Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5
  • Three petrol engines available
  • Diesel disappeared in 2020
  • Firebreathing JCW is rapid

MINI trimmed the Clubman’s engine range with the 2019 facelift, dropping down to a sole diesel engine, but that too was discontinued during 2020. This leaves a total of three petrol engines, all of which are turbocharged.

Entry-level Cooper

The range kicks off with the Clubman Cooper. This uses a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder engine producing 136hp and 220Nm of torque from 1500rpm, paired with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. It’s more than powerful enough for most drivers, and if you’re not a particular petrolhead it’s probably the pick of the range.

Red 2019 MINI Clubman side elevation driving

We found it quite noisy when pushed, though its relationship with the dual-clutch automatic is a good one. It’s fairly quick to respond and smooth in its changes, though it’s disappointing that steering wheel-mounted paddles don’t come as standard and manual shifting has to be accomplished through the awkwardly-shaped gear selector.

Whether you stick with the manual or go for the automaitc performance figures are identical: top speed is 128mph, while the 0-62mph acceleration benchmark is 9.2 seconds.

Mid-range Cooper S

Cooper S versions are the pick of the range for keener drivers, with 192hp and 280Nm of torque at 1,350rpm making for really decent performance. It too, is paired with the seven-speed dual-clutch ‘box or a six-speed manual. We’re very familiar with this engine in smaller MINI models and are big fans of its effervescent character - it's a four-cylinder, 2.0-litre powerplant, the extra weight of which over the Cooper's lighter engine making the Clubman's nose feel more secure when cornering quickly.

2019 MINI Clubman centre console and automatic gearlever

Both transmissions deliver a 142mph top speed, but at 7.2 seconds for the 0-62mph sprint the automatic is 0.1 seconds brisker than the manual.

High performance John Cooper Works range-topper

Mightiest of the Clubman hierarchy is the John Cooper Works, often shortened to JCW. With 306hp and 450Nm of pulling power from 1800rpm, this is one of the most powerful compact cars you can buy without venturing into the insane territory of the Mercedes-AMG A 45 or Audi RS 3.

Green 2019 MINI Clubman JCW engine bay

It’s an impressive evolution of the engine from the Cooper S with lots of mid-range response and an impressive 4.9-second 0-62mph sprint time. Its top speed is electronically governed at 155mph.

The standard eight-speed automatic and All4 four-wheel drive do blunt responses somewhat, though, and we can’t help but think the JCW would be more fun with a manual transmission. It would certainly be a handful if all of its power was sent solely to the front wheels.

How well does the MINI Clubman drive?

  • Cooper S is the handling sweet spot
  • JCW lacks the fun factor, but is rapid
  • Entry-level Cooper unlikely to disappoint

As with all MINIs, the Clubman’s grip levels are the star here - arguably too much so with the discontinued All4 four-wheel drive versions, which offered so much traction that some of the usual MINI frivolity was diluted.

Red 2019 MINI Clubman rear three-quarter driving

You can sling this car into corners at silly speeds and it will hold on tenaciously, while quick steering means you can string together lots of corners with quite satisfying results. The response isn’t quite as quick as on a MINI Hatch – this is a longer, heavier car, after all – but this is still one of the more satisfying mid-sized cars you can buy. Even a tame Clubman Cooper will have you grinning in a way that a Mercedes A 180 simply won't.

The JCW model should be the best in the range thanks to its sporting additions, but we found it rather tiresome to drive under all but the best of road conditions. You really can feel the extra weight of the four-wheel drive, while and automatic gearbox isn't always as quick to respond as you'd want. It’s very grippy and will transport you along a winding road very quickly, but the Cooper S is more fun.

With the Cooper S there's a fine sweet spot that's shy of being riotously fast and firm, while still being sufficiently compliant and docile so as not to anger your passengers or (small) dog in the boot.

Green 2019 MINI Clubman JCW side elevation driving