By Asian Journal Auto Editor

2017-mini-clubman-jcwThe 6-Door, Mini Clubman is the wagon – like sibling of the Mini family with its two barn doors at the rear. It is relatively rare on the streets and is a rather interesting take on the Mini; offering a mix of versatility and unique looks. For 2017, Mini offer the esteemed John Cooper Works treatment for the Clubman. For the uninitiated, JCW is the famous British tuning firm that has worked racing performance and styling magic on the Mini brand for decades.

Styling wise, the JCW Clubman offers the Clubman with an aggressive body kit, comprising of a front fascia with extra cooling vents, side-skirt extensions, and black finished 18-inch wheels. JCW badges adorn the Clubman, along with slick looking racing stripes to set off the raffish look. Performance –wise there is lowered sports suspension with an optional Dynamic Damper Control system, big four-piston Brembo brakes with cool red finished calipers. Under the hood JCW have tuned an extra 39-hp and 22 lb-ft of torque from the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It now offers 228 hp @ 5,000 – 6,000 rpm and Torque at 258 lb-ft from this BMW sourced unit. The JCW Clubman also gain an additional radiator to keep the hardworking engine cool. Transmission is via a six-speed manual or a ZF 8-Speed automatics.

Interior –wise, the Mini Clubman has the delightfully, slightly updated retro chic that is so endearing. It’s all there – the big round center gauge that houses all the major functions displays, aircraft style switchgear, plenty of chrome accents, and other funky design quirks. All unique looking and a constant delight to look upon. Contoured bucket seats, folding seats, and versatile cargo area means the Mini is practical as well as ultra-stylish. But as usual the Mini, any Mini is not cheap! The Clubman starts at a base MSRP of $37,290. While – a fully loaded JCW Clubman can sticker for over $44,000 plus taxes and freight and PDI once you start adding options. The numerous options are pricy as well. The $1,300 Loaded package adds an auto dimming mirror, auto climate control and the Harman Kardon sound system. The Essentials Package ($1,050) adds a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, and rear foglights. Meanwhile the Wired Navigation Package ($1,000) includes an 8.8’ Touchscreen with a touch controller and on-board navigation. There is also an $800 Visibility Package, offering a rear-view camera, rear park distance control, and a heads-up display. The Cargo package adds a through loading system, and as rear underfloor storage compartment package for $500.

On the road, what can I say, I just love Mini’s, all Mini’s and the JCW Clubman is no exception. The engine is full of beans and combined with ZF 8-Speed transmission offer delightfully fast off the line acceleration. Accompanied by the rasping, burbling exhaust note in between up and down shifts, the Mini has a one of the best engine and exhaust audio soundtracks of any car to enjoy. The Mini’s ALL4 AWD   sends most of its power to the front wheels, the rear wheels getting power on demand. Grip is still tenacious with the lower centered Clubman offering excellent handling through bends and curves. The JCW firmer sports suspension and the optional Dynamic Damper Control system allow drivers to adjust the suspension firmness for more spirited driving. Normal is the default suspension setting and ideal for most everyday driving. In Sport mode, the throttle tightens up, the ride is firmer with more feel, and the ability to take corners even faster. Whatever mode you choose, the Mini is such tremendous fun with its well-calibrated electronically boosted steering and quick reflexes. The big Brembo brakes are also super- efficient with quick well-modulated stops. Once again Mini has a niche product that will appeal to the discerning. Practical, sporty, a lot of fun to drive, and now enhanced with the John Cooper Works performance magic, the JCW Mini Clubman is supremely addictive. Everyone should own a Mini at least once in their life. Why not this one? Highly recommended.

 2017 MINI John Cooper Works Clubman ALL4. Priced from $37,290. Plus Options, taxes, freight and PDI.