Our New Long Term Test Car Has Arrived – the 2017 JCW Clubman

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After a longer than expected wait our 2017 JCW Clubman has made it into our hands. This new 228 hp JCW replaces our well used and (dare we say it) rather beloved 2016 Clubman Cooper S after almost 20,000 miles of service. We’ll have much more on that car soon but lets first introduce you to something much more black….or green in some light.

Our 2017 JCW Clubman in many ways is our dream MINI. It’s got all the utility you could ever need with all of the JCW performance that we want. However it’s not exactly how we’d spec it. In some cases we can specify our long term test cars. In other cases (this one) we take something that feels like it’ll be a different experience and perhaps more inline with what some of you might want to see. In other words it’s an automatic. Our first automatic MINI we’ve ever had as either a long term test car or that I’ve personally driven for more than a week. It’ll take a while to figure out what to do with my left foot.

Interesting items on the spec sheet

  • Standard Cooper S seats – a shame since the JCW seats are so great but from my experience these are still good while adding a touch more comfort on long trips
  • Stealth pack – there is no JCW or MINI logo on the back of the car and no All4 logos on the side – fine by us but I’d expect that the stealth pack would eliminate the “Clubman” and keep the MINI and JCW logos.
  • The optional chrome trim bar on the grill also means that this is as undercover as a JCW can get from the factory
  • Rebel Green can look very black in some light. Add black 18″ wheels and an all black interior and we have our first blacked out MINI since this car. We love it.

Initial Impressions

$47,550 and it doesn’t even have heads-up display. There is no question that this is an expensive MINI. And we’re not here to pretend that it will hold all of that value over the course of a year.

I’ve driven a lot of BMWs (and MINIs) around this price point and (so far) $47k doesn’t feel crazy in the context of this. The performance is impressive given the power to weight ratio and the transmission (it pains me to say this as a manual guy) is exceptional in its execution. It’s tuned how BMW M tunes their DCTs and autos with shifts that snap and plenty of delightful exhaust overrun.

Suspension dynamics are drastically improved over the standard suspension of our previous Clubman. The combination of the 18″ wheels, revised suspension and All4 (more on that later) makes this car feel much more balanced in every aspect.

We’ll have much more on our new JCW Clubman in coming days and weeks ahead. Also check out our Instagram feed for more photos.