There’s nothing MINI about MINI anymore. Their marketing team will bang on about ‘go-kart-like handling’ but I’m afraid that ethos died a swift death when the first-generation Cooper hatch bowed out in 2006. Since then the MINI range has just grown bigger, got fatter and pretty much strayed right away from the tight packaging of the Issigonis original. Instead we have to cringe at the sight of lardy Pacemans, Countrymans and Clubmans. Ahem. Speaking of which.
Due to be unveiled at the upcoming Paris Motor Show the new John Cooper Works Clubman is the latest in a long run of seemingly niche, seemingly pointless MINI models. Weighing in at nearly 1.5-tons it comes equipped with a 170kW/350Nm version of the 2.0-litre turbo engine found in the lesser Clubman S. MINI claims a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 6.3-seconds and a top speed of 238 km/h. Adding weight and further distancing itself from the nippy front wheel-drive original is a standard ‘ALL4’ all wheel-drive system. Hmm, what else?
Well you can expect uncomfortably firm suspension as well as a go-faster exterior styling treatment that treads a blurred line between embarrassment and unacceptability. Inside there’s adjustable ambient lighting with which to broadcast your mood to those buckled into the passenger seats. You know, like those mood rings that were big in the 1980s. Pricing? Well it’s yet to be confirmed but we wouldn’t be surprised if the John Cooper Works Clubman lands somewhere around the R540 000 mark. And that, as you may well know, is very close to Golf R money. So… excited? Nope, neither are we. In fact is anybody?