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View Full Version : Hi HP new JCW Mini very expensive. Is it worth 4500 for the extra mods direc fromBMW?



JBsC5
03-18-2003, 09:23 AM
John Cooper Works-tuned Mini puts the emphasis on ‘Works’


By MIKE DUFF


$4,500. That's approximately how much it'll run you to convert a Cooper S to super-duper model like the “Works” package equipped model pictured above.
Premium products have premium prices.
That’s the way the world works: If something is worth having, then it’s worth spending money on. Even so, the Mini Cooper S pushes the edges of the pay-vs.-get equation: so small, so expensive. “Worth every penny!” scream legions of fans. Perhaps, but how about an even faster—and more expensive—Cooper?

The John Cooper Works performance pack for the Cooper S arrives Stateside in April, offering 200-hp and 177-lb-ft in exchange for (gulp) approximately $4,500 when you include installation cost. Other Mini tuning kits exist, of course, several of which promise the same (or more) power for less cash. But the “Works” package, also available for the standard Cooper, is the only one that comes through Mini dealers, with factory approval and full manufacturer warranty support.


John Cooper Works Mini Cooper S
ON SALE: April
VEHICLE PRICE: $30,000 (est.)
POWERTRAIN: 1.6-liter, 200-hp, 177-lb-ft, supercharged I4, fwd, six-speed manual
CURB WEIGHT: 2700 pounds
0-60 MPH: 6.3 seconds (est.)
TOP SPEED: 141 mph (mfr.)



As its name suggests, the oldest Mini tuner around engineered it. John Cooper, already a successful racing driver and team owner, took the original Alec Issigonis-designed Mini and turned it into an eponymous giant slayer, dominating much of 1960’s rallying and touring car racing. Cooper died three years ago, but his legacy lives on in the name of the production Mini and his tuning company, now managed by son Michael.
Ingredients for the über-Cooper include a supercharger with revised gearing that gives it more whiz and boost. There are also some reworked low-friction internals: hotter cams, a keener ECU, and a shiny new silencer on the muffler aims to reduce exhaust back pressure. Other than a discrete “John Cooper Works” badge, that’s the limit of the changes. The pack can be installed on a new car or retrofitted onto an existing car.

The JCW Cooper feels only marginally different to the standard Cooper S in urban crawl. Its exhaust note is slightly raspier—a pleasing “bup-bup-bup” on the overrun—and the supercharger’s whine marginally more nasal. The throttle response—already attack-dog keen on the S—is sharper still. Other than that, you’ll wonder if the hole in your account has been worth it.

That is until you get onto empty country roads where this Super Cooper’s case improves dramatically. In the middle of the rev counter, a fat seam of can-do torque makes for serious, any-gear overtaking punch (bringing to mind the ’60s British bumper sticker: “You’ve Been Mini’d!&#8221 images/icons/wink.gif .

At the top quarter of the rev range the JCW is better yet, losing the standard S’s slight breathlessness. Acceleration has an addictive exponential feel: it pulls harder and harder all the way to redline. With the quick shift of the six-speed transmission lending support and the supercharger’s charismatic wail shouting encouragement, it’s not long before you’ve hit 100 mph—and the very real prospect of a night in the gray bar hotel.

The standard chassis bits are more than up to handling the 37 extra horses. Torque steer isn’t an issue, certainly without ridiculous first or second gear acceleration over big bumps. The extra power helps to balance the chassis on faster corners if you adopt the age-old front-drive technique of fast-in, fast-out: throw it in at an optimistic speed, accelerate until the front starts to nudge wide and then throttle back into a big, fat zone of exploitable neutrality. It would be an exceptionally well-driven Porsche Boxster that manages to pull ground over the Works S through a sequence of bends.

That’s a key to understanding here. Sure, with a couple of well-chosen options the JCW-equipped Cooper S will push $30,000, serious green for a dinky sub-subcompact. But for a Boxster-baiting, German engineered sports coupe massaged by one of the most highly regarded tuners in the world? It’s almost a bargain.