Thanks to the appealing utility and performance of our JCW Clubman, we’re racking up miles at a quick pace – 8,000 miles in 7 months so far. Enough that we have plenty of opinions on MINI’s fastest model.

This is our second Clubman in as many years with our first being a manual Cooper S model. While the price premium may be a tough pill to swallow for some (45k as tested), the performance of the JCW (especially with all wheel drive and 258 ft lbs of torque) is hard to argue with. Coupled with the quick shifting 8 speed auto and it’s a very effective package and generating grins.

It’s worth noting that those 8,000 miles have come and gone with zero issues (not even a rattle or noise). The quality of MINIs has seemingly increased dramatically over the early years of the R50 and R53. They have now become reliable, fun and even comfortable transportation (that last one is always subjective mind you). This Clubman in particular feels solid in the best tradition of German automakers sense. Sounds weird to say that but it’s clear that BMW build quality is finally evident in MINIs, 15 years after the brand’s relaunch.

The JCW Clubman itself has been a wonderful package to live with daily. To us it represents the best combination of performance and utility that MINI sells. Lighter and lower than the Countryman with the same interior space (sans some height), the Clubman is also a great value costing $1,000s less. And that’s before the discounts many dealers are currently giving them.

That doesn’t mean our JCW Clubman is perfect. We’d love to see a bit more power and 0-60 times below six seconds. A wider off-set (bringing the wheels and tires out a few millimeters) and a very subtle drop in height would also do wonders in making the JCW Clubman look like the $45k performance car it feels like.

With our time with the car more than half over, we’re dreading the day it heads back to MINIUSA. Perhaps more than any test car since our 2012 JCW Roadster.