2016 MINI John Cooper Works Tested: The Paradox of MINI

The current MINI range had a lot of people disappointed when unveiled. That’s mostly because the modern car that follows in the footsteps so courageously laid out by Alec Issigonis is just too big. That’s the main complaint people have about it, but we’re here to tell you it’s all rubbish.
2015 MINI Hardtop John Cooper Works 1 photo
Photo: Florin profir
Yes, the new models are bigger but then again, if you take a closer look you’ll notice that we’re not living in the 1960s anymore. Yes, today we want all the best safety features available to keep our loved ones in perfect health and we also want AC, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system and a huge navigation screen without which we’d be lost time and time again.

Well, unfortunately, that’s like wanting to have your cake and eating it too. It’s just not possible and the sooner people realize that the sooner we’ll get over all of these useless discussions. I wonder how many people drove one of the original Minis and can honestly say that they’d be able to live with one today.

However, we can bash the brand owned by BMW for other things. For example, we can claim that they are just using various parts of its history to attract people to their products. We’re referring to the John Cooper name. The man was a legend and not because he was some sort of genius but because he knew exactly what a Mini needed to become an icon. A little more power, some small changes to the chassis and you’d get a car that would trample over bigger, heavier and more powerful alternatives in no time.

In 2015, the recipe was kept intact but taken to new heights. The engineers had the task of creating a MINI that feel mad as a rabid dog when pushed to the limit in Sport mode and yet would allow you to live with it on a daily basis.

The John Cooper Works model we tested fit that description perfectly. It’s a car that has it all: the MINI dimensions and posh interior, a powerful engine, makes incredible sounds even when standing still and can still be used on a daily basis. What more could you wish?

Well, it depends on where you stand. If you’re looking for a track-ready car, you might want to look elsewhere. The JCW is a capable car, and you could track it, but you couldn’t get the most out of it.

Its electronic diff up front does a great job maneuvering the brakes to simulate a traditional, mechanical torque-vectoring master and understeer as well as torque steer are reduced to a minimum.

The rear end will follow you like a guilty dog wherever you go while the brakes shine bright, showing little fade even after being put through their paces. The best bit, though? The duality of the whole thing.

If you want it to, the MINI JCW can be as tame as a slow loris, entering a sedated state when in Green mode that can see you return up to 40 mpg (5.9 l/100 km) when threading lightly and that’s no joke. Yes, we were impressed by the fuel consumption of this would be beast and we’re not afraid to tell you all about it.

If you want to be track ready, though, you might wish to wait for the MINI JCW GP model to come out that’s where practicality will become a distant memory. Until then, you can decide whether it is worth your money by reading our full 2016 MINI JCW review. That’s also where you’ll learn why we think this is the perfect paradox in the current line-up.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram X (Twitter)

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories