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.

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).

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)

Most Popular

2022 Land Rover Defender V8 revealed – £100k supercharged off-roader gets 518bhp
Land Rover Defender V8 MY22 - header
Land Rover Defender

2022 Land Rover Defender V8 revealed – £100k supercharged off-roader gets 518bhp

The Land Rover Defender range continues to expand with its most powerful iteration yet
25 Feb 2021
Next generation BMW M2 spied – evo favourite reimagined
2022 BMW M2 spied nose
BMW M2

Next generation BMW M2 spied – evo favourite reimagined

The next generation 2-series coupe will spawn an all-new M2 after all, spied here for the first time
25 Feb 2021
Porsche collection of dreams stars in RM Sotheby’s February sale
RM Sotheby’s Porsche collection
Porsche

Porsche collection of dreams stars in RM Sotheby’s February sale

From an ultra-exclusive 911 Turbo to a 918 Spyder, RM Sotheby’s Open Roads February sale is host to the Porsche collection of your dreams
24 Feb 2021