MotoringFile’s Long Term Test Car for 2017 is…

Drum roll please…. for 2017 MotoringFile will be testing a new MINI. Not just any MINI but what we’d consider one of the brand’s halo vehicles: The JCW Clubman. Like our long term cars before it, the new JCW will be subjected to the a full 12 months of commuting, road trips and general day to day life. The idea is to give you a full view of what it’s like to live with the JCW Clubman warts and all.

MINI JCW Countryman

MINI JCW Clubman

The Specification

We’re going to have to learn how to drive an automatic. Yup. For the first time in MotoringFile’s history we have a longterm test car that is an automatic. In years past we’ve not been big fans of automatic MINIs. We’ve called them everything from sacrilegious to just bad. But times have changed and MINIs automatics have gotten dramatically better. Especially MINIs 8 speed sport automatic found in the new Clubman and Countryman. What we hope to find out: what’s it like for a MINI enthusiast to live with one (in more aggressive JCW trim) as a daily driver.



Unlike previous years we decided to let MINI spec the car for us (hence the auto). This meant we’d get a car that more aligned with a typical JCW Clubman in a dealer lot. The downside is that it’s not quite the car we would have order. Lets take a look at the options:

  • Color: Rebel Green with Black Roof + Mirror Caps (Probably our favorite color in the MINI range)
  • Leather Cross Punch Black (yup kind of a bummer given that the standard and much more aggressive JCW seats are so good)
  • Sport Auto (see above)
  • Cold Weather (folding mirrors!)
  • Technology Pkg (mandatory)
  • Wired Pkg (mandatory)
  • Premium Package (mandatory
  • Dynamic Damper Control (the first time we’ve had this on a long term we)
  • Sirius Radio (Howard Stern?)
  • Power Front Seats (in a MINI?)
  • Alarm (helps us sleep at night)

What’s the total? Are you sitting down? $47,550. Is it worth it? We intend to find out.

  • Kevin Bartlett

    There isn’t much that isn’t on this car. But I have questions. 1. There isn’t a Wired Pkg on the configurator what are we implying that includes here? I’m guessing XM, and Active Drive. 2. 19 inch Wheels? Are you keeping the wheels you have now, I quite like those, more than any of MINI’s offerings now. 3. I keep waffling on whether the Premium Pkg is “Mandatory” though I would add HK the sunroof I’m back and forth on. What’s your reasoning.

    • Ryan Cooley

      The premium package is nice if you want HK, sunroof and adaptive headlight. Sunroofs are kinda meh imo just get the hk stereo but to each their own! It’s ur car!

      • Kevin Bartlett

        The argument I’ve heard for the sunroof is that it makes the car much brighter inside…..I’ve had cars with them and without them. When I’ve had them I’ve forgot to open them, I did open it today on the shade of mine today since Michigan actually saw some sunshine!

    • The wheels are likely 18″ – at least on the Mini USA configurator, choosing the dynamic damper control forces 18″ wheels.

  • I’m picking mine up next week. I’m so excited, and I’m looking forward to your take on the car. I love how you described the options – I agree with almost everything you wrote, including about the seats. I kept the standard JCW seats because they looked so unique compared to the other (arguably nicer/more luxurious) options. I did stay with the manual, though. After all, I did get to spec my own car. 🙂

    • Sounds awesome. Be sure to send pics and let us know how you like it.

  • Tom Kennedy

    Did you get the donut spare option?

    • Ronald Luongo

      Is this available on the JCW Clubman? I only see it on the Cooper/Copper S.

      • Tom Kennedy

        I’m not sure. I haven’t thought there’d be a difference with the JCW version

  • Chris Steinke

    I’ve been really interested in the Clubman JCW but the way they are configurable in the US it adds a lot of stuff I don’t want just to get navigation. I don’t want heads up or park assist for instance. And the price puts it in 330i, 430i GranCoupe or Audi S3 range after negotiation and it seems that there is no room for negotiation or much on Clubman JCW.

    Just for the hell of it, I configured a BMW 340i and M240i, just the way I want it and making an educated guess as to what I can negotiate it down to, it’s only ~3-4k more and you get a car that will smoke and outperform a Clubman JCW.

    The problem comes down to the bells and whistles that Mini forces on US customers. I went over to the UK site and you can configure the car better.

    The sales advisor from MINI told me that she can get me the BMW instead. Argh, that’s not the point! It is as if the dealers don’t care.

    • Tom Kennedy

      The Mini sales rep I talked to at the Bellevue mall was probably the 2nd worst sales rep I ever met. The other was an Audi guy about 25 years ago who while I was in cycling clothes with a bike on a rack asked me “What would it take to get me into a new car today?”