The BMW 1M Vs The JCW Clubman; the comparison everyone was waiting for. Wait, what the hell? Yeah, we figured why not. They both live in our garage; but, surprisingly there are more similarities beyond that. In this case, they have almost the same miles on them at this point; 18k on the 1M and 15k on the Clubman. They both produce over 300 hp and they both cost almost exactly the same with options pushing our Clubman to $47k and the 1M costing $51k when new (values have since risen to around $65k).
But that’s where the similarities end. Our love for the now mythical BMW 1M is just as strong now as it was a decade ago. With over 335 hp, 332 ft lbs of torque, a massive M differential, rear wheel drive and a manual, it is one of the last analogue sports cars ever made by BMW. Then there’s the JCW Clubman. 306 hp, 331 ft lbs of torque all driven through all four wheels and an 8-speed automatic transmission. While it’s not what we’d consider analogue, it is a multifaceted weapon that combines classic MINI sensibilities with some new found brute force.
How do they compare? We’re going to give you three examples that may surprise you.
2011 BMW 1M Vs The 2020 JCW Clubman: 0-60
In most situations they are identical from 0-60. Yes the 1M regularly hit 60 in around 4.4 seconds where the JCW Clubman is clocked at 4.6. But the automatic and the all wheel drive in the Clubman means you get that time every time while the 1M will need you to hunt for grip and hang-on.
2011 BMW 1M Vs The 2020 JCW Clubman: Braking
The 1M relied on BMW M’s antiquated floating caliper philosophy that dated back to the E46 M3. They were large however at 360 mm upfront. The Clubman offers identically sized 360 mm front brake rotors, but clamps down on them with four piston Brembo sourced fixed calipers. The difference is evident after a few miles. While the 1M has a touch more feel and is easier to modulate, the Clubman’s has better overall braking performance in real world testing gives you a bit more confidence.
On the track they both experience some subtle fade after heavy usage in a 20 minute session. But, it’s the new fixed aluminum caliper system of the Clubman that seem less prone to degradation and ultimately delivers a bit more confidence.
2011 BMW 1M Vs The 2020 JCW Clubman: In the Corners
While the JCW Clubman goes about its business with little drama on the track, the 1M is the exact opposite. Where the Clubman will deviate from torque steering out of tight corners to gentle understeer drifts when pushed, the 1M wants nothing more than to drift – all – day – long. If you so desired, you could do the Scandinavian flick and drift it in a straight line doing no more than 20 mph.
It’s no surprise then that the 1M requires more skill to master yet is ultimately much more rewarding to drive fast. Throw in one of the best manual transmission and clutch combinations that I’ve ever felt in a car, and you have something that is totally analogue and totally satisfying. It also helps that the 1M weighs a few hundred lbs less than the JCW Clubman.
Wait – What Did We Learn?
This comparison has been staring me (almost literally) in the face since I picked-up the JCW Clubman last November. With the JCW Clubman (and Countryman) now offering over 300 hp, it’s not that crazy to start comparing them to high performance cars from just a few years ago. Considering our very limited review parameters, it really did hold its own more than I expected.
Yet there’s no getting around the fact that the Clubman is a family car intended to be fun yet focused on utility and day to day livability. The 1M goes a long way in delivering more utility than you’d expect, but it’s clearly not intended for the same market as the Clubman. No one is cross-shopping these two. Yet with the pricing and performance comparisons (straight-line) surprisingly similar, it’s a fascinating view at two book-ends of the performance car marketplace.
Our buying advice? If you’re looking for something fun, it’s simple; go back in time and get the 1M. And while you’re at it pick-up a low-mileage R53 MCS. If you’re looking for a daily or even a family car that can surprisingly hold it’s own against one of the best M cars ever made, the JCW Clubman is a smart choice.