We’ve talked about it for years and now it appears a 300 hp MINI is upon us. According to sources the B48 four cylinder will finally hit the 300 hp number starting with the BMW X2 M35i next year. The M35i will likely also spread to the X1 and eventually make its way to the MINI Countryman and Clubman (as a JCW model) sometime in 2019. Earlier this year we saw the Clubman testing this engine at the Nurburgring complete with revised (and more aggressive) JCW styling.
You might have read the recent rumors of a mythical 300 HP Countryman/Clubman both this week and in our original reporting in 2014. Sounds fantastic doesn’t it? Coming from someone who uses a JCW Clubman as a daily I love the idea of more power.
In its current form our 2017 JCW Clubman feels quick but not fast in an era where SUVs are routinely in the 4s to 60 MPH. That’s what this new JCW Clubman and a Countryman would solve. But do we need it? Do you need it? Clearly that comes down to personal preference but we believe there is a market. The Focus RS and Golf R prove that point well. Looking at current pricing, the likely cost would be well over $40k and probably closer to $45k.
Does the extra performance justify that cost? From what we’re hearing there’s a chance it’ll be more than just the engine upgrade.
MINI will also offer a thoroughly retuned suspension and upgraded brakes. Then there’s the transmission. We originally thought the 300 hp MINI would have a DCT since it’s bejng introduced to the Cooper and Cooper S. Sources tell us tha MINI has decided to go with an iteration in the 8 speed automatic currently in the JCW Clubman and Countryman. While we’d be heart broken if a manual wasn’t in the offering, the 8 speed Auto is already an excellent choice for performance. With further refinement it would likely be hard to argue against in terms of number (feel would be a different argument of course).
Would I buy it over my current JCW Clubman if it were an extra 5k? It may sound obvious but it’s simply too soon to say. The manual version of the current JCW Clubman is such a well balanced car it’s hard to imagine you need more power to have more fun. Granted more power is great, but the real change we’d like to see would be a lighter flywheel and a freer revving engine. Those equal responsiveness which is more of a hallmark of the MINI brand than outright power.
How about you? Would a 300 hp Clubman or Countryman tempt you?