MINI has been in the hearts and minds of the masses for decades now. Somehow, even BMW managed to keep the momentum going when they took over. They've managed to create a new quirkiness to maintain the number of MINI fans. The MINI John Cooper Works is for fans of the brand who like a bit more oomph with their driving.
The MINI John Cooper Works is the most powerful MINI ever produced. For just over €36,000 the JCW carries a 2.0 litre TwinPower Turbo engine that produces a whopping 320Nm of torque and 231 hp. Putting the foot down from the off should bring you from 0-100km/h in a very fast 6.1 seconds and surprisingly this is from their six-speed Steptronic gearbox. In general, we would say to opt for a car like this with a manual box, but the automatic is very sweet. The manual offering is a 6-speed and it'll bring you from 0-100km/h in 6.3 seconds. The automatic offering includes launch control, which helps to deliver the speed quicker than the manual.
MINI claims that this offering is much improved on the last. We've only managed to drive this on the open road and the grip on offer is more than satisfying. Steering is very responsive too and MINI uses bespoke axle kinematics to achieve this. This eliminates torque steer. Between torque steer compensation and improved dynamic stability control, taking bends is extremely simple.
The interior shows the German precision that you would expect from anything made by BMW and the MINI has that precision with a touch of fun. The cabin is clean and crisp and the main noises you hear are the sweet sounds that the engine makes.
Plastics within the vehicle are far from cheap in appearance and feel end it's clear that a lot of effort went into the cabin's feel. The infotainment system is intuitive too.
The MINI Cooper scored 4 stars in the Euro NCAP in 2014 and much of the systems in use are the same in the John Cooper Works - especially the added drive systems. It scored 79% for adult occupancy and 73% for child occupancy.
Anyone who buys a MINI is not necessarily looking for space for a buggy, seven suitcases, and a week's shopping. That is not what this car is about. Of course it's not as practical as let's say an estate or an MPV, but as supermini's go this has a good sized boot and four adults could fit inside without too much effort - however, it's a much better cruiser for two.