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2022 Mini John Cooper Works Clubman Review: Party In ‘Da Club

Ben Chia
03/06/2022
2022 Mini John Cooper Works Clubman exterior front CarBuyer Singapore

Mini’s ‘gentleman’ Clubman gets a massive shot of power, but what does the John Cooper Works treatment bring to the party?


2022 Mini John Cooper Works Clubman

Launched: April 2022, Price S$281,888 with COE (June 2022)
Five-door performance hatchback/wagon, five seats
302hp 2.0-litre petrol engine, VES C1, 7.7L/100km


PROS
Very fast
Good in the corners
Slightly more space than a regular Mini

CONS
Harsh ride quality
Lacks that Mini buzz


Photos: Leow Ju-Len

SINGAPORE

The Mini Clubman is seen as the ‘gentleman’s Mini’ (as opposed to the young punk Mini that is the regular hatch I suppose), being somewhat more grown up by offering a bit of extra space, but not quite the family-friendly crossover that is the Countryman. It’s not really a car that makes you want to behave like a hooligan, and so the idea of a John Cooper Works Clubman does seem a bit incongruent with the car’s character. Regardless, it does exist, and here we are.

2022 Mini John Cooper Works Clubman exterior rear CarBuyer Singapore

For the uninitiated, John Cooper Works, or JCW, is essentially Mini’s performance division, named after the guy who tuned and raced the original Mini Cooper back in the day. The JCW department has been churning out all manner of go-fast Minis since the new millennium, and if you want one that cranks up the speed factor to 11, then they’re the folks to turn to.

2022 Mini John Cooper Works Clubman engine CarBuyer Singapore

Back to the Clubman, and in JCW form, the car boasts a pretty potent 302hp and 450Nm of torque from its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot engine. That’s about as much power as mid-tier premium performance hatches such as the Audi S3, BMW M135i and Mercedes-AMG A 35, so there’s no question about the JCW Clubman’s ability to go fast. Indeed, 0-100km/h comes up in 4.9 seconds, which apparently makes it the quickest accelerating Mini currently available for sale.

2022 Mini John Cooper Works Clubman exterior front driving CarBuyer Singapore

For the most part, the car does feel pretty rapid if you dare put your foot down on a clear and straight road. The problem is that outside of that, the Clubman does seem a bit anodyne when you’re not on hard charging acceleration runs. In regular driving conditions, there’s very little of that zippiness and eagerness you get from regular Minis, and its relatively muted exhaust note (ostensibly due to emissions requirements) dampens the JCW experience even further.



To be fair, the car does seem to sharpen up a tad in Sport mode, with a little bit more responsiveness from the throttle. It also handles rather competently, with pretty precise steering and lots of grip when cornering, thanks to the four-wheel-drive system. That said, while the car is generally good to drive, it lacks a bit of that buzz and excitement, and the car just doesn’t feel very, well, Mini.

2022 Mini John Cooper Works Clubman exterior front driving CarBuyer Singapore

And yet the ride quality is as harsh as you can imagine a Mini to be, ratcheted up a notch because its a JCW. The car jumps uneasily over pretty much every single bump and undulation, and the JCW Clubman is a rather uncomfortable car to drive on all but the smoothest of road surfaces.

2022 Mini John Cooper Works Clubman exterior front wheels CarBuyer Singapore

In any case, the JCW Clubman does seem a bit like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, given its relatively low-key looks. The go-faster stripes, matching coloured roof and wing mirror caps, and red brake callipers sitting behind the 19-inch alloy wheels all point towards its performance potential, but it’s all done rather subtly, and not in the usual loud and brash JCW style.

2022 Mini John Cooper Works Clubman interior CarBuyer Singapore

It’s the same inside too, with very few hints that give away the car’s JCW status. You get a John Cooper Works badge on the steering wheel and some unique pedals, but that’s about it. Being a facelifted model though, it also gets the updated digital instrument cluster as well as the latest version of Mini’s infotainment system, as seen on all the other facelifted Mini models. Aside from that, it’s mostly business as usual.

2022 Mini John Cooper Works Clubman interior CarBuyer Singapore

Which brings us to the question, what is the point of the JCW Clubman? I suppose you could liken it to a grown up who wants to recapture a little bit of his youthful spirit (some might call that a ‘mid life crisis’ perhaps). Viewed in that lens, the JCW Clubman does manage to strike a reasonable balance, in that it has the ability to let its hair down and have fun sometimes, but otherwise remain subdued and sensible when dealing with the humdrum of everyday life. It’s not perfect, but then nobody really is anyway.

2022 Mini John Cooper Works Clubman exterior rear badge CarBuyer Singapore

Mini John Cooper Works Clubman

Drivetrain typePetrol engine
Engine1,998cc, inline 4, turbocharged
Power302hp at 5000-6250rpm
Torque450Nm at 1750-4500rpm
Gearbox8-speed automatic
0-100km/h4.9 seconds
Top Speed250km/h
VES BandingC1 / +S$15,000
Fuel Efficiency7.7L/100km
AgentEurokars Habitat
PriceS$281,888 with COE
AvailabilityNow
Verdict:Ridiculously fast and reasonably decent to drive, the JCW Clubman is otherwise let down by its harsh ride and relative lack of excitement

Tags:

5 seat 5-door clubman john cooper works Mini petrol wagon

About the Author

Ben Chia

CarBuyer's senior staff writer went out to explore the Great Big World, including a stint working in China (despite his limited Mandarin). Now he's back, ready to foist upon you his takes on everything good and wonderful about the automotive world. Follow Ben on Instagram @carbuyer.ben

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