There’s just one week to go before MINI officially launches the six-door Clubman here in Australia, and while Cooper and Cooper S variants will make up the model range here initially, there’s still more to come overseas.
Chief amongst those new variants is an all wheel drive option, the first of its kind to appear outside of MINI’s SUV range.
The ALL4 system is set to be added as an option to Cooper and Cooper S models, with a high performance version of the system slated for a future Clubman JCW.
Thanks to the current generation of MINI vehicles sharing underpinnings with BMW’s UKL1 platform range, the 2 Series Active Tourer and X1 which both offer AWD options, making the switch to an all-paw MINI is no real leap of the imagination.
For snow-bound Europe, and particular regions of the all-important US market, an AWD option makes plenty of sense. Expected pricing for the AWD option is US$1500 (AU$2100).
The ALL4 system will run a multi-plate clutch on the rear axle to transfer power on demand, with up to 100% of torque available to the rear wheels if required. The propeller shaft is kept spinning at all times for faster system engagement times,
In normal driving situations, if power isn’t required at the rear axle, the ALL4 system disconnects drive to the rear axle and operates like a normal front wheel drive car, with the goal of improving fuel economy.
As well as seeing duty in the Clubman, the same system will also be put to use beneath all wheel drive variants of the new Countryman SUV, which is expected to grow in size over the current generation, to give it some extra breathing-room compared to the spacious new Clubman.
Sales of the Clubman ALL4 aren’t expected to begin until late in 2016, however thanks to Australia’s predominantly dry climate there may not be a call for the new model here, short of the 170kW JCW version.
Even then, MINI Australia may decide to keep the ALL4 badge specifically for the Countryman SUV, to help separate the model ranges.
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