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- Highs Instantly identifiable looks, zippy acceleration, nimble handling.
- Lows Unforgiving ride, tight squeeze in the cabin, minimal cargo space.
- Verdict The Cooper JCW combines a fun-to-drive personality and iconic design with all the quirkiness we’ve come to expect from a modern Mini.
In 1961, British racer and Formula One car constructor John Cooper modified the original Mini, creating a high-performance version that became the first Mini Cooper. Mini Coopers were raced and rallied with great success—Minis won the Monte Carlo Rally three times—and the version built for road use was a hit with car enthusiasts. BMW owns Mini now, and its John Cooper Works division continues to produce performance models such as the 2023 Mini Cooper JCW. The 2023 Cooper JCW combines a 228-hp turbocharged inline-four and front-wheel drive with the brand’s quirky, unique styling, and it’s available in both Hardtop and Convertible body styles. While Hardtop buyers can choose between the standard six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic, the Convertible is only available with the automatic. Both models have a specially tuned suspension and upgraded brakes that make the Cooper JCW entertaining drive, though its track-friendliness results in a harsh ride on the street. Still, the Mini Cooper JCW’s distinctive silhouette, highly customizable details, and edgy personality make it an enticing machine.
Where This Vehicle Ranks
What's New for 2023?
The 2023 Cooper JCW remains mostly unchanged following 2022’s refresh, but buyers now have several more customization options. Hardtop models can now be painted in Mini’s Zesty Yellow color, and Multi-tone White and Multi-tone Red roofs make their debut as well in the Signature and Iconic trims. The Driver Assistance package has been slightly altered to include a parking assistance feature and a head-up display; adaptive cruise control (only available with automatics) is now a separate standalone option.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The JCW Hardtop comes with LED headlights, front fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, heated and power-adjustable side mirrors, and a rear spoiler. We'd stick with the six-speed manual transmission but upgrade to the Signature Trim package, which adds a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Mini Cooper JCW is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four that makes 228 horsepower. The sole transmission for the convertible is an eight-speed automatic, whereas Hardtop buyers get a choice between that or a six-speed manual. In our track testing, a JCW convertible with the slushbox made the dash to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. An automatic-equipped Volkswagen GTI, a natural competitor to the JCW, managed it in 5.1 seconds. Relative to the standard Mini Cooper, the JCW brings features such as Brembo brakes, a more aggressive suspension, and an electronically locking front differential. All this combines to help it deliver precise handling that's a treat for enthusiasts. However, this Mini's firm suspension can make the ride unpleasantly choppy on rough roads.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The JCW's fuel-economy estimates vary based on body style and transmission. The most fuel-efficient combo is the Hardtop with the eight-speed automatic. We haven't tested a JCW model on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route yet, but during our time with a JCW Hardtop, we observed 25 mpg in mixed driving. For more information about the Cooper JCW's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The JCW's cabin boasts high-quality materials plus whimsical design elements like the circular framing that houses the infotainment system's touchscreen. Relative to other subcompacts, the Mini doesn't rank highly when it comes to utility. Back-seat legroom is tight; most adults will feel cramped. In the Hardtop, this Mini provides nine cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seats and 34 cubic feet with them folded. (The convertible is even worse, offering just six cubes of trunk space.)
Infotainment and Connectivity
All Mini JCWs come with an 8.8-inch infotainment display with SiriusXM satellite radio, a six-speaker stereo, and Bluetooth phone and streaming audio. The list of optional equipment includes a premium Harman/Kardon sound system, in-dash navigation, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, and wireless charging for your devices. Unfortunately, Android Auto capability isn't available.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The JCW comes with driver-assistance features that can help you avoid accidents. However, blind-spot monitoring isn't included in the lineup. For more information about the JCW's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Mini delivers solid warranty coverage, with three years of complimentary scheduled maintenance—something that isn't offered by competing sport compacts such as the Honda Civic Type R.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary scheduled maintenance is covered for three years or 36,000 miles
2022 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible
Vehicle Type: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 2-door convertible
Base/As Tested: $39,750/$46,250
Options: Iconic trim, $6000; Mini Yours soft top, $500
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 122 in3, 1998 cm3
Power: 228 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque: 236 lb-ft @ 1450 rpm
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 13.2-in vented disc/10.2-in disc
Tires: Pirelli P Zero PZ4 Run Flat
205/40R-18 86W ★
Wheelbase: 98.2 in
Length: 152.8 in
Width: 68.0 in
Height: 55.7 in
Passenger Volume: 77 ft3
Trunk Volume: 5 ft3
Curb Weight: 3109 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 5.7 sec
1/4-Mile: 14.2 sec @ 100 mph
130 mph: 28.6 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 6.2 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.3 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.9 sec
Top Speed (mfr's claim): 149 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 169 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 348 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.86 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 24 mpg
75-mph Highway Driving: 36 mpg
Highway Range: 410 mi
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 28/24/33 mpg