Jun 18th, 2012
We’ve reviewed the JCW Coupe in prototype and final form both on the track and on the street. But how does the Coupe stack-up against the best at the top-end and low-end of its pricing? To answer that question we assembled two of the highest acclaimed cars in their respective segments. On the high-end (weighing in at $52k tested) is the BMW 1 Series M Coupe. And on the low-end the $26k Fiat 500 Abarth. Today we start with the BMW.
Let’s be honest. The JCW Coupe doesn’t win this comparison in performance. Nor does it win on utility – no matter how big the trunk is. Nor value (used 1M prices are anywhere from 15-20k higher than original MSRP). Yet after driving the JCW coupe back to back for the past week with a BMW 1M I’ll be damned if it doesn’t hold its own on a couple of fronts.
First let’s talk about how it unequivocally falls short; performance. The JCW Coupe is a fast car in most respects but it’s quickly humbled by the 1M in almost every category. And with about $17k separating based models it makes sense. Still the comparison is an interesting one in that the R58 JCW is the pinnacle (until the new GP) of the MINI line. The 1M on the other hand is the entry into the M range originally priced (before quicly selling out) at $47k. It’s as fast (or faster) than the M3 and offers less while giving the driver a more raw experience. So we have two ends of the spectrum that almost overlap. Which should you pine over – if any?
May 18th, 2012
The 2013 JCWs have been announced with the new valvtronic engine. Surprisingly, outside of the Countryman, the JCW range will not have higher output. The HP figure will remain at 211 hp (208 for the US) for the R5X range of JCW cars. Furthermore we’ve heard rumors from well placed sources that the US spec JCW Countryman may also end up with 208 hp rather than the higher 218hp figure seen in Europe. The upside is that the 2013 JCW will be the most efficient JCW ever and on par with the substantially less powerful Cooper S thanks to technologies such as Brake Energy Regeneration.
Also new for 2013 is the option of the six speed Aisin automatic across the entire JCW range.
Official Release: In keeping with the times, MINI will inject the ultra-sporty performance characteristics of its John Cooper Works models with even greater efficiency from July 2012 with the introduction of a new-generation engine and other far-reaching powertrain innovations. Fresh from an intensive course of further development, the twin-scroll turbo engine develops the same levels of output and torque as its predecessor, but will make drivers’ hearts beat faster with its even quicker responses and stoke their admiration with substantially reduced fuel consumption and emissions. A much broader spread of MINIMALISM technology helps to enhance the efficiency of the John Cooper Works models, and all members of the sub-brand’s line-up can now be fitted as an option with a six-speed automatic gearbox. Added to which, the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman comes with the MINI ALL4 all-wheel-drive system as standard. continued →
May 17th, 2012
Last week we brought you the history of the modern JCW Tuning kit. Now that history is getting a new chapter. As expected JCW Engine Kit is coming to the R58 Coupe and R59 Roadster later this year. As for all other models, the kit will be a dealer installed accessory with a cost of around $2,100 (not including installation).
The tuning kit will be the same 197 hp (200 bhp) kit found in other MINIs with 199 lb-ft of over boost between 1,800 and 5,000 rpm.
May 14th, 2012
Winding Road is currently running a story about small, fun rides that offer driving excitement to rival larger, more expensive sports cars. They’re taking their “Involvement Index” and pulling out the fun cars that are actually affordable. Ranked at #2 is MINI’s new Coupe. They like it. They like it a lot.
Mini Cooper S Coupe: Involvement Score 78, Starting Price $25,300. So good we ended up booking a year-long loan in one. The Cooper S Coupe is the ultimate sub-$30,000 performer for the Mini brand, and goes toe-to-toe on our Index with Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG and V-6-powered Porsche Panamera. It’s go-kart-like driving dynamics and zippy turbo make this two-seater an affordable Involvement alternative.
May 4th, 2012
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What is Red Roof Radio? It’s when a few of us get together when we’re not suppose to be doing a podcast this week and just talk. Consider this a behind the scenes show without the normal production values or even sound quality you might get from WWR (although it’s not half bad). But what you get are unbiased opinions. Sort of like Black Roof Radio but something we can actually post. continued →
Apr 23rd, 2012
Last week we broke the news that MINI is planning on turning the GP name into a high performance sub-brand for MINI and to a lesser degree JCW. But what does this mean and when should we expect it? Read on for the details on the full range of GPs and when we should see them on dealer lots. continued →
Apr 18th, 2012
While MINI is putting the finishing touches on the R56 based GP set to be released at MINI United this May, we’ve now confirmed that there are plans for a second Coupe based GP the following year. We’ve known about the existence of the Coupe GP for some time but until today, there was no visual confirmation. Car and Driver has just published spy photos which not only confirm the car but also show that it’s being developed alongside the R56 version to be released later this year. continued →