This is one of the most thrilling cars on the market. While I proclaim my love for the Mini Cooper John Cooper Works edition, there are others that are pouting over the costs. They wonder if the mighty little rally racer cut for the streets is worth the price of around $33K.There's something special going on, considering the fact that there are clubs, events, and a coat community around the mini brand. So now that I've test driven it I get it. Let's see if you can get it too.
MADE FOR A DIFFERENT KIND OF DRIVER
There are plenty of times when you buy on emotion, quality of life, and a joyous connection. People who drive the Mini Cooper, especially the John Cooper works edition clearly understand the value of making the most of the driving experience. Customers of the Mini Cooper brand look at life differently, they see it as an adventure that this car can deliver in spades.
I want to share a bit more to help break down why it matters to owners that "get it." This car is deep and has plenty of character that attract it to a certain kind of driver. A driver in all senses of the term.
There are plenty of legends in the world of racing, but not many of them can be credited with developing and automotive brand. John Cooper did it.
Let's first look at the history and legacy of this awesome little beast. British racing driver John Cooper modified the original MINI, creating the first MINI Cooper. In 1959, the Classic Mini was probably not taken very seriously as a track contender.
But F1 builder John Cooper looked past the tiny package to its incredible balance, wide stance, and quicksilver handling. The result: MINI dominated 1960s racing, winning Monte Carlo four years in a row. John Cooper Works, or JCW for short, is the exclusive in-house tuning, development, and international automotive racing division for MINI.
Although founded in 2002, John Cooper Works has been associated with MINI since 1961. Daytona. Dakar. Monte Carlo. Rally or track, dirt or asphalt, MINI’s race teams are conquering the competition. For over 50 years, John Cooper’s name has stood for racing performance and victory.
And now I get my hands on it to share the experience with you. Experience being the key word here.
MINI THE MOVIE STAR
The Mini has earned a permanent place in popular culture that, as proven by its starring role in the multi-million-dollar blockbusters that are cultural icons to this day.
THE ITALIAN JOB
Now considered a classic, this 1969 film sees a team of British thieves steal a shipment of gold bullion and transfer tonnes of the precious metal into three Minis. Cue an epic chase scene through the streets, sidewalks, staircases and sewers, with a team of Mafia killers close behind. (Just overlook the fact that the Minis wouldn't be able to move, let alone move fast, loaded with more than their weight in gold.) Nearly 50 years later, the imaginative stunts on display here haven't aged a day.
THE ITALIAN JOB (remake)
In 2003, when Hollywood decided to update the original movie, the producers wisely realized that the Mini Coopers had been cast members in their own right, just as important as the human actors. It's important to note that this isn't really a remake, as the plot bears very little similarity to the original, with most of the action actually set in Los Angeles. (Only the opening sequence takes place in Italy.) Once again, the climax features a Mini Cooper chase scene, this time in the subway tunnels of L.A. To shoot in those places, where gasoline-powered motors are forbidden, the Coopers had to be specially outfitted with electric motors. Now that's a collector's item.
THE BOURNE IDENTITY
This time, amnesiac superspy Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) leaps into a Mini Cooper and outruns the Parisian police motorcycle force by, among other incredible stunts, zipping down a long staircase and racing headlong into oncoming traffic, all while his unfortunate passenger does her best not to vomit and/or faint. Supposedly, if you're familiar with the layout of Paris's streets, the chase will make no sense because it was shot in segments that skipped around the town, but who cares? The real pleasure is watching a full-speed chase through tight spots and sharp turns which only a Mini could handle.
The Mini Cooper was a vibrant and funky little scene stealer in Austin Powers. In his first movie, British superspy Austin Powers had a photo shoot with the car. He was upstaged when his Dad appeared in the film.
His Dad was cooler, more stylish and urbane. He even stole the scene when he drove a Union- Jack painted flag-detailed Mini Cooper, sporting the license plate "GR8SHAG."
Austin powers - can't get enough of that Mini cooper? Yeah Baby!
Get in and the first thing I look for is the leg space and head space. Wow, it's got lots of both. I hit the streets and found a place to check the turning ratio, handling, and cornering. It passed with flying colors. Very impressive, but having tested this little beast before, there’s no surprise there. You see, the Mini has a distinctive advantage over most cars. It’s flat out fun to drive, especially a six-speed stick shift linked to the twin/turbo engine. MINI shows its stuff on the highways where it just glides along perfectly in fifth or sixth gear. The stiff suspension holds the road perfectly and the engine and gear shift works wonderfully well.
A 2.0 liter inline-four turbocharged engine pumps out 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque while achieving 0-60 in 5.7 seconds. This is the- 6-speed manual that kicks it to another level in second gear.
Accelerate in that gear and you definitely feel the power that it was meant to deliver. Of all the drive modes, green is extremely good at reducing the response of the throttle. Breaking is tight as a result of the 4 piston Brembo brakes. Some say it's the gold standard in the industry.
So like most roadsters, you’ll find that there are other less expensive, roomier options out there but when you drive this, you have to smile - which is emotional and visceral, it's hard to resist.
You don’t need the 7k package that includes adaptive dampers. I Prefer a manual gearbox.
There are a few trim levels to choose from:
Jc works 33.7k
$42,000 as tested
I will be remiss if I didn't mention the growl and the emotional and visceral effect that it has on any true driver. It's convincing enough when you sit in the cockpit and look around feeling like you're in a fighter jet. But then when you hit the ignition and that growl is released behind you, you know something good is about to happen. The Mini Cooper does not disappoint. And the John Cooper works addition gives it that little extra styling and performance. It dares you to take it around corners, challenges you to move with confidence. It's low and wide and you'd be well suited to take it to the track on the weekend. It's definitely that kind of car.
Hey look I think this is a premium roadster, and its and due to the out of the box design, the heritage and the drive quality - that being so much fun from the incredibly fun and thrills you get, you have what almost every roaster has - an emotionally appealing ca that touches the heart on numerous levels.