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Mini extends winter-ready all-wheel-drive to Clubman model, just in time for spring

In a first for its Cooper Clubman model, Mini makes its All4 all-wheel-drive system available on both standard and S models, in time for April snow melts

Mini will make its All4 all-wheel-drive system available on the new Cooper Clubman model, adding a bit of winter weather security.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

As CNET editor Antuan Goodwin found out in December, the new generation of the Mini Cooper Clubman is long, like the stretch limousine of the Mini lineup. Now, Mini announces a new wrinkle to the longest Cooper: the availability of its All4 all-wheel-drive system.

Previously, Mini introduced and only offered All4 on its Countryman model, a larger, plumper version of the Mini Cooper hardtop. The addition of All4 to the Clubman gives that model greater appeal in northern states, where buyers may appreciate the added grip and safety of all-wheel-drive.

In a press release, Mini noted that this new version of its All4 system biases all torque to the front wheels by default, as in the standard Clubman models. Using vehicle sensors monitoring acceleration, wheel slip and other parameters, the system dynamically sends torque to the rear wheels as needed through what Mini terms a "hang-on clutch" at the rear axle, compensating for slippery road conditions where the front wheels might lose traction.

The All4 system is available on the Cooper Clubman, with its 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, and the Cooper Clubman S, which comes with a 2-liter turbocharged engine. Buyers can also opt for a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission with the new Clubman All4.

Mini notes that the Cooper Clubman S All4 hits 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds with the automatic transmission, 0.3 second quicker than the front-wheel-drive Cooper Clubman S.

The All4 all-wheel-drive option will become available on new Mini Cooper Clubman models in April, so it may be many months before you can test it in the snow.