This article also appears in
Subscribe now »

The new Mini Clubman (ALL4 version shown) is 12.4 in longer and 4.6 in wider than its predecessor and can seat five passengers. It is Mini's first product in the compact segment. 

2016 Mini Clubman's torque-vectoring AWD system designed to give 2wd efficiency

In the 1960s, the front-wheel drive Mini Cooper S famously won the Monte Carlo Rally, propelled by a 52 kW (70 hp) engine and clawing through snow and ice on tires that looked small enough for a wheelbarrow.

The latest Mini offering, the 2016 Cooper S Clubman ALL4 (with all-wheel drive) makes its world debut at the 2016 New York Auto Show. It has been developed to tackle such conditions in a great deal more comfort and security than the classic rally car—and with up to 141 kW (189 hp) from its turbocharged 2.0-L 4-cylinder engine, potentially do it more quickly.

The all-new Clubman is 12.4-in (315-mm) longer and 4.6-in (117-mm) wider than the previous Clubman, making it (at 168.3-in/4274-mm long) Mini's largest product and its first in the compact segment. It shares BMW's UKL2 platform with the 2-Series wagon.

The ALL4 system's design criteria included compact packaging and light weight to keep fuel consumption and emissions similar to those of the 2wd Clubman. The Cooper S ALL4 drives through a choice of 6-speed manual or 8-speed Aisin automatic transmission. (For comparison, the non-S Cooper powertrain uses BMW's 1.5-L turbocharged 3-cylinder rated at 134 hp (100 kW) and offers an optional 6-speed automatic.)

The AWD system, its constituent components sourced from a number of suppliers—BorgWarner provides its GenV AWD coupling, for example—utilizes a hang-on clutch to manage distribution of required torque to front or rear axles as necessary. But the bias under standard operating conditions is always to the front axle differential.

An integrated single-stage power take-off bevel gear diverts the power and relays it to a propeller shaft leading to the rear axle.

The hang-on clutch can relay torque to the rear wheels “within a fraction of a second” (as Mini puts it) via an electro-hydraulic pump. The ALL4 system is connected to the Driving Dynamics System (DSC) which continuously calculates the ideal power distribution between the front and rear wheels.

Wheel rotation speeds, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, road speed, accelerator position, engine torque and steering angle, plus the DSC settings and the optional Mini Driving Mode, are all correlated to provide optimum toque bias.

A standard Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC) is claimed to improve traction when accelerating out of bends, using selective braking. In DSC Off mode, this prevents spinning of the front wheel on the inside of the bend and transmits drive power to the outer front wheel.

The car’s Performance Control (PC), described as making the vehicle agile even before the limit range is reached, has a positive effect on the self-steering response of the front-wheel drive by suppressing initial understeer. This is achieved via a combination of DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) and EDLC (Electrically Controlled Differential Lock Control) and uses the brakes to simulate the effect of a limited-slip differential function.

PC is another standard feature on the gasoline and diesel SD (for Europe) Clubman ALL4, and works regardless of the DSC mode selected.

Claimed performance figures for the 2.0-L gasoline car include a best 0-100 km/h (62 mph) time of 6.9 s and Vmax of 229 km/h (142 mph). Power-to-weight ratio is 10.3 kg/kW. Best NEDC combined fuel consumption is for the auto: 6.3 L/100 km.

The SD’s engine produces a claimed 400 N·m (295 lb·ft) from 1750 to 2500 rpm. Combined fuel consumption with the automatic is a claimed 4.8 L/100 km.

And the Clubman's tires are 224/45 R17 94W XL—likely a size which no wheelbarrow will have.

Continue reading »