Launched five years ago for MINI lovers who require more trunk space in the rear third, the MINI Clubman is capable of swallowing up to 920 litres upon collapsing the rear seats – perfect for MINI lovers who loves to go big on sound.
The owner of this MINI Clubman soaked in grey hue, Mr Alex Yong, is incidentally part of the dedicated team at Vim Auto Accessories in charge of this challenging but exciting project. He carries his passion for mobile media into his favourite ride, and the equipment used in this Clubman are meticulously singled out to supply maximum sound quality within a relatively tight budget.
On first impression, one might be tempted to believe that this is just an ordinary MINI Clubman without exorbitant aftermarket enhancements. But upon close inspection, there is much more to discover beneath its understated exterior. In all honesty, Alex’s in-car entertainment project can rival more premium systems to say the least, despite a “budget” label tagged to his setup. This is primarily due to the amount of effort placed to ensure that fabrication is dealt with surgical precision.
In the passenger compartment, one would be greeted with the Pioneer DEX-P99RS Component Reference Series CD Tuner, which utilises devices and materials carefully selected according to the highest standards, in order to achieve optimal sound quality. Its built-in USB port allows transmission of digital signals from a connected iPod, iPhone or USB device to DSP for high-quality sound reproduction – affording it with flexible connectivity options while keeping premium sound quality intact. Audiophiles tend to favour this source unit over others due to its reasonable price tag and premium sound quality.
Given the relatively narrow structure of the MINI Clubman’s A pillar, it is inevitable for Alex to source for a customised housing to secure the FLUX BC series 25mm tweeter and 80mm midrange – both sharing one enclosure. Both are angled towards the driver for maximum soundscape – not an easy feat since it is restricted by the MINI’s compact cabin space. To provide the mid range oomph, a 165mm paper with sand-coated cone mid-bass sits within the original door panel position, but modified to display the speaker’s internals. There’s sufficient visual drama to keep audiophiles in the mood just by peeking into the cockpit, but magic starts to unfold when we delve into the rear trunk of this Clubman.
Its stretched proportions afford it with more versatility in terms of installation options, and Alex plays this to his advantage. A 12-inch single voice coil FLUX FLS300B sub-woofer sits in a customised enclosure, sealed for added safety. To drive all speakers, two units of Rockford Fosgate P500S4 Punch series amplifiers are included – supplying 60 watts x 4 channel of performance to the high, mid and low drivers. And to provide the low-end punch, the sub-woofer feeds on 250 watts of bridged mono current from the remaining two channels – a clever way to fully utilise the setup without breaking the bank.
We were privileged to get a glimpse of Alex’s functional mobile media setup, but in actual fact, there are also much more that runs beneath the sheet metal. Hidden from sight are the all-important
soundproofing and cabling works – vital components to string all speakers and amplifiers to extract the best in each product. This ride uses the Russianmade STP damping material and Tchernov cables to keep things simple, tidy and more importantly, effective.
To most of us, in-car entertainment systems should be best installed on vehicles with more than sufficient volume to begin with. SUVs and MPVs seem to be the natural choice nowadays, without impeding the funcationality of cabin space. but Alex’s Clubman bucks the trend by synthesising clever customisation with an appropriate selection of products to bring out the best in his setup. Its stretched proportions over the more familiar MINI Cooper allows for more mounting options, without drastically changing the entire outlook of its cabin. Have a listen in Alex’s ride if given an opportunity, and it will then come as little surprise for you to realise that a MINI can go big on sound too!