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Mini John Cooper Works review: lots of power – still missing something

Dan Prosser
1 Feb 2018
Verdict:

The JCW is bigger and more sophisticated than ever, but some of the playfulness we expect from a hot hatch Mini has disappeared

Evo Rating: 
Price: 
£23,790
For 
Performance, limited run JCW Challenge is blistering
Against 
Ford Fiesta ST is still more fun
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Performance and 0-62mph time

The entire John Cooper Works range is now powered by a 2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine that produces 228bhp. And that makes them the most powerful production Minis ever. The four-wheel drive Countryman and Clubman do produce 22lb ft more torque, but the smaller hatch is lighter and, as a result, feels sprightlier.

The JCW hatch goes from 0-62mph in a time of 6.1sec for automatic cars and 6.3sec for the manual. That puts the JCW ahead of the most of its competition; the manual JCW hatch is 0.1sec faster than the Ford Fiesta ST Mountune. It also has an impressive top speed of 153mph.

The Convertible is 100kg more than the hatchback and, as such, its performance figures aren’t quite as impressive. The manual reaches 62mph from a standstill in 6.6sec with a maximum speed of 150mph. The automatic soft-top is 0.1sec quicker to 62mph, but it has a 1mph slower top speed.

The latest JCW feels a significant step up in performance terms over the last generation. The 23 per cent rise in torque is most noticeable, although the electronic limited slip diff can’t always distribute power across the axle effectively with the increased grunt. For the most part though, the new JCW never feels anything other than rapid.

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