My thoughts on all things motoring, press releases, reviews & techie stuff, from around the world.
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I will try my best to provide detailed info on various cars and what is like to live with them, I have already produced a few for Jaguar-car-forums, I will do my best to be unbiased, but it will be hard for some cars. I will re-produce press releases and copy from other motoring news.
Wednesday, 21 December 2016
The new MINI Clubman receives the John Cooper Works treatment.
The new MINI Clubman receives the John Cooper Works treatment, creating a unique high performance option in the C-segment
The most powerful MINI Clubman, with 231 hp and 350 nm of torque, enabling a 0-62mph time of just 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 148 mph
MINI’s ALL4 all-wheel drive system fitted as standard for maximum traction combined with highly enjoyable handling
Full John Cooper Works specification including upgraded suspension, braking, cooling, exterior styling and interior features
Exclusive high-quality standard specification, with new options including a new touch-screen MINI Navigation XL
On sale now, priced at £29,345 OTR with the six-speed manual gearbox, and £30,945 OTR with the eight-speed sports Steptronic transmission
The new MINI John Cooper Works Clubman offers all the style, practicality and fresh-thinking of the Clubman, combined with the high performance and sporting dynamics of the John Cooper Works range.
The result is a unique and exclusive proposition that combines the John Cooper Works-specification engine and corresponding modifications with MINI’s ALL4 all-wheel drive system. In creating this potent model, able to take full advantage of the maximum possible traction in all conditions, MINI has created a powerful but practical vehicle that’s fun to drive in the true spirit of a MINI.
As the latest member of the John Cooper Works family, the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman features all the upgrades already seen on the John Cooper Works Hatch and Convertible models.
These include the 231 hp engine with modified MINI TwinPower turbocharger, sports suspension and powerful braking system. A 0-62 mph time of just 6.3-seconds and a top speed of 148 mph is the result, but not at the expense of economy or emissions; with up to 41.5mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions as low as 154 g/km.
The MINI John Cooper Works Clubman is instantly recognisable thanks to its more aggressive front and rear bumpers, and its rear wing. These not only help reduce lift, but in the case of the front section, assist with the additional cooling requirements of the more powerful engine. Unique alloy wheels and John Cooper Works badging also denote the top-of-the-range Clubman, as does the option of the special colour ‘Rebel Green’.
Inside, the John Cooper Works specification includes sports seats, an Alcantara headliner, and a wide array of standard equipment including MINI Navigation, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and cruise control with brake function. MINI logo projection is also included within the standard package. Beyond that, MINI offers a huge range of personalisation options and further equipment, allowing owners to create their own, unique, MINI John Cooper Works Clubman.
The design of the new MINI John Cooper Works Clubman maximises the presence of this unique vehicle, with the added flair of a high performance model.
It’s instantly recognisable thanks to a bespoke front apron, with air inlets now cited where other Clubman models have parking and fog lamps.
These intakes channel fresh air to brake cooling ducts and to cool the additional radiator of the Works specification cooling system. Integrated air curtains and air breathers help optimise the aerodynamic properties of the vehicle.
Unique side sills, roof spoiler and a rear apron help to reduce aerodynamic lift.
Further exclusive touches include the side turn indicator surrounds, which feature a red accentuation line along with the John Cooper Works logo applied against a black background, and the hexagon pattern grille with a red crossmember bar at the bottom edge.
The ‘John Cooper Works’ logo appears here too, as well as on the right-hand door at the rear of the car.
The standard LED headlamps are surrounded by a daytime driving light ring that also uses LED technology, the lower section of which is white and acts as the turn indicator. The horizontally arranged rear light units also comprise LED lamps.
Engine: TwinPower Turbo Technology
The new MINI John Cooper Works Clubman uses the same highly tuned engine as the John Cooper Works Hatch and Convertible models. The 2-litre unit features the latest MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology and Valvetronic fully variable valve control on both the intake and exhaust camshafts.
To effectively realise the increased output of 231 hp between 5,000-6,000rpm (up 39 hp on the standard Cooper S engine), the John Cooper Works Clubman uses a modified turbocharger made from a particularly heat resistant material.
A correspondingly larger intercooler is also fitted, which contributes to an increase in torque to 350 nm which develops over a particularly wide band from 1,450-4,800rpm. Increasing the boost pressure is teamed with a lower compression ratio thanks to the use of model-specific pistons.
Unsurprisingly, the cooling system has also been upgraded to cope with the increased heat generated by a more powerful engine, and now features a second coolant radiator found in the left-hand wheel arch.
Finally, a sports exhaust helps to reduce the engine’s backpressure and also gives the John Cooper Works Clubman a sporty sound familiar from other models in the John Cooper Works range.
The inherent efficiency of this engine contributes to an impressive fuel consumption figure of 38.2mpg (41.5mpg), and CO2 emissions of 168 g/km (154 g/km) (figures in brackets for vehicles fitted with the eight-speed sports Steptronic transmission).
Transmission: advanced gearboxes and an all-wheel drive drivetrain
With the new John Cooper Works Clubman, MINI is for the first time combining its most potent engine offering with its ALL4 all-wheel drive system. The result is the most efficient possible deployment of the available power, providing very strong acceleration in all conditions.
The considerable power and torque of the 2-litre turbocharged engine is fed through either a six-speed manual gearbox or an 8-speed sports Steptronic transmission.
The manual gearbox offers ideally spaced ratios, a model-specific gear lever and short shift mechanism for rapid gearchanges, and also features an engine speed adaption facility via a gear sensor for the smoothest possible downshifts.
Carbon friction linings for the synchronising rings add to the inherent efficiency of this lightweight, easy-to-use gearbox.
The eight-speed Steptronic gearbox allows for especially fuel-efficient driving thanks to the wide spread – but closely stacked – gear ratios and quick shifting times. Further efficiency improvements can be realised if the vehicle is fitted with MINI Navigation XL, as the Steptronic gearbox takes into account upcoming bends and junctions, thereby avoiding unnecessary gearchanges. Gears can be changed either automatically, or manually via the shift selector or with paddles on the steering wheel. A launch control function enables the quickest possible acceleration away from rest, every time.
The ALL4 all-wheel drive system deploys the engine’s output to maximum good use. The system uses a bevel gear power take off on the front differential and an electro-hydraulically controlled ‘hang-on’ clutch mounted on the rear axle to distribute the engine’s power as required. In normal driving and with the DSC active, the vehicle is effectively front-wheel drive, the clutch only sending power rewards when required - in just fractions of a second - if the need to do so is detected by the DSC system. The DSC continually monitors wheel speeds, accelerator position and engine torque, amongst others, plus takes into account the dynamic traction control setting and MINI Driving Mode, thereby quickly identifying any possible need for torque distribution – either in slippery conditions or during especially dynamic driving.
Not only does the ALL4 system make driving more fun, it also assists the new MINI John Cooper Works Clubman in reaching 62mph from a standing start in just 6.3-seconds.
Suspension and braking: John Cooper Works specification
Naturally, the suspension and braking set up of the new MINI John Cooper Works Clubman has been upgraded to match its increased performance. As with the other John Cooper Works specification MINIs in the range, the John Cooper Works Clubman features a firmer suspension setup, in this case specifically tailored to the Clubman’s wheelbase and weight distribution.
Variable Damper Control is available as an optional extra, offering a choice of two set-ups for the electronically controlled dampers, which can be accessed via the MINI Driving Modes, a standard feature on the John Cooper Works Clubman. SPORT mode provides the most dynamic driving experience, while in MID and GREEN mode the damper characteristics support a more comfortable driving style. The MINI Driving Modes are selected via a rotary switch at the base of the gear lever and also influence the characteristic curves of the accelerator pedal and steering, the engine acoustics and the shift characteristics of the 8-speed Steptronic sports transmission (if the latter is fitted).
The standard Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) also includes Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC) - which acts as an electronic locking function for the front axle differential - and Performance Control, which assists agile turn-in when taking bends at speed. The standard functions of the electromechanical power steering include speed-related steering support for maximum precision when cornering at speed and for comfortable manoeuvring at low speeds.
The braking equipment of the John Cooper Works Clubman has also been strengthened over the Cooper S model, with a four-piston caliper setup developed in partnership with braking specialists Brembo. These powerful brakes are readily identifiable by the red finish for the calipers, complete with the John Cooper Works logo.
The standard equipment for the car also includes 18” light alloy wheels in Black ‘Grip Spoke’ design, which are exclusive to this model. This wheel design is also available as an option in silver, with a 19” ‘Course’ two-tone design a further option.
MINImalism: Maximising efficiency
The inherent efficiency of the engine, transmission and ALL4 drivetrain is further boosted by additional technology – MINImalism features that include as standard brake energy recuperation, shift point display, needs-based control of the fuel pump, coolant pump and other ancillary units, electromechanical power steering (which only provides assistance as it’s needed) and a map controlled oil pump. The auto start/stop function can also be used in conjunction with the Steptronic transmission.
The MINI Driving Modes enable activation of the GREEN mode, which supports an efficiency-optimised driving style. In models fitted with the Steptronic transmission it is possible to use the coasting function, whereby the drivetrain is decoupled at speeds of between approximately 30 and 100 mph as soon as the driver removes their foot from the accelerator pedal.
Interior Design: Practical and stylish
The inherent practicality built into every new MINI Clubman is obvious, with five full-sized seats accessed via four side doors and the Clubman’s characteristic split rear doors. Behind the latter is a load area of 360-litres, which rises to as much as 1,250-litres with the rear seats folded flat (a 40:20:40 split is available as an option).
The John Cooper Works modifications take this highly versatile package and inject the genuine fittings and feel of a high performance car, creating a unique proposition. The standard trim includes John Cooper Works sports seats in Carbon Black upholstery with Dinamica/fabric with integrated headrests. As an option these can be trimmed in Dinamica/Carbon Black leather with red applications.
In addition, there’s a John Cooper Works leather steering wheel with multifunction buttons, the John Cooper Works door sill cover strips, the John Cooper Works gear or selector lever, stainless steel pedals including driver footrest and cockpit displays with dark dials. Other sporting details include the anthracite roof liner, interior trim ‘Grey Chequered’, and red design accentuations not just on the seat surfaces, but also on the steering wheel rim, the gear or selector lever and the central instrument surround.
Safety and equipment
With its torsionally stiff, rigid and weight-optimised body structure, the new MINI John Cooper Works Clubman forms the ideal basis for its comprehensive set of standard safety fittings. These form part of the integrated MINI safety concept comprising of six airbags, 3-point automatic belts on all seats (including belt tensioners and adaptive belt force limiters at the front) as well as ISOFIX child seat mountings at the rear. Other standard features include a tyre pressure display function for each individual wheel and Intelligent Emergency Call with automatic detection of vehicle location and accident severity, as well as the collision warning with city braking function. Meanwhile, impact absorbers and deformation elements ensure optimised pedestrian protection.
LED headlamps are fitted as standard, and they can be supplemented with a turning light function including adaptive light distribution, if desired. In addition to air conditioning, Bluetooth hands-free telephone facility and electric parking brake, other standard features include Park Distance Control with sensors at the rear, cruise control with brake function, and Comfort Access - also enabling touch-less opening of the split doors by means of a foot movement under the rear apron. The standard fit audio system is the Radio MINI Visual Boost including USB socket and operation via the MINI Controller in the centre console, as well as the 6.5-inch colour screen in the central instrument fitted with a MINI Navigation system.
Optional items include the Harman Kardon hi-fi system and the MINI Navigation System XL. The features of the MINI Navigation XL include not just the Touch Controller in the centre console but also an 8.8-inch colour screen in the central instrument. For the first time in a MINI, the latter takes the form of a touchscreen, so functions can now also be selected and adjusted by placing a fingertip on the screen. Other options include a panorama glass roof, 2-zone automatic air conditioning, seat heating for driver and front passenger and windscreen heating. The unique MINI Connected in-car infotainment program is also available, offering extensive integration of smartphones in the car. This allows the use of internet-based services in the areas of infotainment, communication and driving experience by means of apps.
Over 80% of MINI John Cooper Works Clubman customers are expected to choose the Chili pack which adds a host of additional extras to the car. These features include the customer’s choice of any upholstery from the range, heated seats, 19” Course spoke alloy wheels and the storage compartment pack. Chili pack is priced at £2,000 on MINI John Cooper Works Clubman.
A range of additional option packs and personalisation equipment allows every MINI John Cooper Works Clubman buyer to tailor their car to their exact preferences, in the process creating a unique take on an already highly exclusive vehicle.
The new MINI John Cooper Works Clubman is on sale across the UK from today.