Looks like Mini is gearing up to take on the Ford Focus RS and Honda Civic Type R.
Back in 2015, there was speculation that Mini was cooking up a hardcore Clubman to compete with the cream of the crop in the hot hatch segment. Since then, there have been no sightings of the souped-up Clubman – until now. A spy video shared by Automotive Mike shows a new camouflaged Clubman being tested at the Nurburgring. Judging by the raspy exhaust note, this is likely to be our first look at the long-rumored hardcore Mini Clubman - and it sounds sublime.
The camouflaged Clubman was filmed at a gas station near the Nurburgring before being taken for a spin around the German circuit, where we get to hear its growling exhaust crackle and pop. Compared to the current 228-hp Mini Clubman JCW, the new hardcore Clubman is said to be powered by BMW's 2.0-liter turbo found in the 330i tuned to produce a whopping 300 hp.
If this is the case, Mini is clearly hoping to compete with the likes of the Honda Civic Type R, Volkswagen Golf R and Subaru WRX STI. The hardcore Clubman will also presumably benefit from Mini's ALL4 all-wheel drive system - move over Ford Focus RS? Going by previous JCW-tuned models, you can also expect to see larger fenders and red trim. Given the current hype surrounding the Honda Civic Type R and Ford Focus RS, the time seems right for Mini to release the 2.0-liter turbo's untapped potential and take on the established leaders in the hot hatch segment. Whether this does turn out to be the hardcore Clubman JCW remains to be seen - hopefully Mini won't keep us in suspense for too long.