What is it?
Cooper. Now there's a name with some clout. Today, of course, it's more commonly associated with wicked-up Minis, but the heritage is strong here. Essentially, us Brits wouldn't be able to grin and swagger nearly as much at the mention of motorsport without Charles and John to thank.
But do you think either ever paused to consider - while sipping a brew in Surbiton, covered in oil and standing over a single-seater, I'd like to imagine - that one day in 2016 their family name would be affixed to the back of a £26,000, near-1400kg, roofless Mini with 228bhp and capable of 0-62mph in 6.6sec? Well, it is, and we'd wager they didn't.
Regardless, given the huge success of Mini's Convertible model in the UK and the general affection here for fast Minis, the business case is very much there. Our positive experience of Mini's latest JCW hatchback - and more recently its new Cooper Convertible - means that this JCW open-top has a good chance of making us smile too.
What's it like?
The JCW's more aggressively turbocharged version of the Cooper S's 2.0-litre petrol engine remains a strong point, displaying decent throttle response and plenty of low-down urgency before a linear wave of acceleration takes over. Right foot flat, the steering wheel will squirm over uneven asphalt, but torque steer is largely well contained. Our (likely best-selling) manual car's long - at times stiff - shift, though, wasn't the most welcoming.
That said, in Sport mode, the most aggressive of the JCW's three driving modes, you're encouraged to leave longer between shifts, such is the addictiveness of the JCW's bassy howl and the overrun crackle emitted from its model-specific sports pipe. In truth, it feels a little faster than its sprint time suggests.
And it's in Sport mode that the car's throttle is at its most responsive, the steering at its weightiest and our car's optional £375 adaptive dampers at their stiffest. The JCW's steering remains just a touch vague off centre and fairly aggressive in speed and weight just beyond, which together with its tidy body control and good front-end bite delivers trademark Mini agility. Of course, push its nose very hard into bends and the front wheels will gradually squeal and give up by sliding wide slightly sooner than would the JCW hatch's. Lean too hard on its sometimes inconsistent brakes, though, and the Convertible's rear axle will move about in a similar fashion.