The new MINI Clubman range hasn't been out long, but here the company is adding something new to the line-up in the form of the all-wheel drive ALL4 models.
Featuring on just the two most powerful four-cylinder turbocharged iterations of the Clubman's engines - the 2.0-litre, 192hp Cooper S petrol and the 2.0-litre, 190hp Cooper SD diesel - the ALL4 technology features a power take-off bevel gear on the front axle, a dual-section propshaft and a 'Hang-On' multidisc clutch in the rear axle differential, which sees the Clubman running in front-wheel drive most of the time, until the car senses a loss of traction and sends torque to the rear axle as required.
Other than that, these cars look exactly like the existing Cooper S and Cooper SD Clubmans, save for 'ALL4' badging at the leading bottom edge of the front doors - although a new colour, called Digital Blue, has been launched with the AWD Clubmans and is available on the rest of the range. The interior is the same as well, with sports front seats and a sports leather steering wheel standard equipment for all three ALL4 variants.
Yes, there are three choices here: you can have the Cooper S petrol with either a six-speed manual transmission or the eight-speed Steptronic sports automatic, while the Cooper SD comes with the eight-speed auto only. The 0-100km/h sprint in the Cooper S can take as little as 6.9 seconds (for the auto, 7.0 seconds with the manual) and just 7.2 seconds in the Cooper SD, the top speed of either petrol version is 225km/h and the diesel isn't far behind at 222km/h. The improved traction of the ALL4 models means they are quicker to 100km/h than the front-wheel drive Clubmans, at the expense of a touch of top speed (as an example, the Cooper S Clubman manual takes 7.2 seconds to do 0-100km/h and has a top speed of 230km/h).
Adding the extra weight of the four-wheel drive system has a penalty on economy and emissions for the Clubman. On the petrol, the auto is a bit better on both numbers, turning in 44.8mpg (6.3 litres/100km) and 146g/km CO2, compared to the manual's 40.9mpg and 159g/km as a manual - but compare that latter data to the manual front-wheel drive Clubman, which manages 45.6mpg and 144g/km; ouch. The auto-only Cooper SD Clubman ALL4 achieves best returns of 58.8mpg (4.8 litres/100km) and 126g/km.
At least adding the ALL4 gear doesn't affect boot space behind those twin barn rear doors, as the latest Clubmans have the same 360/1,250 litres cargo space as their front-wheel drive brethren.
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