When we picked-up our 2020 JCW Clubman the only glaring option left of it’s sticker were those glorious 19” JCW wheels. Because our car was within the first month of production, they weren’t available on the then freshly revised 2020 JCW Clubman. We figured ultimately that would be a good thing given the dire pothole situation throughout the Midwest. Little did we know it wouldn’t matter.
In the span of two months we blew-out two run flats on I-90 and Lakeshore drive respectively. The first hit damaged the tire but didn’t cause deflation. It was only after taking it to MINI of Glencoe we realized the severity of the situation and that the tire had to be replaced. Also taking a shot was the wheel which now has a permanent (albeit slight) shudder at high speeds.
With a new left-front Installed and our car back on the road we figured it was one-off. Until we hit the mother of all potholes on a bridge expansion joint. That impact was as dramatic as they come with 100% of air pressure being lost in the span of about 15 seconds. And once again it was the front-left. I immediately found an off-ramp and began the long, slow limp back up to MINI of Glencoe.
What does it tell us? Two things right off the bat. For starters 18” tires can still be a concern in areas where potholes are plentiful. While we still prefer the look and feel of larger wheels, they do come with a clear downside in terms of ride and longevity. Secondly run-flats are incredibly helpful in these situations. With a typical tire the worst case would have been me swapping a space saver spare on a busy shoulder. Or in the case of most modern MINIs with no spare, an immediate call for a tow truck. While run-flats still cost a fair bit more than the standard tire, their performance and comfort has come a very long way from the early R50/R53 days.
Other than the two tires the lat few months have been both a total blast and rather boring. The 306 hp JCW Clubman continues to (quite literally) blow us away with it’s power and poise.