality product with a distinct personality and a refined and exciting drive. The plug-in hybrid comes at the right time to exploit any swing from diesel in the market, with the potential to be a very economical choice indeed.

2017 MINI Countryman PHEV
The MINI Countryman is a fine crossover - now with more options for emission free driving

Model tested: MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4
Price: €42,500 (€35,00 incl. VRT and SEAI reduction)
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo petrol + electric motor
Power: 224hp
Torque: 385Nm
0-100km/h: 6.8 seconds
Top speed: 198km/h
Claimed Economy: 2.1/100km
CO2 emissions: 49g/km
Motor tax: €170 per year

Caroline Kidd


MINI 1499 GT

New MINI 1499 GT Special Edition Available To Order

The new MINI 1499 GT is available to order in Ireland now, priced from €24,250.

The latest special edition to join the MINI line-up celebrates MINI's heritage with a nod to one of the best known sporty classic Minis of all time, the 1275 GT.

The 1499 GT will be built in a limited production run of just 1,499 cars between November 2017 and February 2018.

Under the bonnet there's a three cylinder 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine producing 102hp. 0-100km/h is 10.1 seconds.

There will be a choice of two colours, Pepper White or Midnight Black. In Midnight Black, the car gets distinctive gold 1499 GT side stripes. Pepper White models feature the same distinctive graphics, but in black.

Additional exterior features include the MINI John Cooper Works Sport Pack, featuring 17” Track Spoke alloy wheels in Black, dark tinted windows and white indicator lenses. The styling pack includes distinctive John Cooper Works front and rear bumpers, side skirts, a split level spoiler and John Cooper Works door entry plates.

Interior features include John Cooper Works Sports seats in Dinamica and leather and JCW badges, a JCW steering wheel in perforated leather with Chilli Red stitching and multi-function controls, cruise control, a Visual Boost radio with MINI Connected smartphone compatibility and Piano Black interior trim, along with Carbon Black interior details and an Anthracite headlining. Air con is also standard.

A sports suspension completes the MINI 1499 GT package.

To celebrate the 181 registration period, a €1,000 purchase contribution towards the MINI 1499 GT is also available now for a limited period.

Caroline Kidd


MINI One D Clubman Review Ireland

MINI Clubman Review

The MINI brand has become synonymous with quirky cars that defy the norm, and the MINI Clubman has to be the quirkiest of them all.

From the front, it’s pure MINI hatch: a friendly face with round circular headlamps and slatted grille that’s become a MINI hallmark since the car was relaunched back in 2001.

Then you look at the side profile and you realise this is quite an elongated MINI. The Clubman is bigger than the previous model and is longer and wider than the MINI 5-door Hatch. Could it be a MINI estate?

Not quite. Once you open the quirky rear split doors at the back, you’ll find 360 litres of space, which is more similar to what you’ll find in most respectable family hatchbacks.

Yet you’ll struggle to find a family car as offbeat as the MINI Clubman. The cabin is full of more razzle dazzle: gloss black finishes, toggle switches and a touchscreen set in the centre of the dash surrounded by a strip of lighting that changes colour like a chameleon.

MINI One D Clubman Review Ireland
The interior of the MINI One D Clubman

On the practical side it can be hard to find the controls you’re looking for quickly in the gloom because all those black and glossy surfaces make it more akin to being inside a murky nightclub at 2am trying to find the exit after one too many, and that’s just to fiddle with the ventilation controls. But no one does car interiors like MINI so love it or hate it.

There is seating for three in the back and while the outer seats are comfortable with good legroom, the middle seat is a hard, uncomfortable perch with poor legroom.

Standard equipment on the MINI One D Clubman includes MINI Navigation, sport leather steering wheel with multi-function controls, cruise control, 16” alloy wheels, front fog lights, automatic lights and wipers, manual air conditioning, and MINI Connected services.

MINI offers the Clubman with a range of petrol and diesel engines, from small and efficient 1.5-litre three cylinder units, to larger four cylinder units, all turbocharged.

New to the range is the One D Clubman, which is an entry level three cylinder diesel with 116hp. Emissions are just 99g CO2 on standard wheels so motor tax is €180 per year. It’s also the most efficient in the range, returning a claimed 74mpg, though this reviewer achieved around 56mpg. At €30,657, the One D is one of the more accessible models in the Clubman range.

MINI One D Clubman Review Ireland
The MINI Clubman has a range of petrol and diesel engines, all turbocharged

On the road, there is a coarseness to the three cylinder diesel at low speeds around town and when you rev it hard, but refinement smooths out more at speed. For a low capacity engine, the One D is not slow. There’s 270Nm of torque available and 0-100kmh is achieved in a respectable 10.4 seconds. The manual gearbox in the test car made this car less enjoyable to drive as there is a notchy feel to it: the gear changes could be more fluid.

Much of the MINI’s agile and engaging driving character is retained in the Clubman: there’s loads of grip when you push the car and it dips and dives into corners with the utmost accuracy. The steering is a tad light compared to the MINI Countryman, but that’s a small niggle. There is some more pronounced body roll as you push hard into corners but it’s progressive and the car grips hard so it’s never a cause for concern. I noted some road noise at high speeds on the motorway and the car is quite firmly sprung so you will also detect movement underneath you as the car reacts to the road surface.

If you think of the MINI Clubman as a rival to a premium hatchback like the Audi A3, it makes most sense as the space in the car is adequate but not huge. There are some frustrations to the One D Clubman: comfort and refinement could be better considering it is positioned as more 'premium', and the split rear doors are cool but obscure visibility. However, the Clubman is fun to drive and just doesn’t look like anything else on the road. For those trying to retain their youthful edge well into adulthood, the MINI Clubman is a quirky, offbeat choice of family car.

Caroline Kidd

MINI One D Clubman Review Ireland
The MINI One D Clubman is a quirky, offbeat family car

Model tested: MINI One D Clubman
Price: 
€30,657 OTR (€36,929 as tested)
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
116hp
Torque: 270Nm
0-100km/h:  
10.4 seconds
Top speed: 192km/h
Economy: 
72.4mpg
CO2 emissions:  
102g/km
Motor tax: 
€190 per year

If you are looking for an alternative premium family car in the same price range as the Clubman, you might also like this review of the Audi A3 Sportback.