Originally published August 12, 2015
New Haven, CT – Looking at the all-new 2016 John Cooper Works, Mini has engineered out the unruly, making this third-generation hyper-hatch a relatively well rounded performance car. That’s a significant accomplishment, and a welcome one if the previous JCW (last sold as a 2013 model) with its nervous steering, ADD handling and poster-boy torque steer wasn’t to your liking.
Granted, you could never accuse that car of being dull or uninvolving, and while this all-new JCW might lack some of its predecessor’s obstreperous spunk, it’s a helluva lot easier to live with. And faster by every measure.
Cheaper, too. With a suggested MSRP of $33,240, it’s $3,660 less than the old 1.6L JCW. So it appears the 18-month wait for this latest edition of the uber-Mini that carries the name of famed Mini hot-rodder John Cooper has been worth it.
The 2016 Mini John Cooper Works is the most powerful production Mini to date. They’ve taken the 189 hp and 207 lb-ft 2.0L turbo from the Cooper S and juiced it up to 228 hp and 236 lb-ft by installing a revised turbo that huffs more air into the cylinders. New pistons that slightly reduce the compression ratio keep things from going boom, and a big bore exhaust extracts the waste with a pleasingly gnarly sound.
The Mini dudes (and they are all dudes because this is uber-chic Mini land) say the 2016 JCW was engineered from the brakes out. The focus was to make this car a true track-day special – the old model’s brakes just weren’t up to the task. Enter Italian brake guru Brembo. They fashioned a whopping set with fashionably red calipers that modulate well and showed no signs of fade on our admittedly brief track session. These larger binders pushed the wheels out, increasing the track and thereby necessitating extra flares on the fender arches.
Cooling was also a priority (for both brakes and engine) so the plethora of front intakes are all business. The three in the lower valance direct air to the Brembos, while the larger driver side intake is for the auxiliary radiator. Its twin on the other side is a dummy, blocked off to reduce drag.
More on Autos.ca: First Drive: 2012 Mini John Cooper Works Coupé and Family
The prominent rear spoiler is not there just for looks – it reduces rear lift by up to thirty percent. While 17-inch alloys are standard issue, the testers here were fitted with optional $800 JCW Cup Spoke Two-Tone 18-inch alloys with 205/40R18 summer tires (a $50 upgrade).
Yes, the 2016 Mini JCW looks the business, all scooped, be-spoiled and resplendent in its own hues, which includes a new Rebel Green that will set you back $1,000.