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JCW scorcher looms as Mini Clubman arrives

In da Club: Mini's latest Clubman carries the same opening price as the outgoing model, but adds loads more spec and an extra passenger door.

More variants are on the way as the Mini Clubman opens its six doors to all in Oz

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Mini logo18 Nov 2015

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

MINI has confirmed that a John Cooper Works (JCW) version of the second-generation Clubman is in the pipeline for a late 2016 release in Australia.

It may also lead the way for additional models down the track, as BMW Group Australia weighs up the option of a diesel, as well as a much-rumoured all-wheel drive 220kW Super JCW Clubman flagship to compete against the Audi RS3 and Mercedes-AMG A45.

However, an entry-level Clubman One, to match the Hatch with a circa-$30,000 opening gambit is unlikely to be offered at this stage.

Speaking at the launch of the Clubman in Adelaide, Mini Australia general manager Kai Bruesewitz revealed that a performance sports wagon alternative to the Volkswagen Golf R Variant and upcoming Subaru Levorg will follow soon after its international premiere sometime next year.

“I reckon at some stage next year you will be seeing a JCW version,” he said.

“Probably more at the back end of next year.

“We just launched the JCW for the three-door hatch, which makes it the fastest production Mini ever and a great addition, so that said, I’m pretty sure we would find some connoisseurs for the JCW Clubman too.

“I think it would make sense as an addition at some stage to the product portfolio.”

No specification or pricing information has been divulged, while the local Mini boss also refusing to discuss the Super JCW AWD, adding that “it is too soon to comment on that”.

The F56 Mini three-door Hatch JCW surfaced earlier this year from $47,400, plus on-road costs, for the six-speed manual, powered by a 170kW/350Nm 2.0-litre TwinPower four-cylinder petrol engine.

Assuming that a similar circa-$11,000 premium is applied to the $42,900 Clubman Cooper S, expect the Clubman JCW to kick off from the low-to-mid $50,000 mark.

Meanwhile, the introduction of the Clubman diesel is less certain for Australia, although Mr Bruesewitz has not ruled it out entirely.

“We are leaving the door open for diesel, and see what the customer feedback is,” he said. “If there is a demand for diesel, we will definitely look into that. So far in our model portfolio a diesel is offered on the Countryman and Hatch models, but it only has a 20 to 30 per cent share, and we’d be talking about a 10 to 15 per cent share only (for a Clubman diesel).”

In Europe, the Clubman is offered in two diesel sizes – an 85kW/270Nm 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine in the Cooper D, as well as a 140kW/400Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder version in the performance-orientated Cooper SD. The latter trades the standard six-speed automatic for an eight-speed unit.

With the fuller and more practical range, Mr Bruesewitz reiterated his point made to GoAuto back at the JCW Hatch launch in July that Mini now has the armour it needs to take on the Audi A3 Sportback and Mercedes-Benz A-Class, bringing new customers to the fold.

“We are hoping for incremental volume,” he said. “There is big conquest potential, and we think we have not only the right emotional product, but also the right rational argument. Then we have to see what that share of the Clubman can be.

“It probably won’t be the biggest seller in our line-up, but it will still have very significant volume. In the past, the Clubman had more or less niche volume for the reasons that we know, it was obviously a Mini but with the driver’s additional door meant the added value was a bit limited here we add value to the line-up, and with that, we can also achieve significant volume with the Clubman in addition to the regular volume.”

As revealed in late October, the $34,900 plus on-roads base Cooper costs the same as the preceding version, but that was for the six-speed manual (which is now special-order only and at no cost reduction), while the entry newcomer includes a six-speed auto as standard.

Other standard fare includes a forward collision warning, pre-conditioning braking, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitors, front foglights, a 6.5-inch screen, extended Bluetooth functionality, climate control air-con, rear-seat airvents, and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Moving up to the $42,900 Cooper S auto (representing a $3360 saving over the R55 equivalent) brings cloth/leather seats, sports steering wheel, satellite navigation, electric tailgate, a Performance Control System that reduces understeer and increases traction, extra chrome and 17-inch alloys.

Weighing in between 1300kg and 1395kg, the regular Cooper employs the F56/5 Hatch’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine producing 110kW of power at 4400rpm and 220Nm of torque at 1250rpm, with an extra 10Nm overboost facility if you really step on it.

It makes for a 9.1-second dash to 100km/h on the way to a 205km/h top speed.

Fuel consumption is rated at 5.4 litres per 100km and emissions are 125 grams per kilometre of CO2.

In contrast, the 1360-1465kg Cooper S’ 2.0-litre four-pot turbo-petrol unit’s outputs are 141kW at 5000rpm and 280Nm at 1250rpm (or 300Nm on overboost) aided by an eight-speed auto, it returns a 7.2s 0-100km/h sprint-time, 228km/h top speed, 6.4L/100km fuel use, and 138-148g/km emissions.

Sitting on the same UKL transverse front-drive architecture as other recent Minis as well as the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and X1, the Clubman shares the latter’s 2670mm wheelbase, making it 100mm longer than the Hatch, as well as the biggest Mini ever. Key dimensions are 4253mm long, 1800mm wide, and 1441mm high, with a ground clearance of 141mm overall.

Underneath the Clubman, the front end consists of MacPherson struts, while the rear employs a multi-link arrangement.

Finally, but perhaps most strikingly, this is a six-door wagon – two on each side, and a pair of ‘barn’ split doors at the back, with available touchless operation and a wiper apiece.

Mini Australia is counting on at least three our of four buyers to be new to the brand.

2015 Mini Clubman pricing*
Cooper (a)$34,900
Cooper S (a)$42,900
*Excludes on-road costs

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