About two decades ago, we could've actually thought of getting Minis to race on a go-karting circuit. I mean, they looked minute, did not have an unnecessarily copious amount but sufficient power for it's size and apparently, felt and went like a go-kart (like I've read). But now, around twenty years down the road, it is no longer a mini (the literal meaning here). It has evolved into something much bigger, much more powerful, but still assures that it retains a reminiscent characteristic, or as the Germans would like to describe it, "Go-Kart feeling in its Most Powerful Form". Welcome everyone, to the MINI John Cooper Works, the most powerful Mini yet.
Launched at a price of Rs 43,50,000 (ex-showroom), the JCW version extends a Rs 10 lac premium over the standard 3-door version on which it is based upon and it will only be available as a Completely Built-Up Unit (CBU) unit from June onwards across all MINI dealerships, pan India. According to MINI, this version promises to be the most powerful and precise model in the brand's portfolio.
Certainly, it delivers on promises, at least on paper. Under the hood lies the same 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged pot that you get on the standard car but the output on this one has been raised by around 40HP and 50 more torques, leading to power figures of 231HP at 320Nm of torque. Power is sent only to the front wheels via an 8-speed Sports Steptronic transmission but the driver can work the gears himself through paddle shifters. What this means is 0-100 km/h is dealt with, in 6.1 seconds, as compared to the sluggish 6.7 seconds of the standard car, with absolutely no idea on the top speed numbers as MINI haven't shared it yet. I know, in today's hypercar world it doesn't sound like much, but look at it this way, the MINI was never meant to deliver sub 4 seconds acceleration times. What it was meant to do, is attack corners at a much more accessible speed while stretching the grin on the driver's face from ear to ear.
Visually, not much has changed between the JCW version and the car it is based upon. The front and rear bumpers get tweaked to a more aggressive styling to provide greater aerodynamics, making the car more slippery through the air. The previous S badging has made way for the much cooler and renowned JCW symbols, all around the car. Squat your way in, and you'll find you're laying your bottom on sportier JCW seats accompanied by a leather-wrapped sports steering, which is said to automatically adjust the steering sensitivity.
This MINI comes with three driving modes to choose from - Mid, Sport and Green. Like you would've guessed by now, the Green mode makes the JCW version kinder to polar bears and tries to minimize stops for fuel, the Sport setting sharpens up the throttle response and steering accuracy, to cater to your track days feels while the Mid would balance it out between the two, being the mode you would mostly keep the car in, for daily errands.
To protect you from winding up in the nearby forest, the JCW version comes standard with ABS, DSC, 3-point seat belts on all seats, Brake Assist, Crash Sensor and Cornering Brake Control. The responsibility of dealing with bumps and potholes is handed over to a Sport Suspension setting. However, you can opt for a plusher ride by ticking the box against the optional Adaptive Suspension (Rs 85,000).
Speaking on customization, MINI is providing you with a plethora of options, especially in the exterior paintwork and interior trim levels. One can choose from as many as 10 exterior paintwork options and if you feel none of those make the cut, you can configure your JCW similar to the one seen here, with the Rebel Green (Rs 60,000) option, which according to MINI is a modern take on the classic British Racing Green. Customers can further personalize the colour on the roof, mirror cap and the colour lines on the car. You can even opt for an 18-inch alloy (Rs 50,000) if you think the standard 17-inch doesn't fit the arch quite well. In terms of functional equipment, you can build your MINI with these optional features albeit at a cost - Adaptive LED lights with Matrix function, Tyre Pressure Monitor, MINI Navigation System and MINI Wired Package (which bumps up the 6.5-inch central display to a 8.8 touch screen system along with the Navigation system, wireless charging and Apple CarPlay).