It seems to be hot hatch month for this issue but if they send em, l will drive em. This 228 bhp JCW model is the fasted Mini ever produced. It reminds me a tad of an old Wood & Picket 1275cc Mini l had back in the day. It was fast, furious and an absolute hoot to dart around London. The quick Minis have always been fun as with good power attached to such a tiny frame, fun was always going to be the order of the day. 30 years later, we have the Works and it certainly, well, works!
It’s a great engine with a rich baritone sound emanating from the central fat twin pipes and you need that noise as with the tiny rev counter, the exhaust note tells you when to change up. This little rocket will hit 62mph in around 6 seconds and will roar onto 153 mph. The crackle from the exhaust is a little like a box of Rice Krispies being shot at with a Purdy 12-gauge.
The new 330mm Brembo brakes do their job well with special intake vents in the cars face flooding them with air and they are impressively progressive and although the ride is a little firm, there are optional adaptive dampers that you would be well advised to select especially is you plump for the larger 18 inch rims.
A new electronic front diff sends the power to where it is needed and assists in avoiding the toque steer that causes the horrid front wheel scrabble as you try to get off the line, and with 228 horses to contend with, it’s just as well.
You do have to play around with the drive settings to get away from the hard ride at the same time as avoiding the skittish behaviour and this is best achieved by popping the dampers into their soft mode and the engine into Sport. You are then rewarded with a decent ride and a peppy engine that seems to be just right.
The starting price is fair but there are many options that you should really have and that can push the price north of £30,000 and then we are stepping into Focus RS and Audi S1 territory. Although there are many reasons to chose the other models mentioned the Mini gets by on the one thing that cannot be created if it’s not already there - and that is character.
The Mini has a hyperactive personality all its own and is quite unique and if that’s your thing, this is the hot hatch for you.
Model tested: John Cooper Works Mini
Engine: 1998 cc, 4 cylinder, turbo-charged
Power: 228 bhp
Performance: 0-62 mph 6.1 seconds
Top Speed: 153 mph
Economy: 49.6 combined
Price from: £23,155.00