Relatively speaking, it may be marginally slower than its rival brother, the Cooper JCW, but it’s still no slouch. Over a snow covered stretch of road I was able to keep pace with a MINI engineer doing a demo run in the Countryman JCW. He wasn’t quite flat out, but then the AWD goes a very long way in the snow. With some effort I could keep up, and this is a huge testimony to the JCW Coupe’s competent pace and neutral handling.
To the specifics, MINI’s JCW tuned 1.6 liter outputs 208 hp at 6,000 rpm and 192 lb-ft of torque (207 on over-boost) from 1,850 to 5,600 rpm. These figures are identical to the Cooper JCW. It tips the scales at a still sprightly 1,240 kg (2,733 lbs). Here’s an interesting fact: should you push the JCW Coupe to its terminal velocity, you will pass the Cooper JCW at about 1 mph thanks to the more steeply raked windshield and aggressive aerodynamics.
Starting with a base price of $31,900 USD ($38,000 CAD for gouged Canucks – why the $6,000 difference with a dollar at par?), the JCW Coupe is not a bargain by any stretch. This price puts it in the company of some very fast cars – but we’ve been over this: the JCW Coupe is not just about outright speed. This car is about the way it makes you feel, and how giddy you are when you wake up in the morning to drive it.
To summarize: the MINI JCW Coupe is a car for those who love to drive. It may not be as pure to the JCW mandate as its Cooper JCW stablemate, but you simply won’t care while you’re drifing through a corner, 1.6 liter blazing. This is a driver’s car, through and through. If you value its rakish looks and fun focused demeanor over a tenth here or there through an autocross then this MINI is the one for you. Leave the straight-laced, plain hat Cooper JCW where it rests, it’s time to play.