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MINI John Cooper Works (2015–)

Last updated 10 January 2018

Enjoyable handling. Great exhaust note. Impressive performance. Well made. Packed with character.
Expensive especially with optional extras. Impractical back seats.
Updated 20 December 2017
New gearbox introduced

7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission replaced 6-speed automatic option for all normal sized MINIs: MINI 3-Door Hatch, MINI 5-Door Hatch and the MINI Convertible. The DCT is operated by a newly designed electronic...

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The latest MINI John Cooper Works is officially the most powerful MINI ever – a fact that might be enough to win it admirers all on its own. But even with its 231PS power output aside, the JCW is still one of the most entertaining, characterful and well-made hot hatches on sale, let down only by its high price and less than impressive practicality.

The JCW is differentiated from the lesser Cooper S by its bolder, more aggressive styling. There are unique alloy wheels, large red brake calipers, plus a big roof spoiler and a JCW-specific front bumper. At the rear there’s a new twin-exit exhaust tuned to deliver a characterful exhaust note, complete with a crackling, popping overrun.

Performance is impressive. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes just 6.3 seconds and top speed is 153mph, but it’s not all about straight line pace – the Cooper JCW has great handling and feels perfectly at home on a twisting B-road. The steering is nicely weighted and, while definitely on the firm side, the suspension treads the line between ride quality and a fun drive very well.

Fun though it may be, the MINI Cooper JCW isn’t without its flaws. The cabin, while very well-finished and attractive, is somewhat cramped. This is particularly true in the back, which is too tight to be comfortable for adults or teenagers. The boot is on the small side too, though it is still enough for shopping trips.

But the biggest problem of all is the price. £23,050 is steep - and that’s before anything has been picked out of a huge options list. However there is so much fun to be had, delivered in such a charming way, that the MINI Cooper JCW is still very easy to recommend if your budget stretches far enough. 

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