MINI is reportedly working on a JCW version of the Clubman. Well, duh! We've seen spy photos of the thing, plus there was one based on the previous model that almost nobody bought.
We don't need anybody telling us that it will be powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, as this is the mainstay of the British carmaker's new army. However, new details have emerged, suggesting the output will be much higher than on the JCW hardtop we tested a few months ago.
According to Auto Express magazine insiders, the top-spec Clubman will use the engine from the BMW 330i. That one packs about 250 ponies, but they are tuning it with the hope of raising the output to around 300 hp.
“There’s room for expansion in the hot hatch market,” the source said. “I think there is potential. Britain is the home of MINI, and Britain is a strong market for the hot hatch.”
It makes perfect sense to add more power for the Clubman JCW. Because the new model is much bigger now, it occupies the same market space as the VW Golf. So a rival for Golf R is needed, and it should have at least as much power and the benefit of all-wheel traction.
How fast will it be?
The 330i xDrive with an 8-speed automatic reaches 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.8 seconds. Cut a bit of the body away and add 50 more horses of power and you could be looking at a Clubman that tickles the 5-second range.
We see absolutely no reason the same logic wouldn't apply to the new Countryman crossover, expected to debut next year. Auto Express makes no mention of this, but we've seen the JCW prototypes already, and they are guaranteed to have AWD.
In the crossover segment, MINI will battle against the new Audi Q2. Derived from the MQB platform, the baby quatro car may even have two separate performance models, one of which will get the S3's 2.0 TFSI. It seems everybody is now building the same kind of car, as whispers in the wind talk about an M version of the BMW X1, also delivering 300 horsepower.
It's worth nothing that nobody wants to go anywhere near the berserk Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 that currently delivers 381 PS and could straddle the 400 mark by the end of this decade.