Auto Express has assembled a list of what they think the top-20 performance cars of 2008 are. And there, right between the Porsche Cayman S and the BMW M3 Coupe is the JCW MINI Cooper S in third place.

>In the end, the MINI’s feisty character is all part of its appeal – it’s a car you grab by the scruff of the neck, hold on and enjoy! And it’s even more fun on the public road. When you’re not pushing so hard, the front wheels scrabble for grip less often and the car’s agility really comes into its own. Only the sheer brilliance of the top two models prevents the JCW from taking the crown.

They even have video and it starts when you open the page. Consider yourself warned.

[ Performance Car of the Year – JCW MINI ]