MF Review: JCW Clubman vs The Countryman Cooper S

The JCW Clubman is the quicker and more efficient alternative to the MINI Countryman Cooper S. Having just had the new Countryman for a week that opinion (that had been brewing since our first drive in the F60) was reinforced pretty strongly. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the Countryman and there’s little question it will be a huge seller for MINI USA. The load angles are better and it has an overall rugged quality to the design that gives it a ton of personality. The seating position is arguably better (for visibility) and the adjustable rear seats are a nice touch for the segment.

But (you knew it was coming) there is simply no way I would spend my money on a Countryman Cooper S when I could (for 3-4k more) get a quicker, more agile JCW Clubman. Add to the fact that MINI USA is dealing on Clubman right now and it’s a pretty viable choice.

New MINI Countryman (F60) Inches Clubman F60 is greater by Previous Countryman (R60) F60 is greater by
Length 169.8 168.3 1.5 161.7 8.1
Width 71.7 70.9 0.8 66.3 5.4
Height 61.3 56.7 4.6 61 0.3
Wheelbase 105.1 105.1 Same 102.2 2.9
Front track (Cooper) 61.5 61.6 2.5 60.2 1.3
Rear track (Cooper) 61.6 61.6 2.5 61.3 0.3
Front track (Cooper S) 61.6 60.2 1.4 60.2 1.4
Rear track (Cooper S) 61.7 61.3 0.4 61.3 0.4
Legroom (front) 40.4 41.4 -1 40.4 Same
Legroom (rear) 37.6 34.3 3.3 33.8 3.8
Shoulder room (front) 54.8 54.7 0.1 52.8 2
Shoulder room (rear) 54 52.8 1.2 52.1 1.9
Headroom (front) 40.5 40.2 0.3 39.9 0.6
Headroom (rear) 38.3 38 0.3 37.5 0.8
Cargo Volume (rear seats in use) 17.6 17.5 0.1 17.5 0.1
Cargo Volume (rear seats folded flat) 47.6 47.9 -0.3 42.2 5.4

Somewhat surprisingly MINI doesn’t think there will be much cross shopping between the two despite the size and performance similarities. Let’s look at the numbers. As you can see above, the Countryman is slightly wider and longer than the Clubman. But that doesn’t necessarily add up to more interior room everywhere. While it’s more rear passenger friendly, it has less room upfront for long legs. In the rear it’s essentially the same luggage space sans the couple extra inches of height that the Countryman affords.

Look at that boot.

Performance wise the Clubman wins outright due to less weight and a lower center of gravity. Getting specific, the Countryman Cooper S All4 we recently tested is 3629 lbs. An equivalent Clubman Cooper S All4 is 3,485 lbs – 144 lbs lighter (all in manual form). And where that extra weight is placed (towards the top) matters in how the car feels when pushed.

This weight penalty ends up making the Countryman slightly less efficient than an equivalent Clubman as well. Then there’s the price which also goes in favor of the Clubman. The 2017 Clubman Cooper S costs $29,450 vs $31,600 for the brand new Countryman. While there’s a bit more standard equipment on the Countryman, that price difference might be hard to cast aside for those looking for value for money. Making things more interesting dealers are looking to move Clubman in a big way right now because (no surprise) the Countryman is the hotter selling vehicle. This is causing the Clubman to sit on lots longer than MINI would like.

It all comes down to what you value in your larger MINIs. If it’s rear seat space, higher seating position and a more rugged look, the new Countryman is the obvious choice. If not we think the smart choice is the Clubman. And if you can stretch, the JCW Clubman might just be the ultimate four door MINI.

  • karrock

    I know you prefer the Clubman but this isn’t really an apples to apples comparison, now is it? Shouldn’t you you be reviewing the JCW editions of each? Price differential will rise but the performance aspects will run closer to parity.

    • The commonality is the size and price. Because of the Countryman’s popularity right now you can find a JCW Clubman for only a few grand more than a comparible Countryman Cooper S.

  • darex

    Didn’t you guys pay $47,500 for your JCW Clubman(!)?

    • Yes – it’s fully loaded. They start at $35k and I’ve seen them for up to $7k off MSRP right now. The Countryman Cooper S starts at 31,700 with few to no deals to be had.

      • Ryan Cooley

        Where have you seen a jcw clubman for 7k off?!?!? I WANNA GO THERE AND BUY IT THEN ?

    • r_k_w
      Didn’t you guys pay $47,500 for your JCW Clubman(!)?

      They didn’t pay anything. They were given a free long term loaner.

      • Ryan Cooley

        I realize that. Wasn’t what we were talking about. Was talking about cars dealer lots being discounted

  • Amy McKenna

    As someone that works and sells for MINI I have found that my customers generally don’t compare the two models. People buy the Countryman because of it’s higher seating position not the performance. Clubmans unique look is also very subjective, people either like it or hate it. The two models are different enough that they are attracting different buyers which is great when selling them.

    • CA-MINI

      Amy, as a MINI sales person I am very interested to know how your customers feel about the relative size of the new Countryman. I recently went to my dealership to look at the new Countryman in person. I’m an R60 owner and I was struck by just how big the F60 is. I know I am probably in the minority but I was turned off by the big-ness. What is the general consensus of the people who come in the showroom and look at the car?

      • Amy McKenna

        Yes, its definitely grown and its certainly obvious. Saying that, I haven’t had any negative reactions to it because of the growth. As a smaller female, I don’t notice the size difference while driving and the visibility is still really good around the car. I was surprised that the previous R60 reviews said that it lacked in space in the rear seats, I have always thought there was plenty and customers thought so too. So adding space in the F60 is a little baffling but it hasn’t been a disadvantage. Have you driven an F60 yet? If not, definitely do, its a really great product. The improvements in performance, suspension and noise dampening are brilliant.

        • CA-MINI

          Thanx for the feedback Amy, I am an R60 owner and I agree I think there is sufficient rear seat room. I’m 6 feet tall and regularly have 4 adults in the car. Most people are surprised how comfortable it is inside. I did not drive the F60, but maybe I will next time on your recommendation

  • Nick Dawson

    MINI USA TOTAL SALES AUGUST vs YTD 2017

    Countryman – 1,365 vs 9,191 Hardtop 2dr – 0,848 vs 7,104 Clubman —– 1,103 vs 5,952 Hardtop 4dr – 0,639 vs 4,956 Convertible — 0,493 vs 3,839