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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 2017 Clubman was at the dealer over the last few days for the airbag recall and the trunk button reprogram (reduces accidental barn door openings via fob)

They threw me an 8AT S loaner and it highlighted a few things for me - many of which were even more apparent than when I test drove a few cars over the winter. I thought this might be interesting for folks configuring a future F54:

Power seats, with adjustable lumbar, transform the sitting experience. The standard seats feel concave in comparison, particularly after a real commute and not a brief test drive. And the loaner leatherette looks like it breathes better, but it doesn't.

The standard 8-speed auto was quicker off the line (ALL4 6MT is a little heavier, but I have a Dinansport boost controller installed!), and ran a good 600rpm lower at 80mph. But it was nowhere near as fun in the 30-60mph range. I never drove the sport AT with paddle shifters at purchase time - anyone here order that and feel it was worth it over the basic AT?

ALL4 may not engage that often in dry weather, but it sure helps reduce torque steer - lots from the fwd S loaner!

My F54 has the sport package with dynamic dampers, and its Mid/Comfort mode suspension setting (with confirmed identical wheels/tires/pressures) was slightly stiffer/livelier than the loaner (no dynamic dampers) over all surfaces. Wonder if anyone else has noticed this.

Light-colored headliner looks cheesy after owning an entirely black interior. Anthracite may heat up the car on summer days, but it sure ties the car together.

I added aftermarket ceramic tint (MA limit 35%) and had begun to take it for granted until I rode around in the loaner. Cars with lame side sun visors need tinted windows.

I missed my head-up speed display - it really is a neat feature that helps you keep your eyes on the road more than you'd think.

And a final minor FYI - the software update they applied in conjunction with the trunk tweak updated some of the center display graphics - cooler looking display bars in a couple of the modes, such as Green driving mode.
 

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I agree with your observations. The torque steer issue is the main reason I went with the All4. In the FWD torque steer is very noticeable and annoying. It would bother me all the time. The All4 eliminates 95% of it. The MT weighs LESS than the auto (as is true with nearly all vehicles that still offer a MT - Check out Mini's website - screen capture attached).

Sure the All4 weighs about 200 lbs more than the FWD, and that's a downside, but it does balance the weight a bit more rearward and more toward a 50/50 distribution. It's a trade off.

I agree with you on the Sport Package (dynamic dampeners). I also really like the anthracite headliner and my Mini Yours Sport Leather Steering.

Yeah, I agree about this car being a great tow vehicle. I have 5,000 miles on my car and about 1,500 of those have been towing my dirt bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Agreed - thanks for the corroborations! And your spec screen shot clarifies what I not-so-clearly tried to point out, namely that an ALL4 MT carries an extra 145 lbs over an S Auto, and I would have expected my extra boost to more than compensate for that, but the 8-speed really does a nice job of keeping the car in the power sweet spot all the way up to the speed limit.

One other picky thing that I noticed was that the loaner had less wind noise up near the top of the passenger A pillar at speed, and I wondered if my window seal was as good - then it dawned on me that my car has roof rails and the loaner didn't. Anyone picky about that kind of high-frequency white noise might opt out of the rails, but I would have kicked myself if I ever wanted to throw a rack up there to haul skis and stuff once my kids are old enough to realize snow angels aren't the be-all-end-all of winter fun time.
 

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I have to say, this car really is fun to drive, and after driving an F56 S loaner yesterday, I like my F54 even more. Surprisingly, the F54 felt significantly bigger. While it seemed to have the same seats as mine, they were manual as opposed to my power seats. I don’t know if that’s the difference, but even with the seats all the way down, I sat up so much higher in the F56 that I felt like I was sitting on the seats rather than in them. That just made the whole car seem bigger. Also, surprisingly, the F56 not only has a much stiffer suspension, but it bounced, shook, and twitched over roads where the F54 stays planted and confident. The F56 actually felt like it had a higher CG and felt heavier (despite it being much lighter). I can drive my car with one hand without a care on the highway while I felt like I had to hang onto the F56 at all times since it had a “jittery/unsettled” feel. Also, in the corners, again quite surprisingly, I strongly preferred the handling of the F54. Perhaps that was due to the All4, but the front of the F56 plowed while the F54 followed the curves. The interior fit and finish is night and day between the two cars too. While I bought the Clubman as a fun but utilitarian car and never considered the F56, I certainly didn’t expect to find that I like the handling of the F54 so much more. The F56 did feel significantly faster off the line, but the front wheels would spin so easily that it was just wasted energy.

My biggest complaint is the steering feel. The steering of the Clubman is very nice for up to 8/10 the "pushing it" scale. It is well weighted and gives good feedback. However, above that, and it gives zero feedback. At the limit, the front tires begin to sing, before you can feel anything. I'm guessing that switching to standard tires will improve that (I have 17" P7 all-season tires), but this is, after all, my utility car so it's not a huge deal.
 
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Sorry, I can't seem to edit the above now, but in the 2nd line, I meant to say that the F56 felt bigger than my F54.
 

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OP, thanks for sharing your experience with the 8AT... I'm wondering if you noticed any hesitation issues from a dead stop? Some over on the Bimmerfest X1 forum are having this issue with the 2.0L petrol engine, and are awaiting a fix from BMW (firmware update).
 

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I had a clubman loaner (1,5 cooper though) and agree with your findings,it feels a step up in solidity and refinement compared to my f56 cooper. Like they've moved the game up a level again,but the f56 feels retains that nippy terrier like sports car quality somehow which is more diluted in the clubman. Clubman felt like a mini grown up. Not what this yet to grow up (50 ish)boy wants atm but might do one day! Great car. Both great cars with a different purpose.one of each please!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
OP, thanks for sharing your experience with the 8AT... I'm wondering if you noticed any hesitation issues from a dead stop? Some over on the Bimmerfest X1 forum are having this issue with the 2.0L petrol engine, and are awaiting a fix from BMW (firmware update).
I noticed no hesitation from stoplights - the loaner's 2.0 and 8AT pulled really quickly and smoothly.
 

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Drove the Clubby S with a 6 speed last week. The interior is an improvement over the F55/56 what I did not like was the man. transmission/clutch how soft the pedal felt barely no resistance when you pressed it but the shifter felt better going thru the gears than on the 56. I guess it will take another generation to make the Mini perfect.:D:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The soft pedal is a godsend in traffic. I find it extremely easy to shift smoothly; takeup is predictable and not too high in the travel. 180 degree difference from the Subaru Legacy GT clutch I suffered with for 5 years! I still find myself occasionally throwing it into reverse instead of first though when I'm in a hurry. The Subie was only a 5-speed so reverse was over and down where 6th is on the F54.
 

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The soft pedal is a godsend in traffic. I find it extremely easy to shift smoothly; takeup is predictable and not too high in the travel. 180 degree difference from the Subaru Legacy GT clutch I suffered with for 5 years! I still find myself occasionally throwing it into reverse instead of first though when I'm in a hurry. The Subie was only a 5-speed so reverse was over and down where 6th is on the F54.


Subaru clutches of that era were hot garbage, IMO. They were needlessly heavy and vague.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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So, just over 100 miles in the F54 JCW and I have to say that the auto box is better than the the 6 speed in the F56. It's response on the paddles both up and down is quicker than my previous F56 JCW.

I have to say, I don't understand this whole "engagement" thing... Driving quickly with both hands on the wheel in manual is just as much fun, and safer than doing it in a manual. The advantages a modern auto brings compared to a manual transmission just outweigh the arguments. But life would be boring if we were all the same :laugh:

I've got the Mini Yours leather, and it's very comfortable. Being a JCW it has the dark headlining, but I also have a sunroof, not something I would normally opt for, but the amount of light it lets in is amazing.

I previously had the "Drivers assistance pack" on the F56, haven't got it this time around, and the one thing I miss is the speed limit sign in the HUD, but that's a minor thing. It's still new, so I haven't given it any serious beans yet, but I've already noticed how quickly it wants to take off without the front wheels trying to spin all over the place. The F56 would give me a second or so of screech before the safety aisd cut in and controlled the front end.

By the time I stick an exhaust system on it, chip it to around 250bhp and drop the suspension by about 1.5 inches, it will be a real beast.
 
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