Our good friend Liam at AUSmotive had a chance to drive the new JCW MINI on Australian soil and came away rather impressed. Here’s an excerpt:

>Engine and transmission are very well matched and, for a car with so few kilometres on it, its willingness to work high in the rev range—a previous MINI strength—was a delight. And the torque! Usually with a 1.6 litre engine you would think the only way to make sure desired progress was not impeded would be through precise gear changes. However, the torque in the John Cooper Works makes the car virtually foolproof. Corners I would take in my supercharged Cooper S in second gear, for example, could be taken in third in the JCW, or even fourth at a pinch.

>I’ve deliberately steered clear of reading overseas reviews of the John Cooper Works so as not to have my own expectations altered. I have seen a few headlines though, and therefore I had reason to expect some pretty bad torque steer. Pleasantly, in my drive I could not really fault the car in this regard. Maybe, with more time, the reported torque steer would be more noticeable. Torque steer on the R53 Cooper S was never really an issue. The regular R56 Cooper S, however, does exhibit some torque steer, so with more power one would not be surprised if the JCW showed even more. So far though, nothing overly negative to report from my experiences to date.

+ Drive Thru: MINI John Cooper Works / AUSmotive