MF Garage: The JCW Clubman vs the Highway

F54 JCW Clubman

Is it possible to call any MINI the perfect highway car? In a word, no. But our JCW Clubman may just be the perfect highway MINI. Recently we’ve been pilling on the highway miles in our JCW Clubman and have come away impressed with ability to effortlessly consume 100s of miles at a time.

For starters this is a car that is well screwed together with no rattles or noises after 18,000 miles. But that’s not surprising – MINIs tend to be well built these days. The real surprise is the comfort that the JCW offers at speed over long distances. In 8th gear at well over 80 mph (where legal), our Clubman feels hardly taxed and certainly relaxed. Not something we’ve ever said about any of our previous seven MINIs.

JCW Clubman

Thanks to the longer wheelbase than most MINIs it also consumes broken pavement and potholes much more elegantly than any MINI before it.

Efficiency? We’re seeing anywhere from 30-33 mpg depending on the highway speeds we’re able to achieve. That’s not class leading but for an all wheel drive performance car it’s more than respectable.

Issues? Our particular Clubman doesn’t have the optional Adaptive Cruise which helps this type of driving tremendously. It’s also missing the Heads-Up Display option which helps keeps eyes on the road. We’d also love to have swapped out the JCW steering wheel for the MINI Yours steering wheel with softer, more comfortable leather (a free option for JCWs).

And let’s talk about the seats. Our JCW comes with the Cooper S sports seats which frankly aren’t as good as the JCW seats that comes standard. But the ine thung they do better is long haul comfort. Even still these seats don’t come close to what you’ll find in a BMW 5 Series or even 3 Series. There simply isn’t the length or width for a seat like that in a MINI. But what they do offer is the best of comfort and support we’ve ever seen from MINI.

The Clubman may not be the perfect highway car but it’s an excellent choice for someone looking for something a bit more personality On the open road.

  • Effortless coped with the 6 hour drive between Toronto and Montreal… <3

  • Eric

    You’re wrong when you say that the MINI Yours steering wheel has got “softer, more comfortable leather” than the JCW steering wheel : contrary to what is written on the official brochure, this is exactly the same high quality for both (and superior to that of the standard steering wheel)

    The only difference lies in the non-stitched appearance of the JCW steering wheel

    • CJ

      He’s actually correct about the Yours steering wheel; I have it and choose it specifically because it is much softer than the standard leather. It feels like uncoated Napa straight from a 7 series, far softer even than the current M Steering Wheel.

      The JCW wheel shares the same type of leather with the standard wheel, just thicker and also perforated on the inside.

      • That’s correct. It uses Napa leather in BMW speak – a grade above what the JCW uses.

        • Eric

          Thank you for this correction 🙂

        • This is what’s stated above as well. So there’s no correction. MINI Yours uses a higher quality leather than the JCW.

        • Johnny Boots

          On my JCW Clubman I went with the MINI Yours wheel and it’s fantastic! 11 months and 25k miles, it’s been a great highway car.

  • Mark Lee

    Have a Clubman ALL4 S and have averaged 35mph averaging 72mph on a blast down to FLA from VA…..