2016 MINI John Cooper Works Review

Driven: MINI John Cooper Works Edition 2016 Review

Following a short test drive on a MINI test day, here is what I think of the 2016 MINI John Cooper Works edition.

What is the MINI John Cooper Works all About?

This MINI John Cooper Works edition is the most powerful production model ever made, so it should be the most fun you can have in a MINI. However, it is worth checking out the MINI JCW Challenge for a more hardcore approach as well.

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The John Cooper Works edition can be identified by its rear spoiler, dual centre exit exhaust and JCW badges on the door sills. Looking closer at the front of the car you will notice most of it is covered in grills to help keep the car cool. Other changes include beefed up wheel arches and a nice set of 18 inch alloy wheels.

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The MINI JCW is powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged engine that creates 228 bhp and 320 Nm of torque. All of this power goes through a 6-speed manual gearbox to the front wheels. This means that the car will go from 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds and will do a top speed of 152 mph.

How Does it Drive?

Hop inside the JCW MINI and from the moment you move off you are aware of how energetic the car feels. The suspension feels solid and very well connected to the road, the steering feels instantly responsive and super sensitive to even the smallest inputs and lastly the throttle response via the 228 bhp from the engine is just incredible.

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After some time getting comfortable with the car I started to explore the handling in the corners and, as I’m sure it will be no surprise to you, the car felt like a go-kart and handled like it was on rails. Most of my testing was done on damp roads and I was really shocked with how the grip just seemed to be unfazed by road conditions.

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There are selective drive modes that you get in the MINI John Cooper Works edition: Sports, Mid and Green. I carried out most of my testing in Sports mode, which stiffens the suspension, makes the steering a bit heavier, deepens the exhaust note and rev matches the gears on downshifts. Whilst rev matching you will hear the exhaust pop and bang; this kept me smiling ear-to-ear.

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The driving position in the MINI, in my opinion, plays a big part in the feel of the car. You sit very low, it feels as if you are sitting on the floor. It’s exhilarating and makes you feel more in control of the driving experience.

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What is it Like Inside?

Inside, the MINI John Cooper Works edition doesn’t differ too much from the standard models. The most obvious thing is the super impressive leather and Alcantara seats. They are very stiff and hold you in the middle of the seat even when you throw the car around.

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The dashboard concept of the car, as ever, uses a huge circular screen with lots of aeroplane-style switches based underneath. The entire interior is very interesting; it’s super quirky and a million miles away from the original classic MINI interior, but it now provides a modern and unique motoring experience.

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The Experience

The MINI John Cooper Works edition offers the true MINI go-kart experience. You feel as if you sit so close to the ground, as with a classic MINI, but now you have real power to back it up. With the car in Sports mode the driving characteristics are so dramatic. The car makes lots of noise and is truly rewarding to the driver as you feel a real connection to the road underneath you.

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There is no doubt that this BMW MINI John Cooper Works edition is the best thrill you can get from a MINI. It’s hard to see how it can be improved. The level of kit in the car is exceptionally high and the car looks super sporty with all the JCW add-ons. This car feels like a very solid package that will be truly adored by hot hatch enthusiasts.

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Video Highlights


MINI John Cooper Works 2016

  • Price: £30,600
  • Engine: 2.0-Litre Turbocharged
  • Power: 228bhp
  • Torque: 320Nm
  • Transmission: 6 Speed Manual
  • 0-62mph: 6.3 Seconds
  • Top speed: 152mph
  • Weight: 1,205kg
  • Economy combined: 49mpg
  • CO2: 133 g/km


Author: Paul Hadley