Video: Autocar Pits the Paceman JCW Against the BMW M135i

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Today we’ve got an unlikely pairing from between the new MINI Paceman JCW and the BMW 135i. While the Paceman JCW is the more sporting than its Cooper and Cooper S siblings, it’s still a no-brainer that the M135i has it beat in the performance category. So why compare the two? Simple. Because they cost about the same.

The video is a pretty scathing indictment of the Paceman’s price point. Something is out of whack. Either the Paceman really is priced well out of reality, or the BMW is the bargain of a generation. Check out the video after the jump and tell us what you think.

Source: AutoCar

  • Henry

    I think maybe MINI needs to rethink it’s price structuring on the Paceman. If you can spec a 6 spd manual in this BMW and get it for around the same price as the Paceman (and hopefully one day in the states), I’d take the Bimmer. As you guys stated in WWR #462, more people may opt for the CM based on it’s practicality and that may be in part due to the higher price of the Paceman.

  • RKCA1

    Dead BMW NA, bring the M135i to the US! Forget about the 318ti experiment. It was ugly, underpowered and too small. M135i addresses all of the short comings of the 318ti. Bring it and you’ll have at least 2 sold. One for me and one for my gf. We’ve even contemplated going to Mexico to buy a 3 series hatch and bring it back to the US. Hell if you put in the N47 with twin turbo in it, I’ll buy that one too!

    • RKCA1

      First word should be Dear, not Dead. My bad.

      • Nathaniel Salzman

        If you create a Disqus account and leave your comments that way, you can actually go back and make edits. FYI.

    • rj

      The 318ti ugly? You think the M135i isn’t ugly? Underpowered …. ~135 hp, maybe 2700 lbs. Light car, quick, but not powerful. Too small … compared to ????? Split fold-down rear seats, hatchback .. it held a ton of stuff. Least expensive BMW when it was sold here .. about ~20k USD. The M135i? Hmmmm….probably wayyy north of that figure, admittedly 15+ years later.

      • Erik Rutberg

        The ti was almost as awesome as the M135i, BMW just never brought the right engine for that. I have driven converted a ///M3ti, a 328ti, and owned a supercharged 318ti for 15 years (sold it last year to make room for my GP2, without selling my original GP). The ti was the most fun I had in a BMW since the e30 ///M3, and very few after were as much fun to drive. Passed many a ///M3 and 911 at the track with mine, and so did my wife. Couldn’t have sold it, but found another track guy who puts it to better use now.

        • RKCA1

          We are in agreement on the wrong engine part. Friend of mine wrecked his s54 m coupe but he didn’t want to part with the car so he bought a ti and transplanted the engine into the ti. I feel very much the same way about my m coupe as you did with your ti.

        • Gabriel Bridger

          Ah the S54 M Coupe – such a great car. Little known fact, Marcus Syring (the head of MINI exterior design) designed the original M Coupe.

        • lavardera

          one of my fav bmw designs

      • RKCA1

        In my opinion yes. But many people have also expressed their opinion that my m coupe is ugly.

        Ti was a small car, that was a statement of fact. I fail to understand why that is being questioned. My gti vr6 was much bigger, more powerful and held tons more stuff. Again its my opinion only.

        I bring up the ti because in many publications BMW states that US dealers aren’t interested in a hatchback because of the poor selling ti.

  • that.guy

    “Either the Paceman really is priced well out of reality, or the BMW is the bargain of a generation.”

    I think we know the answer. “Priced well out of reality” could be a great marketing tag line for MINI.

  • BimmerFile_Michael

    The M135i is the best practical car I have driven outside the E90 M3 and that was much more money. The M135i is a relative bargain and an all out hoot to drive. The US is in for a treat with the M235i coming soon- but that lacks some practicality of the hatch.

    BMWNA had the chance with the M135i to offer it and bailed- its a shame because it would have been nice to see a non-VAG hot hatch worth driving stateside. Had an M135i on order- but holding out for something else :)

    The Paceman is nice but like everything MINI it is just too costly- sharing platforms with BMW can not come soon enough (BMW is betting the bank on MINI succeeding).

  • Chris Bamford

    I costed up a Paceman with everything on it, and it was the same price as a basic Range Rover Evoque. That’s not a good place to be pitching a Mini either.

    • Nathaniel Salzman

      We said the same thing on White Roof Radio Live last night, Chris. That’s not a fight the Paceman can easily win.

  • Lemelou

    Before snatching my JCW last Fall I swung by my BMW dealership and paid a visit to their 135i. Too bad for the douchebag that zeroed in on my wife to try to sell her his 4-door 328i executive demo. I really wanted to go for the 135i at some point, but thanks to that moron who thinks no man actually runs its family nowadays, and a tad of the RWD vs FWD in winter effect, I am now a JCW owner.

    At $52K CAD tax in, it sure is an expensive puppy.

    • NoHoR56

      There’s no excuse for anyone being a douchebag but I would never penalize myself with a lesser car – or over pay for one – just because someone else was an idiot.

  • m8o

    Ok, so we’ve identified the next vehicle anyone in the “more money than brains” club should buy the next few years.

    I hadn’t considered it this way before, but maybe what’s needed to put an end to this pricing idiocy of woefully underpowered vehicles fitted w/a more and more meaningless ‘JCW’ badging is a good financial flop.

  • Gabriel Bridger

    The M135i is a massive bargain as we’ve been reporting on BimmerFile for a year now.

    • lavardera

      What? We’re to expect the pricing of the Mini line to drop? How many thousands are coming off to put the Paceman JCW under the M135i?

  • John McLauchlan

    After test driving the Paceman S All4, I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the JCW version. Now that the MINI USA configurator is online and MSRP with options looks to be north of $45K USD, that bubble just burst. I’m sure that the JCW Paceman is a great vehicle, but this comparison from Autocar really puts it into perspective.

  • JIIN

    The Autocar test seems to be spot on. Just why Mini seems to be unable to provide the R60/R61 with more power, a decent auto box – and a build quality that match the price tag is beyond me. As they (at least for now) obviously are not capable of that, they deserve this kind of verdict. I second it!

  • jwardell

    I love both of these hatches and would consider buying either one, however BMW thinks americans only want the mini. What will we see here first–a diesel mini or a 1 hatch? Oh, right, we have the ugly X1, but just to tick us off, BMW forces an automatic on us.

  • r_k_w

    I’d like to see them do a comparison between the JCW Paceman and just a regular (not M) 125i hatchback. The 125i might very well come out ahead on every point, and at a significantly lower price.

  • Mark Smith

    I knew this day would come sometime. I really, really hope MINI gets more serious with John Cooper Works. MINI is really losing out on the performance per dollar equation more and more each year as newer competition arrives on the market. MINI’s still have their own unique overall feel and fun to drive factor however there is no denying the details that this comparison brings forth.

  • Rob Luxton

    I want that M135i so bad!!!! I say a little prayer every night that it may come over here

  • DisQusteve

    It’s a MINI, you want a BMW, then you buy it…..and it’s too bad we in Canada do not get the BMW here either…..I almost took the Mini…..

  • Bionic Merlin

    This car should be compared to the BMW X1.

    • Nathaniel Salzman

      Gabe and I were thinking the same thing…