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.

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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).

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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)
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