By on September 21, 2016

MINI JCW Clubman

Having been a player in the small car category since its 2001 reboot, Mini now seeks to take on the burgeoning premium sporty compact segment with this, the new John Cooper Works Clubman.

With sales of the Mini brand reaching only nine-tenths of its 2013 high in the U.S. last year, will this model bait new customers into the brand’s retina-searing showrooms?

Like most siblings, the newest offspring gets some hand-me-downs but enjoys some new toys not shared with its older brothers.

The JCW Clubman squeezes 228 horsepower out of its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, along with a relatively brawny 258 lb-ft when compared to its more mundane brethren. This power will be shuttled through a standard all-wheel-drive system provided by Mini’s in-store brand of ALL4. “Nyah-nyah”, says this Mini to its older Clubman brothers, who make do with 134 hp in Cooper trim or 189 hp in slightly more expensive Cooper S trim.

Looking closer, the JCW Clubman reveals its parent’s ability to recycle items used by its older siblings. The same two transmissions will be on offer — a standard six-speed manual and an optional eight-speed automatic — while the unique barn-doored body is adorned with the typical frippery associated with JCW editions. This means 18-inch wheels are along for the ride plus a more aggressive body kit that suggests better engine and brake cooling. The new kid is hefty like his brothers too — around 3,500 lbs. Still, with the newfound power on tap, it’s expected to complete the 0-60 mile per hour dash in about 6 seconds.

2017 MINI JCW Clubman

Subcompact crossover sales more than doubled in 2015, stirring up the marketplace and giving automakers an entry point with younger buyers. A survey by Strategic Vision Inc. suggests the no-kids/under-45 customer set accounts for about a quarter of the sales in this segment (compared to less than 20 percent for the industry overall). Buyers also are surfacing from the other end of the spectrum, such as Boomers who no longer need to schlep kids around in a large crossover or SUV. No doubt Mini wants a piece of that pie, too.

Think the term “subcompact crossover” and “Clubman” shouldn’t be combined in the same sentence? You’re right, of course, in terms of height: Buick’s Encore towers nearly 10-inches above the Clubman. However, this new JCW is within an inch of length and width (168.3 inches & 70.9 inches, respectively) when compared to the Encore, a model which, it must be noted, counts many of its buyers as conquests from other brands. Mini’s own Countryman is about five inches taller than the Clubman, but is half a foot shorter in length.

The new model, then, gives Mini sales staff yet another all-wheel-drive option to pitch at the rapidly increasing chorus of customers who want their traction with a dash of action.

The 2017 Mini John Cooper Works Clubman is scheduled to go on sale this December.

[Images: BMW of North America]

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31 Comments on “2017 Mini JCW Clubman: More Power and Grip to Lure the Crossover Set...”


  • avatar
    True_Blue

    Typically I avoid dark greens and powerful reds unless it’s December, but that’s pretty striking. The proportions on this particular Mini are attractive too.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Say what you want, Mini has done an excellent job of creating countless variants of basically the same thing. Yes, some have been duds, but Mini has a nice business carved out.

    Fiat on the other hand, trying the exact same thing, has just gone…thud.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Keep it.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    I saw one of these in the wild, and its brake light arrangement seemed bizarre. Its large taillights didn’t light up when it braked; the brake lights are down low, in the bumper, where I would’ve only expected reflectors.

    • 0 avatar
      cirats

      I am not sure but believe this may be because federal regulations prohibit a manufacturer from putting brake lights on moving parts such as doors and trunk lids. Look at all the cars around you with this in mind and I think you’ll find that the brake lights are all on the body of the car.

    • 0 avatar
      sckid213

      Audi Q5 has tail / brake lights on rear clam shell door. But I agree with you that the Mini’s arrangement is probably because of some regulation – like brake lights can be on hatch doors that open up but not “barn doors” that open out. Something like that.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Its the same size as the Golf, nothing crossover about it. For the price premium I had hoped BMW would have offered at least 275hp.

    My wife’s S without leather seats but a lot of other stuff was an MSRP of $37.5. I will have to say the new clubman is very similar in quality to the latest gen 3 series with some MINI quirkyness.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      It is the same size, and it has exactly the same claimed output as a gti with performance pack. It weighs several hundred pounds more, maybe that curb weight is awd specific?

      The last gen turbo was an absolute basket case, here’s hoping that they can sort it out a bit better with the 2.0. I’m a fan of the mini driving experience. I have a dearly held belief that no article about the Fiesta st is complete without a reference to the Cooper s. Those two are in a class of their own given how many horror stories I’ve heard from abarth owners.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        “given how many horror stories I’ve heard from abarth owners”

        Like what? Every time one posts a comment here they say the car has been trouble-free and a blast to drive. Are things different elsewhere?

        Just wondering.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          Yeah I’ve heard a lot of really bad stuff in person. It’s a car im fascinated by and stuck up for initially so i always talk to owners when they pop up. Exploding flywheels, constant check engine lights, valve train issues. It’s possible that these were early adopter issues and have been resolved. I haven’t talked to any recent abarth owners.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Weird that this stuff doesn’t show-up on Abarth forums, and that the senior FCA tech I know hasn’t seen any such issues.

            Maybe it’s a local thing, did all these people go to the same dealer?

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Gah!

    I currently drive a MY09 Clubman and it’s just a slightly elongated Mini with a suicide door for back entry and barn doors on the back. It doesn’t handle as well as an old MY03 – but the longer wheelbase and 16″ rims are nicer on Michigan roads. It’s still a good handler and peppy enough to be fun but not so fast that I end up in jail.

    It reminds me a lot of my previous car, a MY04 BMW 325i – same kind of feel and even lean in the corners. Amazing considering the FWD vs RWD driving dynamics.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Are Mini clubman’s still at the absolute bottom of reliability rankings? That might be worth addressing if they want to sell in this country.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I kind of liked the old Clubman: basically a Mini that three passengers won’t dread.

    This iteration seems a bit too puffy.

  • avatar
    darex

    Kind of baffled by BMW’s decision to switch to a touch-screen-enabled iDrive system, which this car seems to have received as well. It’s hard to see how it will be an improvement over the current iDrive system.

  • avatar
    pb35

    I kinda like the way it looks but 3500 lbs? Pass.

  • avatar
    Ashy Larry

    With any reasonable options this car will likely be well north of $40k, which will cause many people to rightfully question whether this car offers anything that a Golf R or Focus RS doesn’t already — and at those prices, the Golf R may actually be cheaper.

  • avatar
    RHD

    Hopefully the quality issues that had it so far down the list have been addressed. Then next challenge will be to get customers to the Mini dealership who would otherwise shop at any one of all the other car brands.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I don’t see the appeal for a number of reasons:

    – Even the standard Clubman S can get to over $40K with options so this is going to make it even more expensive. For that price you can get an Audi A4, Q3 or even Q5, a BMW X1, a 3 series sedan just to name a few.

    – The base X1 has the same engine and gearbox and I wouldn’t call 0-60 in 6 seconds a performance product. A V6 Altima can do that.

    – To me the Clubman looks over-styled inside and out.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      Another way to look at it:

      You can have all the features of a 3-series or X1 (literally every single option/package/feature is identical) in a MINI, for $10,000 less. You cannot get a loaded 3-series or X1 for under $45,000.

      Ditto an A4 — $50,000 minimum for a fully-loaded one.

      Makes MINIs seem like a bargain, especially when they all start in the $20Ks (as long as you can restain yourself).

      • 0 avatar
        carguy

        @darex: The JCW option has traditionally been a $6,000 to $6,500 upgrade over the S model. That would put a fully loaded JCW Clubman to around $47K. That is simply no bargain when compared to other options in this price range. Taking into consideration the Edmunds pedicted depreciation for optioned Minis, it becomes even less attractive.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Lawl $47,000.

        • 0 avatar
          darex

          Personally, I would never spring for a JCW, so a heavily optioned S, would be my pick. So, ~$30,000.

          I have a near fully-loaded F56 1.5L with manual. Even that is a sprightly engine in that car. I’d get the S for a Clubman though, given the extra weight.

          Depreciation? MINIs hold their value better than almost all other cars! After 7 years, I got $13,000 for my $23,000 2005 MINI Cooper! >>50%!

    • 0 avatar
      john66ny

      For me, it can be summarized in two words: stick shift. But that’s just me.

  • avatar
    319583076

    I think it looks great, though not necessarily in this color scheme. A turbo-4 AWD manual wagon with great handling checks a lot of boxes for me.

    Our previous experience with MINI was overwhelmingly positive, we owned an ’05 convertible for 10 years. I think most of the reliability and ownership gripes can be chalked up to two things: 1. people who abuse their vehicles 2. people who don’t realize they’re buying an entry-level BMW with the attendant parts and labor costs to maintain and repair.

    I built an AWD Clubman S on MINI’s configurator yesterday and the MSRP was only $33k. It seems like you’d have to check all the boxes to get north of $40k like some of you are saying. Ford is usually praised on these pages for offering tons of tech, content, and options on their economy cars but apparently MINI is condemned for doing the same. Should I remind everyone that Jack ran a bit about Porsche charging $6k for performance cloth seats in their entry-level car?

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Restraint is the keypoint with MINI. Get the nice stuff that you want and pass on the rest of the fluff. It helps keep the cost down and reduces the amount of things that can go wrong if you are a long termer.

      FWIW, my wife loves her 2017 Clubman S (All4, 6MT, stickered for $35k). While it isn’t quite as lively in handling and manic in the way it delivers the power as the old one, it kept a lot of the charm and manages to be a fine family car for weekends out of town.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I wonder if they will offer the JCW tuning kit for the regular S models… and how much will it be. They offer it for the hardtop versions.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I bet this car is totes amazeballs to drive!

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