Fast Q&A For Mini Clubman and Infiniti Q30

Strange specs here?

Mini Clubman: The Mini comes as a Cooper S, which means a petrol engine. But this one also has All4, the first non-Countryman Mini to get the 4WD option. That makes it a rival for an A3 quattro. We’ve gone for the manual.

Infiniti Q30: The Infiniti is also AWD, also 2.0-litre petrol. It has a 7spd DCT ’box as standard. Drivetrain and platform are adapted Merc A-Class gear. The Q30 starts out dearer than the Mini but it does have more kit.

Do they feel like mega-hatches?

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Mini Clubman: It’s no more powerful than the 3dr Cooper S but it’s much heavier. So performance is merely brisk. It’s all about traction and grip not tweakable handling, and the steering is feel-less, though quick (too quick for M’ways). It’s pretty sober for a Mini, if a riot beside the Q30.

Infiniti Q30: The Infiniti’s steering is glutinous, cornering dull, its engine a drone. But the ride is more cosseting than the Mini’s. The Q30 drives like a bigger car, an effective if uninvolving ground-coverer and motorway eater, and the DCT does its bit. But wind and road noise undermine the refinement.

Are their looks a real alternative?

Mini Clubman: Though it’s toned down from the hatch’s, the Clubman’s self-conscious ‘fun’ Mini vibe starts to feel a bit overburdened when applied to a family hatch.

Infiniti Q30: Infiniti’s developing design language is a maelstrom of contrasted concavity and convexity. It ain’t subtle, but at least it’s more adult than the Mini.

They’re family hatch-sized. Practical?

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Mini Clubman: The Mini has well-ordered ergonomics. Clubman in its new generation is class-competitive on rear room, and the boot doesn’t lose out with AWD. But the split doors are just an affectation, annoying to use and bad for visibility.

Infiniti Q30: Cabin room is up to snuff in the Infiniti, and the trim feels plusher that the Mini. Switchgear and dials are an odd mash-up of Japanese and German but actually work pretty well. High-set seat is SUV-lite; Mini is lower, sportier.

SPECIFICATIONS

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Mini Clubman

Price: £24,310
Engine: 1998cc, 4cyl
Transmission: four-wheel drive
Power: 192bhp
Torque: 221lb ft
CO2/tax band: 159g/km, 40.9mpg
0-62mph: 7.0sec
Top speed: 142mph
Kerb weight: 1525kg

VERDICT 7/10

Mini’s cheesy-cute visuals wrap a surprisingly grown-up car.

Infiniti Q30


Price: £31,930
Engine: 1997cc, 4cyl, turbo petrol
Transmission: four-wheel drive
Power: 221bhp
Torque: 258lb ft
CO2/tax band: 143g/km, 45.6mpg
0-62mph: 7.2sec
Top speed: 146mph
Kerb weight: 1488kg

VERDICT 5/10

Better-resolved than its Merc twin, but that’s not saying much.

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