If you don't like SUVs, the JCW MINI All4 Clubman is an insanely fun alternative
The MINI Clubman has always been a weird car. The first iteration of MINI's effort to provide more versatility that one could get with the "original" MINI two-door (itself a BMW reworking of a classic British car from the 1960s). Enter in the mid-2000s an offbeat design that feature a small, additional pair of gate-swinging doors to provide rear access, along with a wagon-y back featuring old-school saloon-style doors rather than a hatch.
Yup, odd. But distinctive and consistent with MINI's eye-catching, go-your-own-way, design-intensive approach to carmaking.The second-gen Clubman, rolled out in 2015, gained proper rear doors and was outfitted with optional all-wheel-drive (the first-gen was front-wheel only), transforming it into a sort of wagon-cum-crossover, albeit a low-slung version. Like all MINIs, it was decidedly sporty, calculated to be able to out a smile on you face and successfully complete grocery store excursions or short getaways with luggage.
BMW-owned MINI had another level to take the Clubman to - the John Cooper Works performance treatment - and has now done so, creating the JCW Clubman All4. Think of it as the Clubman with an added wild streak, because that's what the JCW mods typically do: They make your MINI into a bonkers thing, as I found out when I sampled the insane two-door MINI JCW.
The car was introduced last year, and we got our hands on a tester just as the Northeast was being slammed by its (maybe) last snowstorm of winter (we're enjoying much balmier weather now). Price? A cool $45,000. Here's what we thought: