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2011 BMW 328i xDrive Touring 6MT ZSP
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In searching for a Mini Cooper for my wife recently I stumbled on a demo Clubman JCW at a Mini dealer in the Toronto area. It was being advertised for nearly $10k off MSRP and it had 4400 km on it. Since it hadn't been registered it qualified for all the usual incentives. Mini was having a promo two weekends ago so that cut the price by another $1k. Since we already had a Mini, I also qualified for the loyalty program which mean a rate cut of 0.75 percentage points.

Since this seemed like a great bargain, I test drove a Clubman S All4 with the manual when I picked up my wife's car. It was very nice - comfortable, reasonably spacious, and it handled great with the optional 18" wheels and summer tires. It was definitely on the slow side though, at least in comparison to my GTI. So I pulled the trigger on this JCW and on Thursday morning I flew to Toronto to pick it up.

I'll have to get some better pictures once I clean it up but here she is:









British Racing Green with the Chili Red roof, mirrors, and stripes. The wheels are the standard black 18" ones which are my favourite of the three options. The 19s look nice but I'll take the superior ride of the 18s.

In addition to the colour scheme, the car is a bit outrageously specced:

- Essentials Package: Panoramic sunroof, heated seats, rear fog lights
- Loaded Package: Auto dimming mirror, auto climate control, Harmon Kardon audio, adaptive headlights
- Wired Navigation Package: 8.8" touchscreen with nav, wireless charging, and extended Bluetooth/USB
- Visibility Package: Rear view camera, head up display, park distance control
- JCW Style Package: Chrome and piano black interior trim
- Cargo package: Removable cargo floor, 40/20/40 split rear seat
- Dynamic Damper Control
- electric front window defroster
- illuminated interior trim
- park assistant
- Dinamica/leather seats

Sticker price is just shy of $50k which is of course a bit outrageous considering this thing has the power of a GTI instead of a Golf R. But, with the discount I got, it's actually pretty reasonable.

First off, I love the colour combo. If I had specced it myself I'd have a tough time choosing between British Racing Green and Rebel Green. Rebel is darker, almost black. I haven't seen it in person but in pics it looks awesome. I do like how vibrant BRG can be in the light though.

Styling wise, I love that it looks like a very compact wagon. The Clubman looks great to begin with IMO, and the JCW has the right amount of aggression with the black wheels and body kit. The contrasting red helps too, of course.

The interior is really nice. Mine has the JCW seats which have integrated headrests. These are standard, wrapped in Dynamica which is a synthetic suede. Mine has the Dinamica/leather option which has leather bolsters as well as some red accents. They look and feel great. The ambient lighting is neat and is of course a Mini hallmark, though some may think that the illuminated door trim is a bit much. For the most part the interior materials all look and feel great. I'd say the fit and finish is on par with the GTI.

In terms of interior space, the front is quite generous and it definitely feels wider than a Cooper. The centre console area is also sized more generously and the iDrive controller is less awkward to use. Overall the ergonomics are better in the Clubman than the Cooper simply because there's a bit more room for everything. For example, the headlight switch doesn't point down at your knee in the Clubman. On the other hand, cabin storage is a bit compromised. There's no overhead sunglasses holder and no place to keep coins hidden away. And it's a very minor thing but I like how the door pockets in the GTI have padding to keep items from rattling around. So there are some improvements Mini could make here.

Performance wise, this car isn't a powerhouse but it does feel on par with the GTI. The engine is very flexible and the gearing is fairly aggressive so even at relatively low speeds you can accelerate reasonably in fifth and sixth gears. The exhaust has a nice rumble and you can get it to make all sorts of popping and crackling sounds. Handling is excellent too. The steering is very direct and the dynamic dampers mean the car is nicely compliant in normal mode and stiffens up noticeably in sport mode. It may be relatively large but it still feels like a Mini.

We had a great road trip home through upstate NY, VT, NH, and ME. It was a ton of fun in the mountains and was a great cruiser on the interstates. So far I'm very happy with this car. I'll post some more details about the trip home later. :)
 

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'21 RS 5
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Why does TCL hate MINIs so much?

:confused:
 

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nice pick up! I test drove the S and came away underwhelmed as you. The JCW is still on my list, but as you pointed out, the price is steep. Buying new, the Golf R is the logical choice. Catching a deal, especially if its between a GTI and R, makes it easier to swallow.

A dude in our Mini club has a Rebel JCW Clubman. It is very dark, almost black. Looks good, but I personally think the BRG is a nicer colour.
 

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2019 Alltrack-S
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Nice pick-up... like i said in that earlier thread. BRG/Chili red just screams JCW, love it. :beer:
 

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2011 BMW 328i xDrive Touring 6MT ZSP
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So a bit about our trip home. Friday night we stayed in Kitchener with friends and we had to be back in time for work on Monday. Rather than taking the most direct route through eastern Ontario, Quebec, and northern New Brunswick – which would be nearly 1500 km of boring divided highways – we went through the U.S. Similar distance but mostly two lane roads aside from the 401 to the Thousand Islands area and I95 in northern Maine. Here's the exact route: https://goo.gl/maps/QFKEsT4MfAt

Since we only had two days we were a bit rushed but we tried to make the most of it. Once over the border we headed towards Lake Placid. Farmland gave way to forests and mountains and twistier roads. Once past Lake Placid we took route 73 to I87, where we hopped onto Tracy Road. At the beginning there were to NA Miatas with Quebec plates and roll bars parked on the shoulder so I knew it was going to be fun. Only came across one oncoming car so I had a chance to really flog the car. What a fun road.

Then we crossed the Lake Champlain Bridge and despite the fact that the light was quickly fading we took route 17 up to Mad River Glen before heading north to Waterbury. There we ate at Progressive Pig where we had delicious wings, chopped pork, and brisket, along with some great beer. We jumped on I89 and headed to our hotel just outside of Montpelier. The next morning we got up reasonably early and headed into Montpelier so we could stroll around a bit before getting on the road. Very nice little town, would love to come back here.

We hopped on US 302 and headed towards New Hampshire. After crossing the Connecticut river we got on route 112 and headed to Lincoln so we could take the Kancamagus Highway. It was very warm out and not surprisingly, there were tons of people on the highway – especially motorcycles. There's some incredible views to be had here and we stopped a few times to enjoy them. We also got off of the Kanc and took a drive up and down Bear Notch Road which has tons of corners and elevation changes. Lots of cyclists here so we took it relatively slowly but it was a fun drive nonetheless.

After a quick stop in North Conway for some shopping, we crossed into Maine and took route 5 up to Lovell so we could have lunch at Ebenezer's – voted the best beer bar in the world despite the fact that it's seemingly in the middle of nowhere. After a delicious Belgian cherry kriek and some burgers we went north and took route 2 all the way to I95. We stayed on I95 until we got to Lincoln where we took Maine route 6 east to the Canadian border which is just under an hour from our house.

It was an awesome drive. This part of New England is so nice. We usually stick to the coast but we really want to come back and spend more time in NH and VT. Great scenery, fun roads, and excellent craft beer. What more can you ask for?

Some pics from the trip:

The bar at Pro Pig



Morning fog in Montpelier



Vermont State House



Montpelier from above



Saab dealer in Montpelier



Views from the Kanc










 

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Awww, you got to see my old home town. :)
 

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2016 A6, 2014 X3, 1967 Bus, 1963 356
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I visited the Mini factory last year and watched these things get made. Amazing to watch and one of the more hands on factory tours you can take. We walked right up to the welding robot cages, got showered in sparks and strolled along the assembly line where I could go right up to the cars to check them out, play with the [BMW stamped] parts in bins alongside the production line, etc. The most amazing part of the whole process is the massive jig they use to slap on 2/4/clubman body panels onto the skateboard of the frame. Long story short I left wanting a Clubman in purple w/diamond seats but alas needs required something larger. Congrats on the purchase.
 

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Even stopped to grab a bit at McD's!
I spent my childhood years there, right up to a freshman in high school. I used to ride my bike to that McD's there all the time...

I trust you saw the stupid Lifesavers....thing?
 

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Cool looking car, I like the color combo. Ever since I sat in a Cooper Works Mini Hardtop a couple years ago at Barrett Jackson, I kind of want one.
 
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