Mini John Cooper Works review - quick and engaging but suffering from middle-aged spread - Interior and tech

The JCW is certainly fast and relatively sophisticated for a hot hatch but it’s doesn’t quite have the fun factor of its chief rival

Evo rating
Price
from £23,790
  • Performance, grip, refinement
  • Price, not as involving to drive as the Ford Fiesta ST

Interior and tech

Though it’s based on the Cooper S, the JCW’s cabin receives a few bespoke features. Bucket-style seats come trimmed in part-Carbon Black Dinamica fabric (similar to Alcantara) and part-leather, with full leather a £500 option. The multi-function steering wheel and door sills also wear JCW logos. A set of stainless steel pedals complete the sporty tone.

A nice feature is the fitment of an anthracite headliner, which matches the piano-black trim and complements the contrasting red stitching. Like the rest of the Mini range, a large circular feature in the centre of the dash dominates the interior, supposedly still aping the original Mini’s central speedometer. It can cause the interior to look fussy, as some of the buttons are contained within the circle, yet others are littered elsewhere. 

Now that the central display no longer has the speedometer function it looks a little contrived, with the oblong display screen within it looking rather out of place. This central display also has an illuminated surround and depending on which driving mode you’re in, the surround can light up in a variety of ways – when the car is set to Sport mode, for example, it illustrates revs.

The JCW comes with plenty of standard kit, including LED headlights, DAB digital radio, air con, heated mirrors, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, a speed limiter and an auto-brake function for hill starts.

Popular optional features include a 12-speaker sound system, a panoramic sunroof, heated seats and a head-up display (HUD) that can display information in the driver’s line of sight. While the HUD might not look like bad value for money at £500, it can only be ordered in combination with one of the navigation systems which are £900 for the basic version and an eye-watering £2000 for the Connected Navigation package.

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