The Clubman is a revolutionary vehicle in the sense that it has propelled the MINI brand into uncharted waters: the compact segment. Thanks to its size and handling, the Clubman is challenging the Volkswagen Golf, Mazda3 Sport and Ford Focus hatchback—and that alone is revolutionary.
But other things never change. The German-Brit brand (MINI belongs to BMW) has been using the same marketing strategy for years. The first models that roll into North American dealerships are the base and S trims, and they tend to arrive six months after their European launch. Then the JCW edition shows up about a year later.
When the Clubman launched in Stockholm last week, presenter and Clubman project leader Ernst Fricke hinted that the JCW package (with esthetic accessories) is actually paving the way for a JCW version that promises to be infinitely sportier. Logically, it will be equipped with a 1.6-litre turbo engine that produces 228 horsepower and 236 lbs.-ft. of torque.
Later that evening, during a special dinner with MINI management, Daniel Schmidt, the friendly product manager, explained how the Clubman’s chassis is similar to the BMW X1’s. Though it can accommodate all-wheel drive, the Clubman will generally operate the front wheels, sending a fraction of the torque to the rear. So will we eventually see a Paceman ALL4? I’m willing to bet we will.
In fact, we didn’t really learn any headline-worthy news at these two events. But we did confirm that at MINI, you don’t mess with tradition!