Random cars we like

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The 2017 MINI Clubman JCW

MINI will travel to the Paris Auto Show to introduce the JCW version of the second-generation Clubman.

The John Cooper Works Clubman is powered by the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s both turbocharged and direct-injected and makes 228 horsepower from 5, 200 to 6,000 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque from 1,450 all the way up to 4, 500 rpm. The turbo four spins all four wheels via MINI’s All4 all-wheel drive system and either a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic.

The 3,400-pound JCW Clubman hits 60 mph from a standing start in six seconds dead regardless of which transmission it’s equipped with, and it goes on to a top speed of 147 mph. The extra power is complemented by a JCW-specific suspension that’s lower and stiffer than standard on the rest of the Clubman range,  a sport exhaust, and Brembo brakes all around. An adaptive suspension is available at an extra cost should you require that little bit more from the suspension.

The JCW stands out from a regular Clubman thanks to a full body kit that includes a new front bumper with bigger air dams and side skirts, as well as 18-inch alloy wheels and dual chromed exhaust tips. Nonetheless it is a tasteful rather than an in your face body kit, suiting the overall new Clubman ethos very well. MINI has also upgraded the cabin with sport seats for the front passengers and matching fabrics on the rears.

The 2017 MINI John Cooper Works Clubman will go on sale nationwide in December. Pricing information will be announced in the weeks leading up to its on-sale date.

This would work perfectly in the Beastmaster stable, the problem being we don’t want to let go of anything we have to make room for it. We simply love it though.

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Car Of The Week R50 MINI Cooper CooperBeast

Last Saturday The Elf collected her new VW Golf GTI, arguably the last word in performance and practicality fusion for the ordinary working man.

To get it The Elf had to say goodbye to CooperBeast a beloved red MINI Cooper that has been in the family since it was new some 13 years ago.

We are pleased to say it has found some worthy new keepers as a friend of Beastie, a chap from work Steve, bought it for his wife Dawn. We are also told that it will stay in the 500 club with some appropriate plates being put on it in the future.

It was sad to see it go, but it was time for some new owners to enjoy it and inject some TLC into it. Saturday then was a win day for The Elf, with her new Golf and it was a win for Dawn as she took ownership of a beloved iconic MINI from within the MINI community.

Best wishes to Dawn and The Elf with their new motors.

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Car Of The Week – Volkswagen Golf GTi

A few months ago The Elf ordered her VW Golf GTI and today her brand new car finally arrived. It’s sparkly, it’s new, it’s shiny and black. It has red bits on it too. It’s two cars in one, it’s quiet and refined, my Mum would feel cosseted and comfortable in it. She could get in it easily. She could get out of it easily. Push the go pedal though and it responds easily and hurtles you rapidly to illegal speeds. Visibility is great. Everything just works. It makes our MINI JCW Coupe look childish by comparison.

The MINI only has two seats so Mum can’t go in it. If she does she struggles with the low position and the long door. It’s hard to see out of the back. The MINI is just not as practical as the Golf. The MINI is just not as refined as the Golf. The MINI exhaust pops and bangs rudely. When you start the car you know the engine is on. You don’t in The Golf. And all this is the beauty of cars. One person’s love affair is the nemesis in another person’s life. 

The Elf is in her early thirties, she holds down a good job with good pay. She is a professional. The Golf compliments her lifestyle. This car helps her play the part she lives in life.  With the Golf, you arrive at work refreshed and relaxed ready to put in your full shift. You arrive home chilled once more after a tough day of total professionalism in the office. You are relaxed and in the frame of mind to ponder on how much a pair of black Louboutins with red soles would match the pearl black Golf with its red accents?

For me and Peanut though it is a MINI every time. The MINI is an adventure every time you drive it. There is a story to tell after every time you switch it off. The engine pops and barks and cusses. It talks back to you, ” I don’t care if you can’t see out of the back, I don’t care if you can’t see out of the side, just drive me and then drive me some more. Peanut thinks the black Louboutins with the red soles wouldn’t be such a good match to the MINI Coupe. The car anwers her back, “They’d look rubbish.  Buy navy ones with red soles and match your sapphires”.

They are both great cars but only a car with soul loves Louboutins!

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Car Of The Week – Elvis’ BMW 507

The BMW 507 owned by Elvis has been restored to a better condition than its original factory build. It’s just a beautiful car. Will the beautiful cars of today stand the test of time in the way that the lovely cars of the 1950s and 1960s have. Perhaps they will. Perhaps an F-type Jaguar will be as desirable in 40 years time as it is today.

Pictures courtesy BMW.

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Car Of The Week – F55 MINI Clubman D


ThunderBeast our Gen 1 GP went into MINI for a service and some new shocks and bushes and while it was in the garage MINI lent us a MINI Clubman Diesel to try.


It came in pepper white with black roof and no packages on it, which allowed us to weigh up what you got if you didn’t go mad on the options tick list. A basic but perfectly useable sat nav is standard and again the radio is perfectly useable but basic in sound. The cloth non sport seats were comfortable enough and the steering wheel was adjustable for height and reach. The Diminutive Lady P was perfectly comfortable behind the wheel and it was also clear that the 6 footers of this world would have plenty of room too. Luggage space and room in the back was fine too. The option list was miles long and you could make this a luxury compact cruiser very easily.



It’s handsome. It’s elegant.


This was a big surprise. The diesel is faster than our SD Paceman coming with 150 hp and 300nm and it was a very nippy and forgiving engine. Our Paceman punishes you if you are in the wrong gear, while this one is much more forgiving and therefore flattering to an average driver. It is also refined lacking the industrial feeling of the R55 basic Diesel and the R55 SD. If /when the SD comes along I would expect something rather special having sampled this one.



Neither of us are F1 drivers or track trained drivers so we know nothing. But the car felt tidy to us. Very nippy, nice gear changes, smooth braking. The most grown up MINI we have ever driven.

As owners of a Coupe and a Paceman, we have had to listen to a lot of nonsense along the lines of, “ yeah but it’s not a MINI is it.” Well the Clubman I think has finally cracked this bugbear. By a countryman mile this is so not a MINI, so completely unlike any other MINI, so different in sophistication than anything before it. Yet this seems to be getting accepted. I hope it does it deserves to. As soon as you see it you know it’s a MINI (this is also true of Paceman’s Countryman’s and Coupe’s) yet it adds a level of sophistication to the driving and ride not seen before.

Would I have one? You bet I would. I’d stop short of the JCW. I’d have an SD or an S. I would tick all the options, including automatic gearbox and create a luxury compact cruiser. It would cost about £35k, which is why the order has to wait for the lottery win before it is placed, but place it I would.



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Car Of The Week -AutoBeast Test Drives The F56 JCW

  This morning we finally got around to taking a closer look at the new F56 John Cooper Works courtesy of Cotswolds Cheltenham. The car has been reviewed many times over on the net with generally favourable reviews, so I am not going to go down the same full on review. In those terms suffice to say, it is quick fun and very polished – we like it a lot. Here though is a bit of the detail that caught our eye.

The one I drove was automatic with chili pack and other extras giving it an on the road price of £34000. For this we got a Heads up display unit, which because of the driving assistance pack gave you three bits of information – your speed, the speed of the road you are on and a graphic rev counter, its position can be adjusted to suit your eye level and  instantly I loved this – the information you needed just where you needed to see it.


The next thing I noticed were the seats. These are  I believe the standard works seat, a mixture of fabric, alcantara and leather. They look fabulous and are instantly vey comfortable and very grippy. Yep sold on the seats.

   The steering wheel felt good in the hand and looked very professional, it suited the whole car interior which looks premium and polished. Then there is the auto box. Well for me it was awesome. I loved it and would definitely have it in this version. First, the car is quicker as an auto than a manual. Secondly, autos are dull a sports car should be a stick? Well… Not really, you see with a stick you get to drive the car one way i.e by changing gear. With the auto however, you get options.  Stick it into drive and let the car do the work. Fun and you tend not to look an arse. Alternatively put into a manual sport mode and change up and down yourself using the paddle shifters on the steering wheel.  What a blooming hoot. Trust me it’s great fun. Thirdly the car has the fuel saving stop/start function. My wife, Mrs P still hates this on our Paceman and JCW but matched to this auto box, it is just so smooth and simple. You slow down by braking and come to a stop. The engine switches off, the lights go green you move your foot over to the accelerator and you just go. So so smooth. Spot the bit of red below seeming to stick out of the side of the inner part of the steering wheel. Well actually it is in the middle of the centre console flick switches. It is a shiny red start button. Yep a shiny red start button. Mum… It’s got a shiny red start button can I have one Mum can I?

  It’s fast too and yet refined if that is how you want it to be. the ride is sporty when required but comfortable and refined (by MINI standards) if you need it to be.  So put simply I was impressed. So… Am I getting one? No. Why not, well we love our JCW Coupé so we would want this as well as the Coupé, not instead of and to be honest we haven’t got a spare £34K this week, in fact nor next week either. But if I had, yep I’d have one of these in an instant.

For my money there are a number of very special MINI models. The First Generation GP is one and one I still hanker for badly, Don’t know about the second generation GP to be honest. The R58 MINI Coupé JCW is for my money another very special MINI and now I think this one is too. This one is probably the most accomplished all round JCW of the lot but car lovers have no rationality or logic, it’s all about the heart and the seat vibrations that stir the heart so a GP owner or a MINI Coupé JCW owner will probably be just as disgustingly happy with their cars.

Conclusion – make no mistake this car is a cracker all the way down to its crackling good exhaust.