2016 Mini Cooper S John Cooper Works doesn't care what you thinkThere's a new hot hatch in town wearing the fabled John Cooper Works badge -- but is it as fun to drive as its Mini predecessors? XCAR finds out.
[MUSIC] John Cooper Works. Three little words that when sat on a mini means you are in for some massive fun. They stand for sharper handling, more entertainment and most importantly, more power. The third generation mini launched awhile ago and in 2015 it promises to get better. Since the new Mini's inception at the turn of the century, there's been a John Cooper Works presence in the lineup. They're the kind of cars that live up to their namesake, race car legend, John Cooper. It's the kind of the thing he'd be making if presented with BMW Mini and of course was still alive. The JCW [INAUDIBLE] is quite unique. It is not about wafting gently down the street in our most luxury, nor it's about sitting in nicely sculpted leather chairs inspired by the cheek of the delicate little lamb. It's quite different. It's about going very quickly, having fun, and not being overly concerned with what the rest of the world things. Admittedly, the JCW 2-liter turbo charge engine may develop 228 break horsepower and 236 pound seats, but it'll apparently manage 49.7 MPG and 133 grounds per kilometer With an auto gearbox fitted force 2.2 and one five five with a manual. [NOISE] It's alright. I'm impressed with those numbers, though I sincerely hope no J C W owner get's that fuel economy and if say you find someone that has one of these or manages that I need you to do me and them a favor Either, go run to the house, take the keys away from them. Perhaps throw them in the lake because they're not quite getting this. This thing will do north to 62 in 6.1 seconds with an auto, 6.3 with a stick, and its top speed is north of 150 miles an hour. That's mad. This thing's tiny. There are families that live That aren't as quick as this. It strikes me that hull hatches are getting seriously quick. I know they've always been rapid, but this is nearing the sub-six north of 62 sector. That's really quite fast. Usually some people will then ask whether cars are becoming too fast or Something like that. I'm not going to say that, no. Because I'm amazed that we've gotten to the point in automated engineering where you can have a tiny little city car that can run whiz in and out of narrow streets and narrow lanes. And then if it wants to, go and do a 150 miles an hour runway run. That's awesome. And over the years I've been lucky enough to drive every [UNKNOWN] from a brief but awesome fumble with the Mark run, that thing was really cool. To a sub 24 hour Lisbon to London run. So I know what to expect, and that's four things. Noise, power, speed Speed and uncomfortable seats. I've also driven the Mini GCW GP cars and they're like that, but more. They're super hard core. The GT3s of the Mini lineup if you will. They're for the fans, the hardcore Mini-ists, or those who simply want to have the ultimate evolution of Mini. So I ask you is the new JCW not only better than its predecessors but better then the GP's as well. Well this one has rear seats and I'm actually kinda serious about that one you see the GP's well super hardcore I found the last one a little bit too easy to drive. I know that sounds a bit silly but for something that was so mega Hardcore. I just found it a little bit, yeah, a little bit too flossy for my taste. It was brilliant, but you get my meaning. So is this the most hardcore of all the hardcorest minis, or is it still just a really mini hatchback? Well, this thing is so fast. Fast. It's really quick. And it makes a little bit of a fuss about it. Not that you feel like you're overstretching it but it makes lots of noise and lots of drama. The exhaust fires out some glorious noises. It sounds awesome. I've been shooting around these little roads, the car farting out little pops and bangs and little crackles. It just sounds I know, it sounds right. It sounds bang on, [UNKNOWN] turbo-charged engine. Engine, when you get it working, oh, man. It sings for you, it really does. You do feel the torque, torque is fantastic, it just pulls you. It's a really engaging drive. Sport mode is where this thing shines. Whatever Mini's done to the suspension, I salute you all. You can throw this thing into bends And it's hilarious, it's got so much grip. And it's all exploitable. That's the wonderful thing about it. This is all about exploitable power, exploitable everyday fun. I've driven up and down these roads in, well, Ferraris, McClarens, Bentleys. Name it. And it's all been good fun you've been able to hustle them around but in this you've been able to give it a little bit more you can give it that little extra edge you can put your foot down a little bit harder. Now there are two gear boxes available in this a six speed manual and an auto. The auto is the one I have here, it works really well It works really, really well. When I got it I was wondering whether or not I would be disappointed with it, because I like a manual gauge. Everyone likes a manual gauge, especially in a [UNKNOWN] hot house like this. Real world fun [INAUDIBLE] real world every day engagement. That With that said, the auto is incredible, and you can play with it on the pedal. So if you must have an auto, this is quite good. The manual I tried on the Cooper [UNKNOWN] was pretty slick. It was pretty good. It had also red matching and all that jazz and I really liked it. I'd like to try In this bus we're now in an age where the auto is actually the quicker more efficient better choice. I like the interior, I like the materials they feel great. This generation of Mini was a great step up. It feels a lot more premium. It feels a lot better. It's worth the extra money you throw at in there. [MUSIC] But it feels a bit cluttered. The big dish center console. It doesn't make as much sense without the speed, though, on it. That said, it's beautifully made, and it does look quite good. There's just a bit too much of it. It's got the [UNKNOWN] noise from the first one. It's got the turn of pace from the second. Well, it's a lovely combination of all of them. It's added that little extra layer of. J C W it's usable and mental and quiet and refined it is a touch bumpy and uncomfortable yeah the suspension is a little bit tough for day to day you have to commit to this car I think. There's one more question to answer, is this a car worthy of John Cooper's name? His races were nothing short of brilliant and a car with Cooper on the back was one to watch. It took some time to get the Cooper name and [UNKNOWN] pennants on the original mini but once it was there, it created a legend, didn't it? So is the new JCW an insult to a great legacy or does it bolster it? To me the hat epitomizes The Mod Mini. It's the body style that restarted the brand all those years ago. John Cooper's work with original Mini created an icon. His work with a new car bridged the old guard and the new blood. The The latest car to bear his name sticks to its roots but adds something to its predecessors. It's a true John Cooper Works car. [MUSIC]