Cars from  the brand Mini are always fun to drive but what if you want to have the maximum amount of fun while driving a Mini Cooper. For that there’s always a John Cooper Works edition of the car. John Cooper was the tuner for the original Mini Cooper and John Cooper works or JCW, the company founded by him produces tuning parts and accessories for new cars from Mini. Mini’s parent company, BMW now owns JCW and that just means action is here to stay in Mini Cooper cars. The new Mini Cooper JCW was launched last week in India and we got a chance to sample it in its natural habitat, the racetrack at the Sriperembadur, Chennai.



Cars from Mini Cooper are always very appealing to look at but there’s a lot that separates the JCW from regular Mini Cooper. The car is wide, long and low and therefore sports a silhouette that spells action. The car gets a hexagonal radiator grille with a honeycomb pattern. The bonnet stripes add a race-inspired look. LED headlamps are standard and are surrounded by LED daytime running lights incorporating the indicators. You have the options of chrome surround or piano black around the lamps and other places. The car also gets a contrasting paint finish for the roof and mirror caps in white, black or exclusively for JCW in chilli red. The front and rear bumpers as well as rear spoiler give an extra aerodynamic edge while power is at disposal with the roar of the incredible chrome plated double exhaust tailpipes. The exclusive John Cooper Works Rebel Green—a modern take on the classic British Racing Green is the colour to watch out for.


The highlights inside are the JCW sport seats  integrated with headrests in carbon black dinamica leather and red accents as standard. Then there’s the sports leather steering wheel which comes with paddle shifters and automatically adjusted steering sensitivity. The stainless steel pedal caps and the door sills with an integrated John Cooper Works badge also add a sporty touch. The car also gets a head-up display with navigation and telephone options directly in the line of sight for the driver. As a standard feature, a Harman Kardon audio system, featuring 12 speakers and an eight-channel digital amplifier, delivers 360 watts of sound. And as an option you can also go for the wired package which offers an 8.8 inch touch screen with touchpad controller, telephony with wireless charging and Apple carplay.  Another option on this 3-door hatch is the panorama glass roof


Now this is a John Cooper Works hatch and that only means performance is paramount on these set of wheels. A 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder twin power turbo engine powers this car that can hit 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds.  This engine churns out 231 hp of peak power and a maximum torque of 320 Nm. That is significantly higher when compared to the regular Mini Cooper and only translates into pure adrenaline. The car is fitted with an 8-speed sports steptronic automatic transmission with shift paddles and that aids in providing a smooth and sporty drive as we experienced on the free flowing Chennai racetrack. The shift by wire technology for automatic transmission comes with an electronic gear selector that helps in more comfortable dynamics.

Ride & Handling

The car comes with different driving modes which alter the settings of different components. In addition to the standard MID mode, there is a choice of Sport and Green modes. On a racetrack it is the Sport Mode that provides maximum joy as it sharpens the steering and acceleration for sportier, more agile handling. Aerodynamic features like front apron with integral air ducts, side sills and the sporty 17-inch alloys all ensure uninterrupted driving dynamics. That go-fart feel you’re looking for never leaves you as the car provides tight control and stability, especially when you’re driving through bends at higher speeds. The 4-piston, fixed-caliper brakes perform well too.


The Mini John Cooper Works will be imported to India and therefore will not come cheap at Rs 43.5 lakh (ex-showroom). And if you’re in the mood you can spend a lot more for optional features. But on the standard list some good safety features like Dynamic Stability Control, Cornering Brake Control and Run-flat tyres are there. Eventually this is a car that provides exclusivity and fun at the same time ensuring the smile stays with you long after you’ve driven it.


Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars

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