Extolling the virtues of the sporty MINI Hatch John Cooper Works is a straightforward enough task, writes Paul Agnew. Photography: Paul Currie
Put simply, this car is terrific – it’s quick and fun and cool and…
Hang on, before I properly burst forth, allow me to carry out the basic duty of any scribe worth his place in front of a keyboard.
Namely, to ensure that you, the attentive reader, is never left unsure about factual content or with any questions unanswered.
Like: ‘What does John Cooper Works actually stand for?’ I feel sure that some of you more learned motoring folk will probably know, but for the others – John Cooper Works (JCW) is an English company founded at the turn of the millennium by Michael Cooper, son of John Cooper CBE, the legendary racing car chappie responsible for both the rear-engine chassis design that changed the face of motor sport at the highest level and the original, and much-loved, Mini Cooper.
And that racing pedigree probably goes a long way to explaining why the car under scrutiny here is such a powerful, funky, snazzy little number.
It borders on competitive, even when there isn’t a race, with a two-litre engine (236 bhp) which sounds a genuine, throaty roar and offers a drive that mixes full-on excitement with quite superb handling.
The standard 0-62mph test shows a 6.1 seconds result to place it at the sharp end of the hot-hatch market. It feels rapid from the get-go and instant sharp acceleration means you will never be left floundering.
Marketing blurb via BMW (the people now in charge of all things MINI) even manages to work in ‘go-kart feeling’ and while, in fairness, that represents a pretty good description, there is far, far more to it than that.
With the MINI Hatch JCW, performance is paramount and superior style an absolute given. Packed with enhanced standard specification including JCW features inspired by the Mini racing heyday – not least sport suspension for superb road-holding – this mean machine really means business.
For your on-the-road price of around £25k, you get JCW track spoke alloy wheels in black, piano black exterior, aerodynamic kit, sport exhaust, performance braking system, red brake callipers with the all-important JCW logo, LED headlights and rear lights, rain sensor and automatic headlight activation.
Inside, there are JCW sport seats upholstered with dinamica/leather in carbon black, JCW sport leather steering wheel with multi-function controls, piano black surface, rubberised stainless steel pedals, anthracite headlining, JCW door sill finishers – MINI driving modes (centre toggle switch to control driving mode settings: Sport, Mid, Eco), cruise control with brake function, performance control, 6.5” screen, Bluetooth hands-free function with USB audio, intelligent emergency calling (E-call), interior lights pack, MINI excitement pack (including MINI logo projection, illuminated door handles and LED mood lighting) and famous, groovy dashboard which now combines traditional looks with all the necessary technological features of the moment.
In other words, it’s a helluva lot of bang for your buck.
The MINI Hatch JCW was re-launched this year to comply with the new regulations regarding emissions and the changes have resulted in better petrol (no diesel models) consumption to give around 40 mpg (combined).
For those for whom car colour choice is important (everyone in other words), there are versions in moody black as well as grey and silver, not forgetting stunning red and brilliant rebel green – a shade which pays homage to the tradition of a car now in its 60th year of production.
As well as a Hatch, the JCW comes in Convertible, Clubman and Countryman variants and its target audience just about covers all who like to get a buzz from their daily commute.
Male or female, young or not-quite-so-young, business user or pleasure cruiser, this eye-catcher has obvious wide appeal.
The good folk at Bowker absolutely love it, their passion positively shines through and it is easy to see why.
John Cooper himself would certainly be proud of how the future has panned out. He had a vision and this particular model will guarantee that MINI continues to stay out front for many more years to come.
Bowker Blackburn MINI
Blackburn BB1 3NU