Read our extensive test of the second generation Mini Clubman hatch-cum-estate
There are also obvious benefits to traction in low-grip scenarios, such as snow and ice.
Engine and transmission
Just two engines from the Mini line-up are available at launch. The first is the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine from the Cooper S, which produces 189bhp at 5000rpm and 206lb ft of torque at 1250rpm (this grows to 221lb ft during short stints of overboost).
Mated to the standard six-speed manual gearbox, the Cooper S Clubman All4 can sprint from 0-62mph in a claimed 7.0sec, and will keep on accelerating on until 140mph. This is two-tenths quicker and 2mph slower than the two-wheel-drive alternative.
The manual All4 can also manage a claimed 40.9mpg combined, and produces 159g/km of CO2.
When fitted to the eight-speed automatic gearbox, the Cooper S trims its 0-62mph time to 6.9sec though top speed remains the same. Combined fuel economy grows to 44.8mpg, and CO2 drops to 146g/km.
The other engine option is the Cooper SD. With a 2000 bar turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel, the All4 produces 182bhp and 295lb ft of torque at 4000rpm, enabling it to reach 62mph in a claimed 7.2sec. Top speed is a quoted 138mph.
The diesel, which comes exclusively with the eight-speed automatic, is the more frugal of the two powertrains, offering 58.9mpg combined and producing 126g/km of CO2 on the EU cycle.
Chassis and technology
Like its two-wheel-drive equivalent, the All4 can be specced with Mini’s optional Dynamic Damper Control suspension. This adjusts damping harshness via the car’s different driving modes, broadening the Clubman’s breadth of ability.
All the regular Clubman’s safety features are also carried over, with six airbags and tyre pressure monitoring part of the standard list. A head-up display and Mini’s Driving Assistant can also be fitted – this program swaps the standard cruise control for an active camera-based system, and adds collision and pedestrian warning with an initial brake function.
High beam assist, road sign detection, Parking Assist, a rear-view camera, Mini’s connected infotainment system can also be added. Sat-nav comes as standard.
Price and rivals
The manual Mini Cooper S Clubman All4 enters the market priced from £24,305, with the automatic Cooper S commanding £25,985. The Cooper SD diesel tops the launch line-up with a starting price of £27,410. Production has already started, and the first All4 cars are due in showrooms this April.
Key rivals include the Mercedes A-Class 4Matic and BMW stable mate the 2 Series Active Tourer. In all-wheel-drive guise both of these cars are slightly more expensive than the Mini. They both more closely resemble MPVs too, giving the more fashionable Mini a unique selling point.