Mini JCW WC50 review

Limited-run John Cooper Works hot hatchback marks Mini's 50th birthday

Evo rating
Price
from £33,000
  • Looks great and still an addictive drive
  • Where's the stripped out special?

Thirty-three grand. It’s a lot of cash for a Mini, comparable money to a basic-spec Porsche Boxster or a lightly used BMW M3, in fact.

The World Championship 50 is a special edition, built to commemorate the Mini’s 50th birthday. What we wanted was a stripped-out, more focused Mini, à la mk1 GP Works. What we’ve been given is a John Cooper Works with every conceivable option box ticked. No extra power, no dynamic tweaks, no dieting, just a whole heap of tarting up inside and out.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Subscribe now and get your first 5 issues for £5 or buy the latest issue in all good newsagents!

Worse still, the driving experience feels like it’s suffered. The JCW’s addictively hardcore character is still present and correct, but the car feels heavier and more prone to understeer, like it’s working against you rather than with you when you’re really pushing on. The ride feels firmer than normal, too, a pair of rather unsupportive sports seats not enhancing comfort levels.

The WC certainly looks cool from the outside, but given the enthusiasm with which most Mini owners attack the options list it’s likely only those in the know will spot it (a unique number on the wing and Mr Cooper’s signature on the bonnet stripes are the subtle tell-tales).

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

It’s a bit of a missed opportunity, then. The 250 buyers will doubtless be happy with their purchase, but in a post-R26.R hot hatch market, we can’t help being left wanting more. Especially for £33,000.

Specifications

EngineIn-line 4-cyl, 1598cc, turbo
Max power208bhp @ 6000rpm
Max torque192lb ft @ 1850-5600rpm
0-606.5sec (claimed)
Top speed148mph (claimed)
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/mini/john-cooper-works/16297/mini-john-cooper-works-review-quick-and-engaging-but-suffering-from
Mini John Cooper Works hatchback

Mini John Cooper Works review

25 Jul 2019
Visit/mini/john-cooper-works/22270/next-generation-mini-jcw-gp-getting-closer-to-production
Mini John Cooper Works hatchback

Mini GP John Cooper Works pricing and power revealed

4 Nov 2019
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/alfa-romeo/21322/alfa-romeo-to-launch-new-700bhp-8c-and-600bhp-gtv-coupe
Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo culls sports car programme in wake of FCA merger

Italian’s future performance models killed off in favour of more profitable SUVs
11 Nov 2019
Visit/caterham/201924/caterham-620r-v-ariel-atom-35-v-elemental-rp1
Caterham

Caterham 620R v Ariel Atom 3.5 v Elemental Rp1

Flight Club - lightweight track day toys with heavyweight powertrains, Steve Sutcliffe compares them on track at Anglesey circuit in Wales
5 Nov 2019
Visit/maserati/granturismo/201792/maserati-granturismo-zeda-run-out-model-revealed
Maserati GranTurismo

Maserati GranTurismo Zéda run-out model revealed

It’s out with the old, in with the new as the final GranTurismo paves the way for Maserati’s ambitious electrified future
12 Nov 2019
Visit/hyundai/201819/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-nurburgring
Hyundai i30 N

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Nurburgring

We brought the Hyundai i30 Fastback back to its spiritual home in Germany's Eifel mountains, where there is a racing track you might well have heard o…
7 Oct 2019