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23 May 2022

Facelift (What's New)
Redesigned Nappa sports leather steering wheel
MINI's latest multi-functional instrument display
New operating system within the 8.8-inch central touch display

There isn't the most generous boot space in this MINI JCW Clubman, but with 302bhp on tap, whatever you manage to squeeze in there will reach wherever it needs to be in no time.


I've never really understood the appeal of the MINI Clubman. It's always touted as the option for those who want the charming looks of a MINI but need just a bit more space. Sure, but with only 360 litres of space in the boot, the Clubman still sits behind even unstretched hatches like the Volkswagen Golf when it comes to cargo capacity.

And it isn't particularly pretty to look at as well, with its bloated frog-like front and an ungainly extended body at the rear, which to my eyes are all just too tall a price to pay for that smidgen of added practicality, especially when you consider the pleasing compact form of the MINI 3-Door.

You get a total of 302bhp from the 2.0-litre unit in the MINI JCW Clubman
But this John Cooper Works Clubman is something different altogether.

Always eager to go

Unlike the 228bhp MINI JCW 3-Door we tested a while back, this JCW Clubman comes with a total of 302bhp. That 74bhp difference, coupled with the bonus of all-wheel drive, may not sound like much, but from behind the wheel the difference is beyond palpable.

Where the 3-Door can sometimes feel lacking in outright pace, the Clubman is properly beastly when it comes to straight-line acceleration.

Prompt throttle response and a gearbox that is eager to let the engine rev make the JCW Clubman feel truly light-footed
For some context: MINI states this JCW Clubman will manage the century sprint in just 4.9 seconds, which makes it the hardest-charging MINI there currently is. The JCW Countryman, for example, posts a century sprint timing of 5.1 seconds. And even the MINI JCW GP takes 5.2 seconds to complete the same sprint.

And this MINI JCW Clubman is not at all shy about letting you know this either. Push down on the accelerator and that eight-speed transmission is always eager to downshift, keeping revs within the mid-ranges even when you're just in the 'mid' driving mode.

Oblige with the gearbox's eager nature and you'll also find the 2.0-litre a treat to rev hard, with power delivery becoming truly urgent at the upper ends of its rev-range, wherein it also develops a rather pleasing angry snarl for your listening pleasure.

Always ready to dance

JCW Clubman sees it gaining the latest instrument cluster and new infotainment software as seen in the rest of the MINI range
And the MINI JCW Clubman isn't a slouch when it comes to corners as well. Available grip levels here are high, and there's mighty neutral handling to boot. There's also a mighty beefy steering from which you'll steer this Clubman, justifying the need for that thick steering wheel.

Keener drivers may find the steering just a touch quiet for such a sporty vehicle, but it's still delightfully fast enough to make piloting through winding roads at speed a real pleasure. And the car's strong brakes certainly help with proceedings here as well.

And still capable when you want to take things slow

Drive at a less frantic pace and there's still plenty to like about how the MINI JCW Clubman performs.

Barn-style rear doors mean you'll want to leave some spare distance at the back to access any cargo when parking
The ride here is just a touch on the firmer side, and it's still noticeably busy in typical MINI fashion, bobbing about even over seemingly smooth roads. Thankfully, there's sufficient pliancy over larger dips and bumps to allow you to motor on in reasonable comfort.

Cabin space and insulation levels, meanwhile, are also all just reasonable, although isolation from road noise could still be improved.

Although once you go aft of the rear seats, things do stop being so rosy. Beyond the aforementioned stingy 360-litre boot space, the strut operated rear barn-style doors pop out with some force and require some strength to close shut. And to be able to use them at all, you'll need to leave some space behind your car when parking if you want to retrieve your items. And the split door arrangement does cut down on rearward visibility somewhat.

A special stationwagon indeed

Opt for the MINI JCW Clubman and you'll cerntainly stand out from the typical crop of performance hatchbacks
At $277,888, this MINI JCW Clubman is asking for just a bit more than the equally extraverted, 306bhp Cupra Leon Sportstourer, which can be yours from $261,888.

But it does significantly undercut other luxury hatchback options such as the 302bhp Mercedes-AMG A35 Hatchback at $302,888, and the 306bhp Audi S3 Sportback, which can be had from $290,650 (all prices as of 18 May 2022).

I'm afraid that's not quite enough for me to overlook the Clubman's awkward proportions. After all, a MINI should be, well, mini. And being able to adore that charming doe-eyed form, to my mind, is part and parcel of the MINI ownership experience.

But if you don't mind the compact boot or the look of the Clubman, then by all means ignore the opinions of the MINI purists like me and go for this JCW. You're going to be part of a mighty fast and exclusive club.

 
Shopping for a high-performance compact? There are also these popular options to consider:

The Skoda Ocatvia RS is quick, spacious, and has loads of capacity for your cargo

There's also the Cupra Leon Sportstourer, with an equally unique bodystyle and an equally dramatic drivetrain

Or you might want the Audi S3 Sedan instead, with its high ride comfort and quality cabin

The BMW M135i delivers on power and nigh unbreakable traction in the corners

We have more of this MINI JCW Clubman's riotous performance on display in this video review as well!

Car Information
This model is no longer being sold by local distributors
MINI John Cooper Works Clubman 2.0 (A)
Rate it

Price

: -

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve TwinPower Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1998cc

Horsepower

:

225kW (302 bhp) / 6200 rpm

Torque

:

450 Nm / 4500 rpm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A) Steptronic Sport

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

4.9sec

Top Speed

:

250km/h

Fuel consumption

:

13km/L

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