Over the years MINIs have
evolved a lot. And I do not mean that it has just evolved in terms of their
design, or engine or equipment; that they surely have. But the MINIs have
evolved from being just a concept in the mind of a man to an actual car, to
something that won famed rallies. It has evolved beyond the conventions of
being a four wheeler, a hatch or terms like that. It has become an emotion. I
had the pleasure of driving the latest and greatest MINI John Cooper Works on
the Madras Motor Race Track in Chennai and all I could feel were emotions;
emotions of all sorts - excitement, joy, fear and more!
Design and Styling of MINI John Cooper Works
This new MINI has a look
similar to the ones that preceded it, but with a car like this you really do
not want to change much. It has the round bug lamps with an LED DRL ring and
the iconic Union Jack tail lamps. But you are reminded that this is the JCW
edition, thanks to the many badges found all over the car including the front
grill, side and tail-gate along with race stripes on the bonnet. Our test mule
came fitted with the optional panoramic sunroof. The front grille with a
honeycomb mesh inside looks good and so do the front air intakes on the bumper.
These are not dummy intakes and they actually serve the purpose of cooling the
engine and brakes.
The interiors have been given
a treatment similar to the exteriors. The basic design and layout remains
intact but there are some extra details sprinkled on top. The JCW seats being one of them. The manually adjustable front seats
provide good amount of comfort and keep you held in place even when the
G-forces are being exerted at odd angles. The JCW variant also gets special
stainless steel pedals and leather steering. You get plenty of kit as standard,
including a heads up display, two airbags, touchscreen infotainment system with
rear view camera and Harman Kardon sound system.
TwinPower Turbo, 4-cylinder Petrol
8-speed Steptronic Sport AT
x W x H)
1869mm x 1837mm
Independent Coil Spring with
Coil Spring, Watts linkage type
with Anti-roll bar
Rs 43.5 lakh
Engine and Performance of MINI John Cooper Works
But you do not buy a MINI JCW
for the looks or convenience features alone; you buy it for what is under the
hood. Under the hood of this new MINI is the same 2.0L TwinPowerTurbo,
4-cylinder petrol engine but it has been tuned to produce 231hp and 320Nm. The
change in power and torque figures can easily be felt, more so if you just
drove a non-JCW MINI just before this one, like I did. The acceleration of this
little monster is so much more improved. You get the kick of the turbo low down
and from then on the twin exhaust roars, making even drivers who have seen many
summers in their life feel young. It has a low gurgle down below that turns
into a full-fledged scream as you open the throttle. Getting up to 100kmph is
no big task for this car. Only post 150kmph do you start to feel that this car
is getting close to its limit. The 8-speed Steptronic Sport automatic
transmission does a decent job of shifting seamlessly for the most part but if
you want a snappier response then you must use the paddle shifts. The MINI JCW
gets a stiffer suspension and you can make the acceleration and steering
response better by switching to the Sport mode.
There are loads of electronic
aids to help novice drivers including ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, Corner Braking
Control and Dynamic Stability Control. This makes the car a lot more forgiving.
The steering has been weighted nicely and does not require too much turning
even on a race track, although, I would have liked a little more feedback from
it. You have disc brakes on all four wheels and they pack in a good bite and
feedback but you have to pay attention while braking at high speeds as the back
tends to slip out. The stiffer suspension and chassis make the car feel a lot
more held together around a corner.
The MINIs that do not don the
JCW badge are very potent machines, capable of accelerating fast and going
distances while looking good. But if you want something even more exciting and
track focused then the JCW variant will be for you. It goes around the track
like a compact bullet launched from a handgun. As I mentioned earlier, the MINI
is more than just a car, it is an emotion. You can't really put a price on
emotion. But this MINI John Cooper Works comes for a starting price of Rs 43.5
lakh (ex-showroom India).
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