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First Drive: 2015 Mini Hatch Cooper S & John Cooper Works
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First Drive: 2015 Mini Hatch Cooper S & John Cooper Works

·
May 27,2015
·
2 min read

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MINI UAE, in association with AGMC and Abu Dhabi Motors, held a media drive at Yas Marina Circuit for the all-new MINI hatch JCW. Termed as the ‘most powerful MINI ever built’, the JCW was put through a series of tests to show the sporty nature of this icon.

The event comprised of the following:

-Handling dynamics

-Drag race

-Track drive

The idea behind this event was to display the power and agility of the new JCW and compare it with the less-powerful Cooper S. Some highlights of the new JCW:

-2.0 liter turbocharged engine producing 228 BHP and 320 Nm of torque

-6 speed auto/manual

-FWD

-0-100 kph in 6.1s

-Available in 3-door only

Coming to the drive itself, the new MINI does deliver what it sets out to do – power. It is seriously quick and nimble. Add to that the glorious turbo noise and you have a recipe for fun. However, the power delivery and handling corners can take some getting used to. 

The JCW takes off quickly from standstill but after 5000 RPM, the sensation just goes away and the car feels slow after a point. In other words, there is no need to redline the car for optimum performance. Moreover, the gearbox is slow in upshifting and downshifting. In today’s times, noticeable lag in shifting is a big deal. But the biggest oddity I faced was in the corners. The car seems to get confused in when it wants to oversteer or understeer so it does both. I have never seen a FWD slip as much as this little car. Also, it wiggles a lot during hard braking. To put it in simple words, the JCW is really a handful on the track but a lot of fun at the same time – if you master the chassis quickly. 

On the other hand, the Cooper S is overall a balanced car with smooth power delivery and familiar handling. It just feels more planted on the track and doesn’t squirm on hard braking. However, it is not fun on the track. It lacks the ‘zing’ of the JCW coupled with average engine sound. 

Final words, MINI has managed to create a direct rival for the Focus ST and Golf R but it still needs to work on the grip. Perhaps an AWD option would suit the character.

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