The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine makes 189 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque, and when it’s on boost, it feels like it has plenty of power. That said, the turbo-four really doesn’t wake up until about 2,000 rpm. “The turbo lag off the line is frustrating,” associate editor Scott Evans said. “I like the power when it’s on the boil, but every stoplight is a minor annoyance.”
A launch control feature helps remedy this. This makes the most of the car’s all-wheel-drive grip by letting you take off with the turbo already spooled up. It’s not a push-you-back-in-your-seat kind of launch, but it’s better than waiting for boost to kick in. One drawback is you have to let the transmission cool for at least five minutes before you can do it again. And you’d probably look pretty childish revving your engine to the moon at every stoplight. Still, I like having the option.
The Clubman S has a number of different settings to choose from. The Driving Dynamics Control system lets you select one of three modes using a large rotating ring at the base of the shifter. Green mode dulls throttle response and gets you to top gear as quickly as possible. Sport mode enhances throttle response and also widens the shift points, and you can really feel the difference. Another sporty setting is linked to the eight-speed automatic, activated by clicking the shifter to the left from drive. This widens shift points even farther when left alone and allows for manual control if you move the shifter up or down or use the steering wheel–mounted paddle shifters. Shifts in manual mode are fast and precise, and I find myself using the paddles more frequently than I have in other cars equipped with them.
I like all of the customization the Clubman offers, but I wish I could set Sport as my default driving mode. Cars always start in the mid-range mode, which is not bad, but it does not provide flashy levels I hope from a mini. Must click into the sport mode every time I get in is a little inconvenience but the more charming drive is definitely worth the extra effort.