An abundance of power isn’t typically associated with products named Mini Cooper. Even the John Cooper Works (JCW) editions have most recently been making do with 228 horsepower from their turbocharged four-cylinder engines. That’s plenty to feel quick and sprightly, but drag races still haven’t been kind to high-performance Minis. Things are different with the 2020 Mini Clubman John Cooper Works. It has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes a rowdy 301 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque. That’s good for a 0-60 mph run of just 4.6 seconds, which is sufficiently spicy for our tastes. This being the Clubman, it’s more of a pocket rocket that doesn’t quite fit in your pocket. Its four doors and quirky barn door hatch opening gives it far more utility than the much smaller two- and four-door Hardtops. Still, the Clubman is a small car, based off a BMW platform that underpins a variety of BMW Group front-drive-based cars and SUVs. From a size and shape perspective, it’s most like the BMW X2. The quick X2 M35i and JCW Clubman even share an engine. As we’ve come to expect from John Cooper Works Minis, this new one is full of performance extras. The new engine has a stronger crankshaft, new pistons, connecting rods and a lower compression ratio (10.2 to 9.5) to better suit the increased boost pressure. A larger turbocharger is also fitted with a blow-off valve that Mini says contributes to its better response. The much more powerful engine is paired with a new JCW-specific exhaust that is livable when driving conservatively, but raucous and in your face once you dip into the throttle a little deeper. As standard, the JCW Clubman is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that brings launch control with it. No manual is available, and that’s a shame. Mini has kept the stick shift around for longer than many car companies, and its absence from the enthusiast-focused JCW Clubman is a big disappointment. There’s a mechanical limited-slip differential up front integrated with the automatic transmission, allowing torque to be shifted from one wheel to the other should one begin to slip. On top of that, the JCW Clubman also comes standard with all-wheel drive. Like all-wheel drive Minis before it, if the front wheels are short on traction, power is instantly transferred rearward, but power is sent to the front as often as possible for efficiency’s sake. Mini has also upgraded the brakes to some larger hardware and optimized the cooling duct geometry for better airflow to the brakes. [slideshow id='1282516'] Suspension-wise, Mini has strengthened and stiffened various components, optimized front wheel camber through new bearings and re-tuned the electric power steering and stability control systems. While our test car was fitted with the optional electronically controlled adaptive dampers (changeable via the mode switcher), passive dampers are standard. All of this new hardware makes for an engaging and entertaining drive. The JCW gives its performance intentions right away with that exhaust on startup. Even in casual …
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|MPG||26 City / 34 Hwy|
|Transmission||7-spd auto-shift man|
|Power||189 @ 5000 rpm|
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