Packed with kit and full of character - but ludicrously expensive

Our Verdict

Mini John Cooper Works
Mini's John Cooper Works auto is less highly strung than before but quicker than ever

Faster and more rounded than any ‘Works’ Mini before it. Still a committed prospect – to buy and to use – but rewarding to drive

30 November 2009

What is it?

This special-edition Mini JCW has been launched to mark the 50th anniversary of John Cooper’s first Formula One title as a constructor, with a car driven by Jack Brabham.

Just 250 examples are being built in total, all painted in a retro Connaught Green with a white roof and bonnet stripes, black wheels and a numbered plaque on the flanks.

They are also lavishly equipped with the most popular items from the Mini options list (including sat-nav, keyless entry/start, heated leather seats, climate control, Harmon Kardon hi-fi) plus a full complement of carbonfibre trim inside and out from the JCW accessories catalogue.

Other than the paintjob and plaque, virtually none of this is bespoke, and the standard JCW’s mechanicals are untouched, but it’s enough to add more than £10k to the asking price.

What’s it like?

The combination of the green/white Cooper colour scheme and the black 17-inch wheels makes the Mini look particularly tough, an attitude boosted by black internals for the xenon headlamps and black-backed driving lamps.

The interior, by contrast, feels tastefully upmarket with its black leather and red trim, factory-fit sat-nav and gorgeous leather/Alcantara steering wheel. So the feelgood factor is off the scale even before you get under way (although all the carbonfibre trim is a matter of personal taste).

Unsurprisingly, the WC50 feels no different from a regular JCW to drive: astonishingly quick and mildly hyperactive. The undoubted highlight is the 208bhp 1.6-litre turbo engine, which not only gives the Mini stronger performance than any of its rivals but also crackles and fizzes with energy the whole time. It sounds peachy, too.

If only the car’s chassis could do justice to this engine. While it retains that pointy Mini feel at low speeds, it resorts to quite strong understeer as speeds rise, and it struggles to put its power down without a fight. In some ways its slightly unruly nature adds to the car’s character, but it’s actually less fun on a British B-road than it should be.

Should I buy one?

Only 100 of the 250-strong production run are staying in the UK, so the WC50 will always be a rarity, but £33k for a Mini – any Mini – is frankly ludicrous.

While it’s right and proper that BMW is commemorating Cooper’s achievements through his long association with Mini, we’d rather they’d spent some of that money on improving the JCW’s chassis and making a car truly worthy of Cooper’s sporting heritage.

Join the debate

Comments
13

1 December 2009

If you think this is expensive just wait until the Rolls Royce versions of the Mini come out.

1 December 2009

It appears that there are now 250 born every minute....

1 December 2009

When I was selling MINIs I regularly sold them for close to £30 grand, in fact £34k was the most expensive i ever sold.

I don't think they'll struggle to find people to buy them.

1 December 2009

£33,000 :-))

An advice : buy two Clio RS, for you and your girlfriend

1 December 2009

£33,000? That was the price for two, wasn't it? Or did I miss something?

1 December 2009

[quote Straff]It appears that there are now 250 born every minute....[/quote]

I could cut and paste most comments from this thread to the 911 Sport Classic and vice versa. No point to make. Just an observation.

1 December 2009

Amazing business model, I am jealous. Never over estimate your customers intelligence.

2 December 2009

£33k and no speedo. I always thought the sat nav cars had two pods, revs and speed. I guess if you can afford to spunk £33k on this car you can afford the speeding fines and parking tickets you will get as well, as they do seem to be bought by certain types of obnoxious so and so.

2 December 2009

[quote Cheltenhamshire]

£33k and no speedo. I always thought the sat nav cars had two pods, revs and speed. I guess if you can afford to spunk £33k on this car you can afford the speeding fines and parking tickets you will get as well, as they do seem to be bought by certain types of obnoxious so and so.

[/quote]

Judging by the pics it has the usual two speedos - the one in the middle around the edge of the sat-nav screen, and the digital one in the bottom of the rev counter on the column.

At that price, though, it should have a few more spread around....

2 December 2009

There is a speedo around the edge of the sat nav?? I am sure that is highly visible .... another reason why the mk1 fat mini was a nicer car.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales