Test Drive: 2020 MINI John Cooper Works Clubman
Entry price: $23,400
Price as tested: $48,100
This week, we’re driving the top line and powerful 2020 MINI Cooper Clubman, a four-door model built to deliver surprising driving comfort with room for five. Wrapped in an extended wheelbase design with all the looks and performance MINI Coopers are known for, this MINI arrived in “All4” AWD trim and, most important, with the John Cooper Works legendary performance goodies.
With the MINI’s cult like following still growing and similar to its popularity when introduced in the United Kingdom back in 1959, today’s MINI Cooper still receives final assembly in Oxford, Cowley, United Kingdom (UK), although its modern-day build is spiced with 5% of the parts coming from Canada and the United States, while the main drivetrain features a transmission from Belgium and the engine from Germany.
MINI is an independent brand of the BMW Group and operates as a business unit of BMW of North America, LLC. The MINI USA sales organization is represented in the U.S. through a network of dealers. MINI USA began selling vehicles in the U.S. in 2002 with the introduction of the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S Hardtops.
Our tester is a tribute to its famous founder John Cooper, who developed his beloved MINI while building a reputation as a Formula 1 race car driver/builder. Using a sideways-mounted engine and a then yet to be proven front-wheel-drive layout, Cooper not only founded the Cooper Car Company, he drove to three Monte Carlo Rally titles and 16 Grand Prix wins in his Formula 1 Cooper machines. His name lives on as today’s MINI Coopers are better than ever and priced appropriately, meaning even those on a tighter budget can still afford one.
Many MINI Coopers starting with the entry $23,400 MINI 2-door Hardtop to our top line John Cooper Works Clubman ALL4 performance model that starts at $39,400 are available. In either front or AWD in short and long wheelbase trims, there are 14 other MINI trims to choose from including Convertible, Countryman and Hardtop 4-door livery.
Listed as the most sophisticated MINI to date, our tester featured a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that now delivers 301 horsepower and 331 lb. ft. of torque with a top speed of 155 mph. Coupled to a Steptronic eight-speed dual-clutch paddle shift automatic transmission, we timed our tester from zero to 60 mph in a very impressive 4.5-second range. Last year, this same engine produced 228 horsepower, so the increase in power is the biggest advancement for 2020.
MINI’s racing-bred suspension and the combination of a lightweight chassis, the high-tech transmission and turbo engine allows keeping up with most anything on the highway. The MPG numbers are also noteworthy as 23 city and 31 highway are very good for a 4x4 performance vehicle.
The ALL4 system shifts power from the front to the rear wheels in just a quarter of a second when called on. It is also lighter and more compact than previous all-wheel drive platforms for better vehicle handling, fuel efficiency and interior space.
And it’s on the open highway where the John Cooper Works MINI shows off its race-bred genes. Anyone who enjoys a good handling, peppy car will revel in this MINI’s hard driving abilities. With three driving modes to choose from including Sport, Mid or Green coupled with a special “go-kart” handling mode found in the Sport setting, the feedback through the steering wheel is excellent thanks to the race-bred suspension of MacPherson struts up front and multi-link setup out back. Pirelli 18-inch tires on special John Cooper black alloys made our two-tone red and black MINI stand out.
Inside, MINI John Cooper Works Clubman models feature a cabin that is roomy in front and just a bit tight in the rear. Our four-door Clubman makes access to the rear seat easy while twin rear cargo doors swing open automatically, a nice touch when your hands are full or empty. Are the swing open twin rear doors tacky or a gimmick? Of course they are!
On the safety side, eight airbags with side curtain setup, outstanding and large performance ABS disc brakes, dynamic stability, corner brake control, electronic brake force and much more are standard fare. Special toggle switches are noteworthy, as is the overall BMW quality build.
Consumers will enjoy a long list of standard features from air conditioning to high quality, special leather interior. Our MINI featured a six-speaker stereo system, special John Cooper heated sport seats, and much more. Your dealer will explain everything when you visit.
A $7,000 Iconic Trim package adds Piano Black exterior paint, panoramic sunroof, auto-dim mirrors, SiriusXM with one year subscription, Harmon Kardon Premium stereo upgrade and a head up display. Also included for no charge is a touch-screen navigation wireless charging and Apple CarPlay compatibility.
A Driver Assistance package for $850 adds Park distance control, active cruise control and parking assist while $850 delivery brings the final retail to $48,100.
Important numbers include a 105.1-inch wheelbase, 3,609-lb. curb weight, 13.2-gallon fuel tank, and 17.5 to 47.9 cu. ft. of cargo space.
In summary, this 2020 MINI John Cooper Works Clubman is the best MINI I’ve driven thanks to the available 301 horses, race-bred suspension, and it’s great shifting eight-speed automatic. It’s a fine representation of its founder and sure to be a MINI favorite.
Until you test drive a MINI with the John Cooper Works upgrades, you just can’t fathom what a great car this is.
Likes: John Cooper Works trim, legend, horsepower.
Dislikes: Expensive options, rear door pillars hinder rear visibility.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at email@example.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.