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2017 MINI Clubman John Cooper Works: Paris Auto Show

What Is It?

The 2017 MINI Clubman John Cooper Works is the hot version of MINI’s not-so-mini compact hatch/wagon. We’re now into the third generation of the MINI Cooper as we’ve come to know and love it, with the regular Clubman variant making its debut when the calendar switched from 2015 to 2016.

The John Cooper Works package that launched in Paris includes the most powerful engine to ever fit under that snub-nosed hood. It’s a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder unit, turbocharged to produce 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. This goes to a standard-issue all-wheel-drive system through a standard 6-speed manual transmission, or an 8-speed automatic-transmission option with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

This trim level is named after a famed British MINI tuner, so naturally there are other upgrades to complement the drivetrain. The suspension receives a sportier tune and lower ride height than the regular Clubman. Anyone interested in buying this car should definitely take a test drive because it may ride too firm for some tastes, although Dynamic Damper Control is optional here. There’s also a throaty sport exhaust, aerodynamic body kit, body-hugging sport front seats and Brembo brakes with 4-piston calipers up front for remarkable stopping power. Brembo is an independent brake manufacturer that also supplies Ferrari, so they make pretty good stuff. The standard wheels are 18-inch alloys, with 19-inchers on the options list.

The sprint from a standstill to 60 miles per hour happens in just six ticks of the second hand, and top speed is 147 mph.

How Much?

To be announced, but expect a price around the $35,000 mark — perhaps a tad higher.

When Can You Get It?

The 2017 MINI Clubman John Cooper Works goes on sale in December 2016.

Add It to Your Shopping List Because…

Every MINI variant has some personality. That tired old “fun to drive” line has been overused by almost every automaker trying to make its products seem more desirable, but it really does apply to MINIs. The Clubman brings some extra practicality, while the John Cooper Works aspect contributes a decent amount of power with entertaining dynamics.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 BMW X1 — This model isn’t overtly sporty, but a BMW is always nice to drive, and the X1 comes with useful space within its compact dimensions.

2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI — Just because Volkswagen messed up big-time with its diesel models doesn’t mean that the iconic GTI cars are bad. This sporty compact hatchback has space, pace and style. It doesn’t have the JCW edge, but it’s a well-rounded car with broad appeal that might be easier to live with in the long run. Get the Performance package for 220 hp — it will be well within budget.

Used Volkswagen Golf R — This model offers all-wheel drive, plus 292 hp and sophistication beyond its price range.

See all 2016 Paris Auto Show articles

Colin Ryan
Colin Ryan specializes in writing about new cars. But he has also covered trucks, vans, 3-wheelers, even the occasional motorbike. That’s the kind of thing that happens while contributing to the Los Angeles Times, Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Popular Mechanics, Variety, Mazda and Lexus customer magazines, as well as many enthusiast sites and publications. He was also a staff writer at BBC Top... Read More

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