2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible review – Autocar


What is it?

Cooper. Now there’s a name along with some clout. Today, of course, it’s a lot more usually associated along with wicked-up Minis, yet the heritage is durable here. Essentially, us Brits wouldn’t have the ability to grin and swagger nearly as a lot at the mention of motorsport free of Charles and John to thank.

But do you believe either ever paused to think of – while sipping a brew in Surbiton, covered in oil and status over a single-seater, I’d love to imagine – that one day in 2016 their family name would certainly be affixed to the spine of a £26,000, near-1400kg, roofless Mini along with 228bhp and capable of 0-62mph in 6.6sec? Well, it is, and we’d wager they didn’t.

Regardless, provided the huge victory of Mini’s Convertible model in the UK and the general affection listed here for fast Minis, the company case is rather a lot there. Our positive experience of Mini’s latest JCW hatchback – and a lot more recently its brand-new Cooper Convertible – means that this JCW open-top has actually a great possibility of making us smile too.

What’s it like?

The JCW’s a lot more aggressively turbocharged version of the Cooper S’s 2.0-litre petrol engine remains a durable point, displaying decent throttle response and plenty of low-down urgency prior to a liner wave of acceleration takes over. Right foot flat, the steering wheel will certainly squirm over uneven asphalt, yet torque steer is largely well contained. Our (most 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-personal sports pipe. In truth, it feels a little quicker compared to 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 simply a touch vague off centre and fairly aggressive in rate and weight simply beyond, which with each other along with its tidy physique manage and excellent front-end bite delivers trademark Mini agility. Of course, push its nose rather hard in to bends and the front wheels will certainly gradually squeal and provide up by sliding wide slightly sooner compared to would certainly the JCW hatch’s. Lean also hard on its sometimes inconsistent brakes, though, and the Convertible’s rear axle will certainly relocate concerning in a similar fashion. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the JCW Convertible’s ride isn’t the most forgiving, at least on our car’s larger 18in alloys (a £140 option) along with runflats fitted. Even dialled spine in the softer Mid and Green modes it’s firm, despite the fact that never ever outright uncontrolled, yet switching to Sport gives the Convertible’s inevitably much less rigid physique the biggest workout, felt most prominently as vibration through the steering column. Still, relatively speaking, this sportiest of Mini Convertibles is much better compared to the 2 its predecessor and its closest rivals in this respect.

Aside from the column judder, roof down (which takes 18sec at up to about 20mph) the front two occupants are well protected, especially if you’re using Mini’s optional (£235) wind deflector which, incidentally, renders the rear seats unusable for sitting in. Still, two adults will certainly locate it a genuine squeeze spine there, so the spine seats are finest left for kids or bags. The Mini’s boot accepts 160 litres along with roof down, which excellent enough for two or three soft weekend break bags, despite the fact that there’s room for one more bag in the 215 litres that are available along with the roof up and the divider raised.

The JCW’s unique sports seats offer excellent adjustment yet not very as a lot support as you may imagine, despite the fact that with each other along with its generous steering wheel adjustment most drivers will certainly settle on a positive position. Quality is normal Mini, which is to say there’s the strange scratchy surface, yet on the whole the dashboard is strong along with enough in the method of gloss and chrome accents to feel genuinely special. Our test car’s £1400 BMW iDrive-based 8.8in-screen Media XL infotainment system remains among the most effective your hard earned cash can easily buy. 

Should I purchase one?

Mini’s John Cooper Functions Convertible is by no means the best driver’s car, yet we’d assume that those buying it won’t live or die by that – as those investigating Mini’s JCW hatch may well do. In any kind of case, enjoyed versus most likely rivals such as the open-top Abarth 595 and DS 3 Performance, the JCW is admittedly considerably a lot more expensive yet likewise the 2 a much better drive and a correct convertible.

Yet we can’t recommendations yet feel that Mini’s Cooper S Convertible will certainly fulfil a lot of Exactly what the JCW is attempting to do for much less money. Sure, it doesn’t sound very as purposeful at full chat, yet it accelerates, stops, turns and goes concerning its company as a convertible along with similar aplomb. For many, the prowess of the JCW badge will certainly be enough, yet those along with an eye on their budget will certainly probably locate much better value there. 

Mini John Cooper Functions Convertible manual

Location: Italy; On sale: Now; Price £26,630; Engine 4 cyls, 1998cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 228bhp at 5200-6000rpm; Torque 236lb ft at 1250-4800rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerb weight 1385kg; Top speed 150mph; 0-62mph 6.6sec; Economy 43.5mpg; CO2 rating & BIK tax band 152g/km, 27%