We were fortunate enough to be invited to the unveiling on the new MINI Clubman and MINI Convertible. Both vehicles have a wonderful heritage and the new models look to carry on with the funky and fresh MINI feel. We do enjoy the MINI’s as they offer something different to the market where a lot of vehicles are beginning to feel well too similar. The MINI has maintained individuality in the various segments it’s now found itself in. Even being within the BMW family, it is has kept its personality.
The day started really early with a 5h00 check in at Lanseria airport – which I must say compared to ORT that early in the morning is a breeze. We landed in Cape Town to absolutely perfect weather, as Cape Town always seems to deliver on these launches. We were greeted by enthusiastic MINI staff and taken through to a hanger near the airport where the Clubman’s and Covertible’s sat in wait. As did Truth coffee – which was an excellent way to start the day!
After Edward from BMW told us more about the vehicles we got on our way in the Clubman. We of course took a Cooper S. We were really impressed with the Clubman. I think the longer wheel base gives the car a more centered and stable feel. We had an automatic, which was fantastic in sport though slightly lack luster in normal and green mode. We drove quite a mixture of roads, from highways to windy back roads to mountain passes. It was a full feel of what the car would offer you. It did impress. The space inside was a surprise as well. We do prefer having a spare tyre to run flat tyres so there being more boot space over having a spare is a minus for me. It is a looker though, it’s like a baby estate and it got a lot of admiring glances driving the streets of Cape Town – which is of course always pleasing!
We changed over at the stunning Cavalli Estate in Somerset West. Really beautiful venue and we were extremely tempted to visit their stables. They looked world class and I was intrigued of course. There is a horse gene that infects some of us and where ever there are stables we are sure to follow! Edward and Kabelo from BMW/MINI went through the vehicles, always really insightful. We love the heritage of the MINI brand. The brand has definitely grown and even though they’re priced at the higher end of their segment they offer high quality for the pricing.
Next we hopped into the beautiful Caribbean Aqua Convertible for the afternoon drive! We absolutely adored the colour, it’s almost enough to even tempt me out of my Alfa! Almost… The big test with the convertibles is the drive and the noise levels for when you’re driving. Which was surprisingly good, it was a little noisy at higher speeds but all in all we were impressed. We did though feel that the Clubman was better balanced, we think the longer wheel base gives it that. Both had a harder, sportier suspension which we love, we prefer to feel the car when we drive it. The zippiness of the MINI’s is wonderful though, and it was a joy driving the Convertible around the twisty roads until you got stuck behind a truck – like we did a few times. What helped was how it was able go up the gears in sports to get around the slower vehicles safely. After a little bit of confusion with the making sure the roof was fully down, it was quite easy to put it up and down quickly.
We must say that we always love the interior of the MINI’s, they’ve got a fun retro feel but are very cleverly designed. Everything is easy to use, though we didn’t have much chance to play with MINI connect – which is always brilliant! They whole makeup of the car feels really solid. It is very similar to being in a 1 Series BMW but with that extra bit of a vibe, and funkiness with everything in the car. It makes it a much more fun car to drive. Once we get the cars to test will go on in more detail but we can say for sure we’re excited to get to drive them for longer than a wonderful sunny day in Cape Town!