The MINI Clubman has always been a weird car. The first iteration of MINI’s effort to provide more versatility that one could get with the “original” MINI two-door (itself a BMW reworking of a classic British car from the 1960s). Enter in the mid-2000s an offbeat design that feature a small, additional pair of gate-swinging doors to provide rear access, along with a wagon-y back featuring old-school saloon-style doors rather than a hatch.
Yup, odd. But distinctive and consistent with MINI’s eye-catching, go-your-own-way, design-intensive approach to carmaking.
The second-gen Clubman, rolled out in 2015, gained proper rear doors and was outfitted with optional all-wheel-drive (the first-gen was front-wheel only), transforming it into a sort of wagon-cum-crossover, albeit a low-slung version. Like all MINIs, it was decidedly sporty, calculated to be able to out a smile on you face and successfully complete grocery store excursions or short getaways with luggage.
BMW-owned MINI had another level to take the Clubman to — the John Cooper Works performance treatment — and has now done so, creating the JCW Clubman All4. Think of it as the Clubman with an added wild streak, because that’s what the JCW mods typically do: They make your MINI into a bonkers thing, as I found out when I sampled the insane two-door MINI JCW.
The car was introduced last year, and we got our hands on a tester just as the Northeast was being slammed by its (maybe) last snowstorm of winter (we’re enjoying much balmier weather now). Price? A cool $45,000. Here’s what we thought:
The 2017 John Cooper Works MINI Clubman All4 — Whew! That’s a lot of name! — landed in the snowbound driveway of our suburban New Jersey test center before spring sprung. Color: Rebel Green, chaps!
We wondered if the Clubman JCW would be a terrifying as the last JCW MINI we, um, enjoyed. That car scared the living bejeezus out of us. What a savage little thing!
Read the review here if you dare.
The MINI Cooper S Convertible was rather more chill. Basically, the perfect MINI.
Here’s the review for that one.
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