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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After some 6 weeks and 1800 miles, I thought it time to offer my thoughts on our JCW and post up some photos after having the car detailed by Barry at

A bit about our car history for context; The JCW is my wife's daily driver and is her 4th Mini. We have had an R53 Cooper, R57 Cooper S and an F56 Cooper. She also had a VW Scirocco in between the Cooper S and F56 Cooper.

I tend to like hot hatches, moving from the original Clio 172 to a Mk1 Focus RS. Then followed two Mk5 Golf Gti's before I had an 8P Audi S3. I am now 48k miles into a current S3...

Anyway, our JCW!! My wife missed the performance of her 210 bhp Scirocco after picking up her Cooper last September so we enquired about the JCW a few months ago. We secured a good discount (just over 10%) and a fairly basic spec kept the cost to change down to reasonable level, despite taking a big hit on the 1 year old Cooper.

Spec as follows;

Chili Pack
Dynamic dampers
Visual Boost
Harman Kardon
Rear glass

That's it!! As I said, fairly basic but everything we needed..... (?)

The car arrived just under 6 weeks after ordering with the correct spec. The handover was well handled and we were looked after really well throughout by Molly @ Stratstone Derby Mini. I fitted a stubby aerial on collection and do not plan any other mods

I was pretty good with the running in for the first 400 miles or so but started to use increasingly more of the performance up to the 1000 miles mark. I have driven the car pretty much how I have wanted to since then (when I get my hands on it!!) and it is loosening up nicely. Average MPG is reading as 34 but I did get 42 mpg on an early motorway run....the car has been on V-Power exclusively. so, that's the boring stuff out of the way

I had my first proper blast in it last weekend and it really is cracking fun to drive. It gathers speed deceptively quickly and feels nicely composed when pushing on a bit (a lot less harsh than slow speed). Brakes smartly too. I love the manual gearbox (my S3 is S-tronic) and all of the pops and crackles on the up change or when you back off. The rev match function works brilliantly.

I have done a few big motorway journeys as well and it is a reasonable long distance cruiser. Quite a bit of tyre noise (Dunlops) but it picks up smartly in 6th gear when needed. I am taking a trip to the Dolomites next June and provided I can get my bike and spare kit in it, I reckon it would handle it quite well.

Things I am not sure about? Well, I have the dampers set up in comfort all of the time so I wonder if I could have stuck with the standard dampers? And I definitely want to find a way of switching off the active sound!! It just sounds odd to me.

I am glad we went for the Harman Kardon upgrade. Its not as good as the Bose / B&O I had in my Audi's but still way better than standard to my ears.

I have added some photos below which were taken at Auto Detox. The car had some bad swirls on the roof / spoiler and pillars so I decided to go for a new car detail, finished off with Gyeon Mohs+. I think the photos speak for themselves.

Thanks for reading this far



(Photo credit: Barry Davies @ Auto Detox)


1,081 Posts
Car looking fantastic rich and i bet the pictures don't do the finish justice, i'ts a difficult colour to capture in pics in its full glory believe you me i have tried to show the gloss on my ceramic coated WS finish but love it, with this i mean out in open not in detailing shop with massive lights but as i said i love the WS Red roof combo we have as well just wish i had some flake pop

Great review as well thanks for taking the time to post up your opinion:D

2,082 Posts
Great JCW! and a Manual too boot!...good for you! :) (I think we're in the minority anymore).

The HK sound system will get better with usage (so I am told)....I love mine...just need to crank it up well past 50% volume to really sound good imo. As for the Variable Dampers, I'm kinda glad I wasn't educated enough to add that option as the stock JCW sport suspension is just peachy as far as I'm concerned.

That garage looks too sterile! Very "clean" though! Darker walls would show off your car better. I'm sure your garage won't be as sterile huh? My garage walls are so covered with all sorts of cool things I couldn't stand white walls! LOL!


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1,206 Posts
This is my 4th Mini, and this version of the HK is definitely better that in my previous R56 JCW, however I still think that you need to turn it up too high to get any sort of serious sound (maybe my years are showing...). As for the VDC, I'm sitting on the fence. I can feel the difference between normal and sport if I set the +10 up, and in standard mode the car is definitely better over speed bumps. However, having VDC has made me realise that I will have difficulty lowering the car if I wanted to. That said, for a daily driver when I only have the one car, it suits me fine.

Fuel economy - on a motorway run yesterday where I barely got above 60mph the car delivered around 42mpg, which is pretty good all things considered. I was in Sport but the gearbox was in std auto. However on the way home there was less traffic and it dropped to mid 30's, although the return journey was much quicker than the run in the morning :)

My 2 complaints are:

MINI still need to engineer out that bloody issue when you first move the car with the window open and as you come off the drive you get a splash of cold water on your shoulder & thigh from the roof. There's a gutter to stop that but it just doesn't work and it really annoys me, especially if I'm off to see a customer and I'm wearing a white shirt......

My front R/H/S tyre keeps losing air and it's not a slow puncture, the valve is leaking. My dealer has had it back in once and can't find a leak at all, but I have to top the air up about every 2 weeks and it's not funny anymore.

However, there is something I really love about this car. It's when the guy in his VAG (normally a 2.0 deseasil) thinks he can under take or out accelerate you then looks across to realise he's been done by a Mini. The face usually says it all. Or when people stop and look at it as they walk past in a car park - that makes me feel VERY good indeed......

143 Posts
Very nice Rich.H! I have a very similar spec to you except I have media pack. Could have gone crazy on the extras but I looked at what I had on my R58 and what I actually neeeeeeeded on this one. Fab car.

I was really worried about the variable dampers after I ordered them. Coming from an R58 WITH sports suspension I was sat on the fence. I have always preferred cars with a harder ride and I didn't realise the 'sports' setting on the VDC was only +10% whereas the standard sports suspension was +30% until I came across a few bits on the web ... but that was after I had ordered. I really hoped I had made the right choice ... my dealer was near on useless with this! But I'm glad to say I LOVE my little beasty. The ride is defo hard enough for the crap roads round here and actually I prefer it over my crashy R58 coupe.

Enjoy :D
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