The Mini Cooper is as cute as a button and its compact size, though an inconvenience for its lack of cargo space, fits like a glove for carving through mountain roads. The hopped-up John Cooper Works version makes a clear bias toward driving performance over comfort. The Cooper JCW packs a 228-hp turbocharged inline-four with either an eight-speed automatic or a hardtop-only six-speed manual transmission. The car’s suspension tuning results in handling that feels like its 17-inch tires are glued to the ground, which makes it a bit too aggressive for daily use. Still, it’s the only compact that delivers this much thrill with an available convertible variant. While there’s no shortage of front-tire fire available from the Cooper JCW, a tight cockpit and equally tight cargo space could spell trouble for your hauling needs.
What’s New for 2024?
Mini makes no major changes for the John Cooper Works Hardtop lineup for the 2024 model year, though the JCW Convertible’s starting price has grown significantly from last year’s $41,500.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
JCW Hardtop Classic
JCW Hardtop Iconic
JCW Convertible Signature
JCW Convertible Iconic
The JCW Hardtop comes with LED headlights, front fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, heated and power-adjustable side mirrors, and a rear spoiler. We’d stick with the six-speed manual transmission but upgrade to the Signature Trim, which adds a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Mini Cooper JCW wields a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four that makes 228 horsepower. The sole transmission for the convertible is an eight-speed automatic, whereas Hardtop buyers get a choice between that and a six-speed manual. In our track testing, a JCW convertible with the slushbox made the dash to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. An automatic-equipped Volkswagen GTI, a natural competitor to the JCW, managed it in 5.1 seconds. Relative to the standard Mini Cooper, the JCW brings features such as Brembo brakes, a more aggressive suspension, and an electronically locking front differential. All this combines to help it deliver precise handling that’s a treat for enthusiasts. However, this Mini’s firm suspension can make the ride unpleasantly choppy on rough roads.
More on the Cooper JCW SUV
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The JCW’s fuel-economy estimates vary based on body style and transmission. The most fuel-efficient combo is the Hardtop with the eight-speed automatic, which is rated for 25 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. The JCW convertible we tested on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy beat that estimate by 2 mpg. The EPA gave the JCW with the six-speed manual transmission 22 mpg city and 31 mpg for highway travel. For more information about the Cooper JCW’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The JCW’s cabin boasts high-quality materials plus whimsical design elements like the circular framing that houses the infotainment system’s touchscreen. Relative to other subcompacts, the Mini doesn’t rank highly when it comes to utility. Back-seat legroom is tight; most adults will feel cramped. In the Hardtop, this Mini provides nine cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seats and 34 cubic feet with them folded. (The convertible is even worse, offering just six cubes of trunk space.)
The Car and Driver Difference
Infotainment and Connectivity
All Mini JCWs come with an 8.8-inch infotainment display with SiriusXM satellite radio, a six-speaker stereo, and Bluetooth phone and streaming audio. The list of optional equipment includes a premium Harman/Kardon sound system, in-dash navigation, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, and wireless charging for your devices. Unfortunately, Android Auto capability isn’t available.
How to Buy and Maintain a Car
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The JCW comes with driver-assistance features that can help you avoid accidents. However, blind-spot monitoring isn’t included in the lineup. For more information about the JCW’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Mini delivers solid warranty coverage, with three years of complimentary scheduled maintenance—something that isn’t offered by competing sport compacts such as the Honda Civic Type R.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary scheduled maintenance is covered for three years or 36,000 miles
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2022 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible
Vehicle Type: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 2-door convertible
Base/As Tested: $39,750/$46,250
Options: Iconic trim, $6000; Mini Yours soft top, $500
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 122 in3, 1998 cm3
Power: 228 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque: 236 lb-ft @ 1450 rpm
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 13.2-in vented disc/10.2-in disc
Tires: Pirelli P Zero PZ4 Run Flat
205/40R-18 86W ★
Wheelbase: 98.2 in
Length: 152.8 in
Width: 68.0 in
Height: 55.7 in
Passenger Volume: 77 ft3
Trunk Volume: 5 ft3
Curb Weight: 3109 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 5.7 sec
1/4-Mile: 14.2 sec @ 100 mph
130 mph: 28.6 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 6.2 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.3 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.9 sec
Top Speed (mfr’s claim): 149 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 169 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 348 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.86 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 24 mpg
75-mph Highway Driving: 36 mpg
Highway Range: 410 mi
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 28/24/33 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
More Features and Specs