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This is one of the more lively cars I’ve driven this year, and without doubt one with the most character. According to Mini, the JCW Clubman “combines an authentic race feel with the most space, everyday practicality and long-distance suitability” ever seen in a JCW model.

I really think I could live with something like this on a daily basis, as it has all the character in the world and ticks all the green boxes with excellent efficiency in the lower of the three driving modes. But without a doubt the mode of choice is its sports pedigree option, which after all, the John Cooper Works is renowned for. Switch to it and you find yourself aboard a fire-breathing dragon, popping and hissing through the gears. The model we were fortunate enough to have was black with red detailing which we dubbed “The Undertaker” thanks to it’s sport wagon appearance. One would think with these horror film proportions that the John Cooper Works Clubman would be hard to manoeuvre at pace through the bends, but it’s not. With it’s new All4 four-wheel drive there is no shortage of fun to be had with minimal body roll.

The Clubman JCW boasts a 2.0 litre turbo plant and an eight-speed transmission in the automatic version – or you have the choice of the six-speed manual edition. The auto box we tested was superb around the highways as it literally sat on idle in top gear around Johannesburg maximising fuel efficiency which is claimed at 7,8 litres per 100km. Sitting on 19-inch alloy wheels the grip will get you from 0-100 km/h in just 6.3 seconds and back down to zero safely thanks to its bright red front Brembo brakes. The JCW Clubman is also equipped with a park assist, park distance control, rear view camera, driving assistant with camera-based active cruise control, collision and pedestrian warning, high beam assist and road sign detection.

Inside the cabin you will find a 6.5-inch infotainment screen which can be increased to an 8.8-inch colour display as an option. A Head-Up display is offered as an option too. The Radio Mini Visual Boost system is fitted as standard and a USB and Aux port are also offered.

Your first assumption about the car is that you think it’s anything but practical. However over the week of testing it, I found out how extremely easy it is to live with.

Overall the JCW has more than enough space inside, thanks to its extra space the wagon design creates. Now you can take the family on a more than just a weekend getaway.

Price wise, there are many options available for the prospective buyer with a number of competitors sometimes having more power and equal space available to them. If you can manage the R567 000 and you want to stand out from the crowd – then the Mini Clubman JCW is for you.