We’re getting to be bigger and bigger fans of the chaps over at Winding Road. While we’ve written about the topic for years, it’s great to finally see another outlet pick-up the story.

We recently featured their rather good comparison between the new Fiat 500 Sport and the MINI Cooper. They’re back, and this time with an in-depth look at what might happen if you pitted a factory Cooper S JCW against a regular Cooper S with aggressive aftermarket tuning. What kind of performance could the aftermarket provide, and for how much less than the $6,100 JCW premium?

The article breaks down the upgrades gained in the factory JCW, then explores what can be hypothetically be done at aftermarket tuning shops like Detroit Tuned and OutMotoring (who they mention specifically) and for how much less money. The end result of this little mental exercise? A savings of about $1,000 for similar or arguably better performance. There’s a catch though.

You see, modifying your car is a great way to void the factory warranty, should something go wrong because of your modification. Therein lies the appeal of the JCW, in that you can get a great deal of performance, with the security blanket of a warranty for less than $2000 over the price of the aftermarket car we just built here.

So there you have it. The JCW looks like the best choice on a new car. Once your Cooper S is out of warranty though, well, that’s a horsepower of a different color. Take a look at the full article over at Winding Road.