Mini Mini Hatch Review: 2016 Model | Mini Hatch | Car Buyers Guide

Mini John Cooper Works - JCW Review

There are tonnes of MINI fans out there, and while it took me a while to get on board, I am delighted to admit that I am one. Until recently though, had anyone asked me if I'd ever consider owning one, it would've been a "no" from me. I've always considered them to be too impractical (with the exception of maybe the MINI Countryman) - even before I had kids. Now, I've got two kids and despite its obvious impracticalities, I've just found a MINI that I could live with - but this car would be for me. Not the kids! Recently I test drove the MINI John Cooper Works.

For those of you who may not know what a MINI John Cooper Works is, well..., have a seat. The new MINI John Cooper Works is the most powerful production MINI ever. Sorry, I just need to go over that last part again... here we go... EVER.

So what does the most powerful production MINI "EVER" benefit from? Well, for €36,180, the new John Cooper Works gives a 2.0 litre TwinPower Turbo engine which gives 320Nm of torque and a very attractive 231hp. That's nice isn't it? Our model had a six-speed Steptronic sports automatic gearbox which dashes you from 0-100km/h in just 6.1 seconds. When it comes to rockets, I'd generally prefer a manual gearbox, but the auto box in this is more than satisfying. There is a 6-speed manual box that comes as standard and this delivers that 0-100km/h timing in 6.3 seconds. The auto box includes launch control, which is what allows it to pip the manual at the post.

I've only driven the previous model once, and that was at a track day some years back. I can't recall whether or not this new car feels better on the road, but MINI claims that everything is improved. I only managed to drive it on the open road, which limits your chances to fully test it, but what I can say is that it delivers near-perfect grip. Cornering is a breeze and the steering is extremely responsive on account of the bespoke axle kinematics - this helps eliminate torque steer. Taking bends at higher speeds is improved by Dynamic Stability Control and Torque Steer Compensation. The DSC mixes Dynamic Traction Control with Electronic Differential Lock Control and Performance Control.

Inside is made of high-quality BMW stuff and the front cabin is spacious and crisp. While the MINI Connected infotainment system is fine, my favourite thing about the interior is the sound that seeps in from the engine roaring.

Now it's time for some statistics. On paper we are told that our test model will return a fuel economy of 5.7 l/100km or just under 50mpg. Sorry folks, not a chance. This will probably never be driven that economically. I'm nearly sure that if we were to try really hard we might have hit in and around the 8 l/100km mark. Truth be known though; I don't think that anyone who buys one of these will have fuel economy as their top priority. CO2 emissions for our model is 133 g/km, which means an annual road tax of €280 at today's rate.

While entry level pricing for this vehicle may be set at €35,770, our car came with a lot of bells and whistles including; the rebel green colour (€1,089.72), the Media Pack XL (2,132.32) and the CHILI Pack (€3762.01). The CHILI Pack included 18" two tone JCW Cup Spoke alloys, and much more. Our car with other options thrown in came to €47,563.36. Which means that while the opening price for one of these seems reasonable, you will pay a lot for optional extras. However, this is a car that should hold its value well.

Overall, I really like this car. It's not practical, but it's certainly one that I'd consider for the peace of the open road.

For: Great fun to drive.

Against: Very expensive optional extras.

Compare specs to an alternative car!
€ 36,370 when New

Key Facts

New Price
€ 36,370


Mini Hatch
MINI John Cooper Works
First Launched
Engine & Transmission
6 Speed
Fuel type
Body Type

Running Costs

Tax Band
Average L/100km
Fuel Tank Capacity (L)
Fuel Tank Range (km)
CO2 emmissions (g/km)
Emission Standard EU


Driven Wheels
Engine (L)
Break Horsepower
Top Speed
Acceleration (0-100 km/h)
Fuel Tank Capacity (L)
Engine Position
Front, transversely
Number of Valves

Space & Practicality

Boot capacity (L)
Kerb weight
Tyre Size Front
Tyre Size Back
205/45 R17 84W RSC
Wheel Base


Euro NCAP Star Rating

Mini Mini Hatch (2014)


Amazing fun on the open road


Optional extras with this car can prove very expensive.

Our Rating 4/5
  • Performance
  • Ride & Handling
  • Refinement
  • Quality & Reliability
  • Safety & Security
  • Space & Practicality
  • Verdict

MINI has been in the hearts and minds of the masses for decades now. Somehow, even BMW managed to keep the momentum going when they took over. They've managed to create a new quirkiness to maintain the number of MINI fans. The MINI John Cooper Works is for fans of the brand who like a bit more oomph with their driving.


The MINI John Cooper Works is the most powerful MINI ever produced. For just over €36,000 the JCW carries a 2.0 litre TwinPower Turbo engine that produces a whopping 320Nm of torque and 231 hp. Putting the foot down from the off should bring you from 0-100km/h in a very fast 6.1 seconds and surprisingly this is from their six-speed Steptronic gearbox. In general, we would say to opt for a car like this with a manual box, but the automatic is very sweet. The manual offering is a 6-speed and it'll bring you from 0-100km/h in 6.3 seconds. The automatic offering includes launch control, which helps to deliver the speed quicker than the manual.

Ride & Handling

MINI claims that this offering is much improved on the last. We've only managed to drive this on the open road and the grip on offer is more than satisfying. Steering is very responsive too and MINI uses bespoke axle kinematics to achieve this. This eliminates torque steer. Between torque steer compensation and improved dynamic stability control, taking bends is extremely simple.


The interior shows the German precision that you would expect from anything made by BMW and the MINI has that precision with a touch of fun. The cabin is clean and crisp and the main noises you hear are the sweet sounds that the engine makes.

Quality & Reliability

Plastics within the vehicle are far from cheap in appearance and feel end it's clear that a lot of effort went into the cabin's feel. The infotainment system is intuitive too.

Safety & Security

The MINI Cooper scored 4 stars in the Euro NCAP in 2014 and much of the systems in use are the same in the John Cooper Works - especially the added drive systems. It scored 79% for adult occupancy and 73% for child occupancy.

Space & Practicality

Anyone who buys a MINI is not necessarily looking for space for a buggy, seven suitcases, and a week's shopping. That is not what this car is about. Of course it's not as practical as let's say an estate or an MPV, but as supermini's go this has a good sized boot and four adults could fit inside without too much effort - however, it's a much better cruiser for two.


17 Nov 2016 11:49

Normally wouldn't even think of buying a Mini but this might just change my mind!!


Luneytuney2 17 Nov 2016 11:59

I've driven one of these. The autobox is very good.... but those extras seem blood expensive.


Tim Mulholland 30 Nov 2016 10:05

You tell us about fuel economy. Who cares?


LloydP 01 Dec 2016 15:30

You can't get the car without all the extras!!


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