PUMPED AND READY TO GO
MINI CLUBMAN JOHN COOPER WORKS ALL4
IF YOU’RE A MINI PURIST, THE CLUBMAN JCW ALL4 MIGHT BAFFLE YOU. IT HAS THE TYPICAL FUN FACTOR OF IT’S COOPER BRETHREN BAKED IN, BUT IT IS BIG-ISH, AND QUITE POWERFUL, SO WHY LET LOGIC INTERRUPT WHAT IS GOING TO BE A GOOD TIME BEHIND THE WHEEL? BERNIE HELLBERG REPORTS.
Despite its historically significant nameplate, and positioning as brand co-flagship with the Countryman, the new MINI Clubman is not as synonymous with the brand as its threeand five-door Cooper siblings.
Not that this makes it any less of a true MINI; it has the characteristic gokart-like handling, and in JCW guise, it’s a performance powerhouse along the lines of the Volkswagen Golf GTI. It also ticks the nostalgic non-conformist retrostyle box that MINI buyers love. Yet, if product planning and development were a field dedicated to the pursuit of logic, the Clubman John Cooper Works All4 would not exist.
POSITIONED FOR POWER
With its six doors and all-wheel-drive, the dropped Clubman JCW All4 miniwagon is probably the most niche new vehicle on sale today, but it competes in a world where price-equivalent performance hatches offer similar qualities and more practicality. And it’s not cheap, not even close.
The Clubman JCW All4 automatic costs R584,516 before optional extras. This places it above of its rivals; the Volvo V40 T4 R-Design auto (R496,712), Audi S1 Sportback quattro (R506,500), and the Volkswagen Golf GTI (R545,900).
For that kind of money you do get a boatload of road presence – people seemingly cannot resist craning their necks to take in the low-and-wide body, big black alloy wheels at each corner, burbling twin exhausts, and JCW body stripes.
It also gets the performance credentials promised by the John Cooper Works badge. It’s the equal-most powerful and torquey MINI with a 170 kW and 350 Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that, with zero to 100 km/h sprint time of 6.3 seconds, will outpace both the GTI and the Volvo.
Besides being powerful, the engine is punchy and eager, and is matched with MINI’s ZF-derived eight-speed automatic with steering-mounted paddle shifters it