Mini Coopers have their origins in the 1960s and the pocket rocket has been with us ever since. MINI’s JCW performance-arm was tasked with creating the most focused and powerful versions of the famous city runabout. And now there is an all-new model with some fire in its belly. The 2015 John Cooper Works, the most powerful production model in its history, Mini started somewhat paradoxically, with the brakes. And indeed, the brakes are utterly fabulous. Red-painted Brembo front calipers are so large that the wheel offsets needed to be increased.
- Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo
- Transmission: six-speed auto, front wheel drive
- Power: 228bhp
- 0-62mph/top speed: 6.1s/153mph
- Economy/CO2: 49.6mpg/133g/km
Designing & Performance
The JCW’s available six-speed automatic features Sport shift mapping and allows manual takeover with the steering-wheel paddles. As with most BMW Group automatics, it yields slightly quicker acceleration than its manual counterpart, shaving two tenths from the zero-to-60-mph acceleration time 5.9 seconds versus 6.1, per the factory. The new modular underpinnings of the latest MINI Cooper S showed promise of being able to handle and distribute more power effectively, the JCW proves that is possible.
There is a little wiggle from the steering wheel under hard acceleration but torque steer is well contained, with the rorty crescendo of the new sports exhaust encouraging you to press on, especially with the crackles from the pipes on the infest. The lower and deeper front bumper helps feed additional air to the inter-cooler, while the smaller, squarer vents, which are were you would usually find the front fog lamps, help cool larger four-piston Brembo brakes.
Regrettably, the two-tone bodywork does not provide you with a performance boost but it certainly helps broadcast the promise of hair-raising functioning. A firm but well-mannered ride and unwavering on-center stability let us reach for high speeds on the long straights while the aforementioned brakes effortlessly scrubbed off speed as we set up for tight corners. The twitchiness of the prior JCWs has been all but decimated, replaced by predictability and poise.
If you want all the goodies, you’re gonna better really love this Mini.