Motor (Australia)

WORKS A CHARM?

John Cooper Works Mini lands at MOTOR’s HQ

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I’VE COME TO view Mini as BMW’s Trojan horse, slyly sneaking the notion of front-wheel drive into the hallowed halls of Munich. Let’s not forget that BMW was once a company so proud of it’s rear-wheel drive heritage that it produced a series of advertisem­ents that mocked drive going to the front treads. That has changed. BMW’s 128ti is now a front-drive hot hatch, and a very good one at that. Driving that car had piqued my curiosity. If the 128ti was that good, how would a properly hot Mini hatch stack up as a long term propositio­n?

So the latest addition to MOTOR’s garage is an Island Blue JCW hatch, all 170kW and 320Nm of attitude balled up in a stem to stern length of 3872mm. As much as we like to park Minis next to the originals and claim that they’re huge these days, it’s worth noting that this three-door is still nearly 200mm shorter than a Ford Fiesta ST. It’s dinky.

Climb inside and you’re greeted with the usual Mini dinner plate fascia, metallic toggle switches and steering wheel with a rim so chunky it feels like you’re trying to strangle Craig Kelly. For a car that sails comfortabl­y north of $50k, it’s quite surprising to find no electric seat adjustment, but I’d happily go without that for a seat which hunkers down good and low, which is exactly what the JCW offers.

What I’m not so delighted about is no mirroring for an Android phone. Come on, Mini! As I write this 72.2 per cent of world smartphone users choose the ’droid with only 27 per cent opting for an Apple. I just don’t buy the line that BMW – and indeed Porsche – has trotted out in the past that target customers are typically Apple users. This situation

 ?? ?? ABOVE
Alastair Brook is wearing an F1 cap, so you know that he’s nothing to mess with
ABOVE Alastair Brook is wearing an F1 cap, so you know that he’s nothing to mess with
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