Taking a car to the track reveals every capability and flaw. So when we had a chance recently to take the 306 hp 2020 JCW Clubman to the Thermal Race Club just outside of Palm Springs, we jumped at the chance. Could this dynamically improved JCW Clubman be a true track car? How would that extra power feel on the track and would those giant 14″ front brakes hold up? Let’s find out.

Over the past four months we’ve had a chance drive the 2020 JCW Clubman on two racetracks as well as the Tail of the Dragon. As you can see above, it felt tenacious on the track. While it’s not as buttoned down as a full-on M car or JCW GP, the Clubman exhibited incredible grip and great balance for a front-wheel drive based all-wheel drive car. While you’ll ultimately reach understeer, the 2020 JCW Clubman is admirably neutral until then. In fact this is the most neutral car MINI has ever made (and by my math, I’ve tracked them all).

How does it compare with the 228 hp version of the JCW Clubman? We had a chance to experience both cars back to back and found more differences than just the obvious power gap. The updated car exhibited better, more direct feedback, quicker shifts, and an All4 system that feels more predictive. Both on the road and the track, what MINI has done is sharpen the JCW Clubman’s responses and evolve it to be more driver focused.

2020 JCW Clubman

Braking was also where there was a clear difference. The 14” rotors and larger calipers simply stop the car better and with less fade. Lap after lap we hit the braking point on the back stretch with more speed until we felt completely dialed in. Never once did we feel any degradation or inconsistencies.

For $48,100, you’d expect the JCW Clubman to be pretty good. But from what we’ve experienced, MINI has taken a very good car and transformed it into an exceptional one.