John Cooper Works (JCW) is part of the Mini brand that is now owned by BMW. It was founded in 2002 by Michael Cooper who is the son of John Cooper, the racing car maker and tuner responsible for he creation of the original Mini Cooper.
The story truly begins in 1946 when Charles Cooper and his son John founded the Cooper Car Company in Surbiton, England. They built their first racing cars in their garage which then led to ultimately changing the course of motorsport. Their input helped to create a thriving worldwide racing legacy that is still visible today.
After much success with his own constructions, John Cooper fell in love with the newly introduced Mini Classic and saw himself turning it into a champion racer. He helped it to transition from a modest small family car into a "giant-slaying racing car" by adding a more powerful engine, new brakes, and sharper steering which allowed the first Mini Cooper to be born in 1961.
In 2022 the John Cooper Works model is now available on all models across the Mini family although it was first introduced as a hot hatch and the John Cooper association is what sets it apart from other performance models.
The John Cooper Works models don't have a different build, instead they give an entirely new design to beloved Mini models.
The exterior paint is Rebel Green, a rich solid green that is complimented by the Piano Black trim inserts around the exterior. There's also the option to add on the iconic Mini bonnet stripes and we would recommend opting for the John Cooper Works stripes over any of the other colours as they're finished with a distinctive red outline.
The Mini John Cooper Works is designed for the best performance and has an aerodynamic kit which adds race-inspired front and rear bumpers, a split level boot spoiler, and sculpted side skirts. It'll give you the 17 inch John Cooper Works Track Spoke unique alloy wheels in black which are matched with red painted brake calipers which also have the JCW badges on them.
Elsewhere you can expect the radiator grille in a honeycomb structure with a Piano Black border and JCW logo, side scuttle in black with a chilli red border, new twin exit exhaust with chrome tailpipe finishers, and a JCW spoiler.
There are some key differences that the John Cooper Works brings Minis interior across the family.
The standard seats in the Mini Cooper JCW are replaced with sports bucket seats covered with Dinamica and leather in Carbon Black with built in lumbar support. This is paired with the Piano Black interior trim and anthracite headlining for a luxe feel across the cabin. Depending on which model you choose the rear seats will fold in either a 60:40 split or a 40:20:40 for the ultimate adaptability for your lifestyle and needs.
The interior trim can be upgraded to an illuminated interior in either Piano Black or Frozen Blue which uses a series of LED lighting throughout the cabin to create a soft ambience from the moment that you open the doors.
The large central touch screen system uses an adaption of the BMW iDrive system and is incredibly user friendly. The touchscreen itself is housed in Mini's iconic circular design and finished with a surrounding LED light. Below are several analogue buttons to support it and the equally unique toggle switches, including the start/stop function.
The final touches in the interior include a Walknappa steering wheel with John Cooper Works badging, rubberised stainless steel pedals, and JCW sill finishers.
The John Cooper Works engine is a 2.0 litre TwinPower 4 cylinder petrol engine that offers 231HP in the Mini Hatch and Convertible and 306HP in the Clubman and Countryman. For comparison, the Ford Fiesta ST will only give you a maximum of 200PS (197HP) so you know that Mini JCW models are serious about performance.
The best performance for fuel consumption comes from the Mini JCW Hatch with a combined mpg up to 42.8 although across the range of models it could drop to 34.4 on the Countryman. To enhance your driving experience, the Mini John Cooper Works engine works with an eight speed automatic gearbox which Mini refer to as Steptronic Sport.
All Mini JCW cars come with sports suspension as standard which sharpens their steering and acceleration for much sportier and agile handling. This is paired with Mini driving modes to allow you to choose how you make use of the Mini JCW performance.
For driving convenience you can also expect rear parking sensors (Clubman and Countryman models will also have front parking sensors), adaptive cruise control, and Mini fits E Call to every model that connects directly to the BMW Group Call Centre with key data about your car and location in an emergency.
As a performance option on every model in the Mini range it is expected that the John Cooper Works models will have a price increase compared to the standard models.
The Mini John Cooper Works Hatch starts at £32,195 and is available on the three door model only. The Mini Convertible then comes in at £38,145 followed buy the Mini Clubman at £40,395 and finally the Mini Countryman at £42,975.
For comparison, performance based trims on other models have a varying price scale. The Ford Fiesta ST costs £22,275, the Volkswagen Polo GTI starts at £27,805, and the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport starts at £40,005.
Any car that costs over £40,000 brand new is subject to what is often called the "luxury car tax". This is an increase in vehicle excise duty of £355 for the first five years of the car's life and is payable by anyone who owns the car within that time period.
If you're looking for a performance car then the Mini John Cooper Works should definitely be a contender, especially as it offers multiple body styles in varying sizes. Those used to a hot hatch can continue that driving experience when they need more space thanks to the Clubman and Countryman.