Driven - Nov 2019

MINI John Cooper Works Clubman & Countryman

New MINI John Cooper Works Clubman & Countryman

Mini has just launched the updated versions of their Clubman and Countryman models, and although some manufacturers are guilty of skimping when it comes to updates – Mini is not one of them.

MINI JCW Countryman
Current norms dictate that when a car receives a facelift it receives slightly more power and very minor aesthetic updates, however, Mini have challenged the status quo by giving the new Clubman JCW a new powerplant (Same as M35i) which forks out 55kW more than the outgoing version. Despite the extra ponies, the car remains composed with Minis ALL4 version of all-wheel drive. This means that although the extra power allows the driver to have some fun, it still remains one of Mini’s more mature products in the line-up.

MINI JCW Clubman Rear
At the launch, we drove both the Clubman Cooper S and the Clubman JCW respectively along the same roads to ensure as close a comparison as possible. The Cooper S, even though its down on power when compared with the JCW, still manages to be engaging, and can be shaken loose on corners while still giving the driver enough input to be predictable. Our Clubman Cooper S test unit did suffer from torque steer at wide-open throttle, though this didn’t detract too much from the
thrill-factor. The JCW, however remained composed no matter what command was sent through the steering wheel. We put it through its paces and the AWD coupled with a specifically redesigned chassis refused to allow the car to step out of line.

When you get into the drivers seat of this version, it is unmistakably JCW. The seats are partially wrapped in alcantara, the JCW logo is tastefully interspersed around the cockpit, the steering-wheel has been beefed up and has colour coded stitching and the instrument cluster hints that this is the ultimate Mini performance machine. A reminder of this is given upon start-up when the new exhaust system burbles and pops. This did seem a bit gimmicky though as there was no burble during actual driving. That being said, between the blow-off of the turbo and the actual exhaust note (which has been carefully tuned) the sound of this car could appeal to anyone from mature, level-headed adults through to the boy-racers at the other end of the spectrum.


Even though Mini have followed suit with a touchscreen infotainment system, they have kept all of the physical buttons with clear icons/labels, allowing ease of navigation and familiarity while incorporating a more modern system. We did notice that the main control bezel rotated the opposite way to nearly every other car we’ve seen. This, however once we were acquainted with, was no longer an issue.

Overall, the Clubman JCW is an strong value proposition. The 6 door setup and long wheelbase means that this can be an exceptional travel companion for you and your family. I dare say that the sheer thrill made possible by the new powertrain and practicality of this driver’s car means that it may have finally stated its case in being a possible alternative to the Golf R.

MINI JCW Highlights:

  • The Clubman JCW is propelled from 0 – 100km/h in just 4.9 seconds.
  • Cogs are selected through a responsive 8 Speed Steptronic sports transmission.
  •  A newly added mechanical differential means the power is put down on the road more
    effectively.
  • Mini have added a bigger brake-rotor system which WORK (Warning: switching from the
    Cooper S to the JCW and not tempering your pedal input can result in minor whiplash).
  • New exhaust system which emits a rather pleasant note. Sporty yet not obnoxious.

MINI JCW Facts:

  • R642,000
  • 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo-petrol engine
  • 225kW
  • 450Nm
  • 7-litres/100km

MINI JCW Pricing in South Africa

Prices for the new MINI John Cooper Works Clubman and MINI John Cooper Works Countryman start from R642 000 and R708 000, respectively.