Take a look at the 2017 MINI John Cooper Works (JCW) Convertible. You know it’s going to be fun…boppy, brash and in your face, you just know it!
The car tested was finished in a glorious dark green, reminiscent of British Racing Green, and the bonnet sported two dark racing stripes edged in fine red lines.
There’s a red horizontal line across the grille, and red contrast stitching in the upholstery.
The JCW alloy wheels look good too, as do the twin chrome exhaust tips, and braking is thanks to the Brembo sports system with red calipers. It absolutely looks the part.
And if that’s not enough to get the attention of admirers, check out the optional Union Jack motif in shades of grey on the fold down roof ($900).
I must admit that convertibles aren’t my favourite cars…scuttle shake combined with the prospect of sunburn isn’t my idea of a good time.
So, despite its good looks, I had mixed feelings about this new offering from MINI. That is until i drove it.
This car is powered by a 2.0 litre, four-cylinder twin turbo petrol engine, producing 170kW and 320Nm, a boost in power and torque over the previous model.
There’s a six-speed sports automatic transmission, and manual is available.
The company claims 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds and fuel consumption of 6.2 litres per 100km.
There’s a choice of driving selections, my favourite, as you might have guessed, the Sports mode, giving the closest feeling you’ll get to the exhilaration of driving a go-kart.
Handling is great, whether you choose Sports or Regular settings.
Did I mention the soundtrack? Not only does the MINI JCW Convertible look the part, but it certainly sounds it too.
That muffled roar says here’s a sports car that means business, and to prove it, the exhaust delivers highly satisfying pops and crackles.
The convertible roof folds down in about 18 seconds at speeds of up to 30km/h.
There’s rollover protection in the form of a reinforced windscreen frame and another active system that deploys within milliseconds.
Or if you’d rather, there’s a sunroof setting where the roof slides back just 40 cms.
Scuttle shake wasn’t particularly evident, although there was some intrusion of road noise thanks to the fabric of the convertible roof.
If you liked the circular central dial dominating the dash of previous MINIs, fear not. It’s there, complete with the familiar Wurlitzer style flashing lights.
Stainless steel pedals, and the John Cooper Works logo adorns the door sills.
It’s a lovely driving position, the head-up display shows all the info you could ask for, fit and finish are good, Bluetooth connects quickly and the seating is most comfortable.
The rear seats? MINI says there’s more room back there than before.
OK, I’ll take their word for it, but I must confess I didn’t even try getting into the back.
Nor do I think carrying golf clubs around would be particularly easy. I note however, the rear seats split to allow extra storage in the boot.
This is a sports car though, and it performs admirably.
Base price is $54,900, with added options, the test car came in at $61,290 before on-roads.
The base prices is cheaper than the outgoing model, but it’s still pricey, when you consider the cheaper Cooper Convertible and Cooper S Convertible.
If this is your kind of motoring, maybe take them all for a spin before you decide.
The Mini JCW Convertible. More powerful than before, and cheaper too.
As promised, fun, boppy, brash and in your face. Drives and handles as you would expect, and that sound!
Some will buy the car for the exhaust snap, crackle and pop alone!
NUTS and BOLTS - 2017 MINI John Cooper Works Convertible
Engine: 2.0 litre turbo-petrol producing 170kW/320Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic or six-speed manual
Safety: Not tested
Warranty: Three years
Price: from $54,990