Mini Cooper S JCW Review – Funky, Fast & Fantastic!

What is it? 

What happens when enough power is simply not good enough? Well, you take an already sporty MINI Cooper S and stuff another 15 stallions under the hood to achieve a max. power of 210 BHP along with a peak torque of 300 Nm. What’s even better is the fact that the John Cooper Works kit is officially installed by the boffins at BMW, which means your car’s warranty remains unaffected. For roughly Rs 2.6 Lakh, the skilled technicians at MINI will take your standard Cooper S, fiddle with the engine and the exhaust system, and make the already tasty 3-door hatchback all the more desirable. So, basically, what you get is an even hotter, souped up Cooper S that’s fully road legal and can be simply purchased off the shelves at any MINI India dealership. Our MINI Cooper S JCW test drive review here will take you through all the details of this car.

mini cooper s jcw test drive review images front angleAlso See- MINI Cooper D 5-door Test Drive Review

Mini Cooper S JCW Test Drive Review – Video

Is it Fast?

This car isn’t supercar-rivaling fast, no, not by any stretch of imagination, but with a top speed of around 235 KMPH, the Cooper S JCW edition can easily keep up with most lower-order sportscars. Powering this car is a 2.0-litre four-banger that comes from parent company BMW and benefits from the German manufacturer’s twin-power Turbo setup. The engine outputs 210 BHP and 300 Nm. It comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that offers paddle-shifters. The bump in power, as compared to the standard Cooper S, is the result of a re-mapped ECU, new air filter and a new exhaust system.

mini cooper s jcw test drive review images engine

On the go, the JCW is very quick off the block and the torque-spread is seamless, with almost no turbo lag to speak of. The engine is very responsive and offers plenty of aural pleasure through its raspy, crackling exhaust note. Oh, by the way, there’s a remote controller that opens up all the exhaust valves to make the sound note even louder – all of this at a touch of a button from inside the car! Around the town, and even during some leisurely driving on the highways, it’s only apt to use Normal and Eco driving modes. In these modes, there’s enough eagerness from the engine, with a decent level of performance available throughout the rev-range. However, the transmission is rather quick to up-shift, all in a bid to enhance the fuel efficiency. It’s in the Sports mode that the transmission allows you to rev the engine higher in every gear and extract more performance in every cog. The shifts are smooth and quick even when using the paddle-shifters.

mini cooper s jcw test drive review images side profile

Around a Corner?

The latest generation MINI Cooper S JCW rides and handles in a much more matured manner than its earlier iterations. The car exhibits a really pliant ride and near-perfect driving dynamics. Body roll is conspicuous by its absence. Internationally, the Cooper JCW gets updated chassis, uprated springs and even 17- and 18-inch wheel size options. For India, the JCW kit skips on all this and the car continues to ride on 16-inch wheels, with 205-spec 17-inch wheels available as an option. That said, the grip from the 195-section Hankooks is phenomenal and the car sticks to tarmac like glue, even at high speeds. Selecting the Sport mode dials in some weight to the steering, whilst sharpening the throttle response. All this ensures that the Cooper S JCW is nothing short of a hoot to pilot.

mini cooper s jcw test drive review images action

That’s all good. But unfortunately, there’s more to driving than just track outings and apex-hunting. While the stiff suspension enables you to play Lewis Hamilton around the corners, all sorts of irregularities in the tarmac are directly transmitted to the occupants. Ride quality ranges from stiff, over well-paved surfaces, to harsh, over really broken tarmac.

What Else?

Quite obviously, you get a deliciously retro-chic design that pays homage to its forefather. Based on the latest generation MINI Cooper, this car gets a wider wire-mesh grille, updated front bumper with wide air dams, a hood scoop, racing stripes, black-painted alloys and a handful of badges that announce the car’s go-faster credibility. The biggest highlights of the interior are the body-hugging JCW sports seats. And then, there are many ‘feel special’ bits such as the ‘John Cooper Works’ badge on the steering wheel, the cool aircraft-like switches, the leather upholstery, the very sporty engine start-stop knob and the tasteful ambient lighting. This MINI is a visual treat like none other!

The standard Cooper S isn’t really the most feature-laden car in its price bracket. But there’s a long list of optional extras if you’re fine with spending a bit more. Our test car came ‘fully-loaded’ with all these features. The list of features includes the likes of dual-zone climate control, iDrive-like infotainment unit, Heads-up Display, Leather Upholstery, Harmon Kardon audio system and panoramic sunroof among others.

Should I Buy One?

At roughly Rs 34.10 Lakh (ex-showroom), the JCW-kit equipped Mini Cooper S costs around Rs 2.6 lakh more than the standard car. To put things in perspective, the Polo-based VW GTI costs just Rs 20 Lakh and offers slightly more space, higher fuel efficiency and better ride quality whilst boasting similar levels of performance. So, does it make sense to spend a lot more dough on the Cooper S JCW? Yes, because we really can’t think of any other car that offers the same combination of a really high aesthetic value, a performance-oriented motor and truly amazing cornering prowess. The Mini Cooper S JCW is easily the sportiest and the funkiest-looking 3-door hatchback you can buy.

mini cooper s jcw test drive review images front angle

Mini Cooper S JCW Test Drive Review – Specifications

Lenght x Width x Height3982 x 1727x 1425 mm
Wheel Type and Size16-inch Alloys
Engine Type/Displacement2.0-litre TwinPower Turbo Diesel
Power210 BHP
Torque300 Nm
Top Speed (claimed)235 km/h
0-100 km/h (claimed)6.7 seconds
Transmission (Gearbox)6-speed Automatic

So, what do you think of our Mini Cooper S JCW test drive review? Do share your views by penning them down in the comments section.

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