By Sala masindane (@salaontop)
With the runaway fires having wreaked havoc in George recently, the prospects of attending a car launch in that region may have been dampened somewhat but I must commend the people of the region for working hard to recreate the beauty and magic of the area. You can see that a lot of effort is going into this. Considering the time of the year, the weather was the best for the day, not too cold or too hot, just perfect. The George Airport was where the new generation of the Mini John Cooper Works (JCW) Countryman and the Clubman ALL4 were waiting for us and without any delay we were on the road with our test JCW Countryman. The Countryman is the biggest model in the entire range of the British brand. As if that wasn’t enough, the JCW engineers have ensured that the 170 kW engine is the most powerful engine ever to be fitted in a Mini. Mini no more?
The thought of launching two cars at once may be a bit of a novelty but it makes sense if you consider that, although distinct vehicles, the JCW Clubman and Countryman have so much in common. They both come with a 2.0 litre petrol 4-cylinder turbo engine which pushes out 170 kW and 350 Nm torque, they both employ a 6-speed manual transmission and an 8-speed Steptronic sports transmission engine, both operate the all-wheel drive system (aptly named ALL4) and both have 18-inch John Cooper Black Grip Spoke light alloy wheels which wear red shoes (Brembo sports brake system). Both cars also have a claimed combined EU fuel consumption of 7.4 l/100 km (automatic: 6.8 l/100 km). The JCW body kit stands out (side skittle and front grill mesh) from the Cooper S, it gives the cars that special effect.
It wouldn’t be a Mini without the airplane lookalike cockpit, the new Mini John Cooper Works Clubman and Countryman come with a standard 6.8-inch screen with the touch screen an optional extra. The interior has sporty feel with standard John Cooper Works racing steering wheel, heating sporty seats and door sill finishes. The JCW models are easily identifiable with a red stitch across the gear and steering wheel.
So, what is the difference between the JCW Clubman and Countryman? The new Mini JCW Clubman is for those that believe in the Golf GTI’s and Audi S3’s of this world. Its low go-kart like suspension is smooth on the corners, it’s a define sports car. The Clubman is the car you use when you going impress your vrrr pha friends. It pushes more 29 kW more than the Clubman Cooper S, with an acceleration of 6.3 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h whereas the JCW Countryman will do that in 6.5 seconds. Although slightly slower than the Clubman, the JCW Countryman is a masterstroke from Mini. The combination of performance and practicality combines very well together in this one.
The prices for the new JCW Clubman and Countryman range are as follows:
John Cooper Works Clubman R558,612
John Cooper Works Clubman Automatic R584,516
John Cooper Works Countryman R610,612
John Cooper Works Countryman Automatic R636,516
These include a five-year or 100,000km maintenance plan.