F54 :: Clubman Talk (2015+) MINI Cooper Clubman and Clubman S Discussion

Clubman S vs JCW Tuning Question

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Old 05-24-2019, 10:55 AM
Hasemano
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Clubman S vs JCW Tuning Question

Hi all, new member here and new to Mini as well. Coming from almost 20 years of interrupted Audi ownership, I know the online forums are the place to be for questions that you can't seem to find answers to elsewhere. I did a search here as well and am coming up short - so please excuse if my question is duplicative. I'm sure it has been posted here before at some point.

I'm on my fifth day with my '17 Clubman S All4 (6-speed manual), and consequently my sixth day without my last Audi - an S5 V8 (also manual). The Mini is great fun and there are many things to love - but I'm already missing some of that "cowbell" from my last few cars.

Looking into tuning options (and my CPO warranty is good through 2022), I see there are several. My local Mini dealer is actually no longer installing Dinan units but is instead using the Burger JB4 tune. There is a catch - they are still charging the same price as the Dinan Elite unit ($1,000!) for a product that seems to be around $520 everywhere else, including straight from the manufacturer.

My question relates to the tuning setup. I see that the Dinan / JB4 units provide increases into the 225 range. But I also noted that a Dinan unit atop a JCW Clubman produces a listed 280 hp. I'm liking 280 a lot better than 225, especially given my recent demands for more power. The question is this: can the non-JCW Clubman S also easily produce 280? In other words, what about the JCW makes it capable of 280 with a tune, whereas the S is "merely" capable of 225?

Of course, I've seen the JCW Tuning Kit as an add-on, but it seems to be exhaust specific - I can't imagine a new exhaust system would make a 55 horsepower difference. Is this a matter of obtaining a JCW ECU and then stacking the Dinan / JB4 on top of it?

Your enlightment of my ignorance is appreciated.
 
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Old 05-24-2019, 11:01 AM
Clutch Wotan
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Just for the records, the JCW tune includes a software tune as well, besides a open exhaust (however F56) gives a surplus of 15 hp on the dyno.
 
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Old 05-24-2019, 11:37 AM
Hasemano
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Thanks Wotan! So, if I understand correctly, JCW kit plus the Dinan or JB4 piggyback style tune produces the listed 280 figure? If so, that doesnít seem terrible ($2,500-$2,750) to pump out 50% more power.
 
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:12 PM
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Minnie.the.Moocher
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You probably want to look at an ECU tune. Several vendors on here sell them. Pretty sure they'll find you and post or you can just do search. I don't want to recommend one over the other as I only have done the Piggybacks for my cars.
 
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:23 PM
Hasemano
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Thanks Minn... Iím still considering the warranty implications (CPO through 1/22) but have gathered that things are different with a CPO anyhow. Must do more research now that I know how to get there.
 
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Old 05-24-2019, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Hasemano View Post
Hi all, new member here and new to Mini as well. Coming from almost 20 years of interrupted Audi ownership, I know the online forums are the place to be for questions that you can't seem to find answers to elsewhere. I did a search here as well and am coming up short - so please excuse if my question is duplicative. I'm sure it has been posted here before at some point.

I'm on my fifth day with my '17 Clubman S All4 (6-speed manual), and consequently my sixth day without my last Audi - an S5 V8 (also manual). The Mini is great fun and there are many things to love - but I'm already missing some of that "cowbell" from my last few cars.

Looking into tuning options (and my CPO warranty is good through 2022), I see there are several. My local Mini dealer is actually no longer installing Dinan units but is instead using the Burger JB4 tune. There is a catch - they are still charging the same price as the Dinan Elite unit ($1,000!) for a product that seems to be around $520 everywhere else, including straight from the manufacturer.

My question relates to the tuning setup. I see that the Dinan / JB4 units provide increases into the 225 range. But I also noted that a Dinan unit atop a JCW Clubman produces a listed 280 hp. I'm liking 280 a lot better than 225, especially given my recent demands for more power. The question is this: can the non-JCW Clubman S also easily produce 280? In other words, what about the JCW makes it capable of 280 with a tune, whereas the S is "merely" capable of 225?

Of course, I've seen the JCW Tuning Kit as an add-on, but it seems to be exhaust specific - I can't imagine a new exhaust system would make a 55 horsepower difference. Is this a matter of obtaining a JCW ECU and then stacking the Dinan / JB4 on top of it?

Your enlightment of my ignorance is appreciated.
I went with the Dinan Sport Tuner single sensor plug-in on my 2017 Clubman S All4. My car has the 8 speed automatic.
I noticed an immediate increase in quickness, especially between 1500 and 2500 RPM.
I have had many higher displacement performance cars over the years. The MINI is very different in several ways. The most difficult adjustment for me was engine dynamics. These little 4 bangers with VANOS and turbos and electronic drive-by-wire, and all the rest, have to do a bunch of "thinking" and adjusting as they try to respond to driver inputs. You've probably noticed that little moment right as you put your foot on the gas when the car sort of pauses and says to itself, "Oh, this driver wants to accelerate hard. Okay, heeere we go." As opposed to a torque monster V-8 or V-12 that just seamlessly goes without hesitation.

My experience has been that the Dinan plug-in has really reduced that hesitation and, though acceleration is still not what I would call seamless from the get go, once things kick in, it is very seamless and the car accelerates hard and steadily, especially in Sport mode.

Second thing to note is that the JCW engines have several different components, in addition to a different tune. So the fuel delivery, the cooling, and the ECU are different. Whereas the JCW tune adjusts the ECU but does not include different engine components and thus is not a true JCW build.

The stock BMW X1 is, in many ways, similar to a JCW Clubman as regards drivetrain and engine tune, so you might want to drive an all wheel drive X1 in a straight line just to catch some of the "feel" of the 228HP stock build.

Now, what is so much fun about the Clubman S All4 is the way you can toss it around. My wife was sure we were not getting a MINI until she test drove a Clubman S. She made a few right turns without touching the brakes and said, "I think the Clubman is our next car." Our lease is about over. My wife is leaning toward ordering another Clubby. It's a go kart kinda vibe that one never outgrows.

Plug in a Dinan or JB or NM box and see how it feels. If you like it but want more, full on tunes, with the added risks, are there waiting for you. Most who tune think the risk is well worth it. Me, I'm old and think the extra 3psi of boost from my Dinan Sport is just enough. But then, I'm old.
 
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Old 05-24-2019, 03:40 PM
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Thanks for all of your feedback. I think I will likely try the JB4 tune in the next month or two and go from there. Honestly, I didnít really find myself ďneedingĒ all too much power, which is why the Clubman S came into play.

Thanks also for the details on the JCW version. I figured there must be much more to it than just an ECU and an exhaust. Perhaps I didnít dig far enough!

I am loving the Mini so far. The S5 (and prior cars like the TT and S4) were also competent in turns, thanks to Quattro, but I wanted to try something smaller like a 2-series. Thatís why I landed where I am. I am looking forward to many years with this Mini - just gave it a wash and tomorrow itíll have some fun out in the Colorado sun. And I can finally put my son in the back seat!
 
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Old 05-24-2019, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Hasemano View Post
I am loving the Mini so far.
Welcome to the Clubman Club.

I never imagined I would drive a MINI. Turned in a Range Rover and prior to that the daily driver was a Jag XK. I still have a V12 Jag convertible seeping away in the garage -- it comes out about one or twice a month only because almost every time we think about driving the Jag either my wife or I end up saying, "Let's take the MINI." Just returned from a 1,000+ mile road trip up into the Northern California Gold Country. The Clubman was a delightful companion on highways and mountain twisties. And the extra boost from the Dinan, especially over mountain passes, was exceptional.

Now that the Clubman lease is winding down, I'm starting to look at options. Though one never knows what might catch my fickle eye, a big piece of my heart keeps whispering, "If you get something different, you're really gonna miss that Clubman." It's the right blend of fun and lux and personality that is truly hard to find.

As I like to tell people who come up and ask about the car, "I went to buy a BMW and ended up with this Clubman, which has been the right decision."

Enjoy yours! And get yourself some boost. Makes it a whole other animal.
 
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Old 05-24-2019, 09:23 PM
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I'll echo what that All4 old guy had to say ... that as another old guy who has owned - and raced! - SCCA member for over 25 years - lots of fast cars. The daily driver before the Clubman S was a BMW 540iT with a 6-speed swap (so 300hp V8 manual transmission wagon). I've had a number of BMW "M" cars, and we've also had Audis in the fleet -- the wife's daily drivers -- since 2002. This car is definitely slower than what I've been driving for many years, and the slowest of the 4 cars currently in the household, but it's actually really refreshing to be able to wind it out in every gear without seriously breaking the law. Every once in a while I do think I really want more acceleration, but most of the time, it's more than adequate and quite fun, in the same way it's fun to blast around in a Miata. And despite having a nice Audi A6 in the driveway, the family go-out-to-dinner car is the Clubman.
 

Last edited by GDGR; 05-25-2019 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 05-26-2019, 07:03 PM
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To come full circle, today was a blast with the Mini. Itís quickly put away any doubts I had about giving up the Audi. The power doesnít really seem as problematic now that Iíve seen it on the highway. It is more than fast enough. And my son was able to enjoy the back seat.

This seems like a great community so far - no one has even been critical yet - I really appreciate the welcome.
 
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Old 05-27-2019, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Hasemano View Post
This seems like a great community so far - no one has even been critical yet - I really appreciate the welcome.
Well, we start out nice...

The more you drive your Clubman, the more you will grow to appreciate its quirky wonderfulness. Glad to hear you're enjoying it so far.
 
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Old 05-27-2019, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Hasemano View Post
To come full circle, today was a blast with the Mini. Itís quickly put away any doubts I had about giving up the Audi. The power doesnít really seem as problematic now that Iíve seen it on the highway. It is more than fast enough. And my son was able to enjoy the back seat.

This seems like a great community so far - no one has even been critical yet - I really appreciate the welcome.
Welcome to the Clubby Club! I've done the Dinantronix along with a few other things on my 17 All4 S. It's always entertaining to drive. Would I like more power? Yes, but with the piggyback Dinan unit it was a good improvement for the $299 I spent. Keep your eye out for a used unit. Can you change your own oil or do basic maintenance, then you are fully capable of installing one of these units Yourself. Want to corner a little harder? I just put the NM Engineering sway bar and links on the car....nice improvement.
 
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Old 05-28-2019, 04:03 AM
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Its funny, I also traded in my 09 Audi S5 4.2L for a 2017 Mini Clubman All4. I, however, have had 4 mini's in the family, mine being the 5th. They are fun lil cars. MPG's will kill the S5 4.2l, but I do understand the "Cowbell" reference.
 
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Old 05-28-2019, 06:32 AM
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So....I'm on the cusp of ordering the new JCW Clubman...when it finally becomes available. British Racing Green Metallic and Malt brown interior with all the bells and whistles. Wife and kids are mortified.....they think it is a clown car..but they'll come around. Giving up driving big motors around the city....want to have more fun in the rev range. Coming out of a BMW 550 and X3 with the I6......going to miss anything....besides missing my wife and kids?? any thoughts on snow tire needs or is the all4 functional enough with the standard issue tires?
 
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Old 05-29-2019, 01:30 PM
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Congrats, just get a good set of blazzaks, Pirelli winter scoprions or Nokian tires (if you can find them). This is for snow belt MINIs. I have ran snow tires on several of my MINIs and they are like tanks in the snow and thats with FWD, when you have 4 wheel drive it adds to the control. Get a dedicated set of wheels that clear the JCW brakes. If you only see snow once or twice a year a good set of all seasons will work.
 
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Old 05-29-2019, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Indecisive View Post
So....I'm on the cusp of ordering the new JCW Clubman...when it finally becomes available.
That would be the 300 HP Clubman right? Built on the BMW 2 series platform. I'll probably be in the market for one of those next year.
To the OP: what I did was have an ECU tune of my JCW Coupe. And it's more than fast enough. I probably didn't need to do it but it was only $500 (MiniManiac). I bet if you ECU tuned your MCS that would do it for ya. And I would wager the aftermarket ECU tunes like mine are every bit as good as the factory JCW ECU tune and a LOT cheaper. FWIW.
 
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Old 05-29-2019, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by TheBigNewt View Post
That would be the 300 HP Clubman right? Built on the BMW 2 series platform. I'll probably be in the market for one of those next year.
To the OP: what I did was have an ECU tune of my JCW Coupe. And it's more than fast enough. I probably didn't need to do it but it was only $500 (MiniManiac). I bet if you ECU tuned your MCS that would do it for ya. And I would wager the aftermarket ECU tunes like mine are every bit as good as the factory JCW ECU tune and a LOT cheaper. FWIW.
Can you combine the Jcw tune with those aftermarket ecu tunes?
 
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Old 05-29-2019, 02:26 PM
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yep...the 300 HP JCW Clubman.. I find dropping from the 450hp 550 down to the 228 existing jcw to be too big of a performance drop. I want to use it as a daily driver with some fun built in....I live a few blocks from the dealer....so I'll take advantage of the free washes and keep it sparkling.
 
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