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Loving his JCW!!!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so i went for a test drive today in the JCW to reassure myself that ive done the right thing. Basically, it was great fun!

The car was fitted with the factory sport suspension, which gives a firm (not hard) but very controlled ride. (because of this I may remove the JCW suspension upgrade from my order). Blasting down some extremely bumpy country roads, the car fared better than i thought it might having read some of the press reviews. It is quite lively, but the wheel is easily controllable. When planting the throttle, the steering wheel seemed to flick a tiny bit right momentarily, but again it was only what id expect from a 208bhp front wheel drive car, and not what id call"unbearable torque steer" as some of the magazines did. I had some great fun on a couple of roundabouts - its a very grippy chassis :)

As for the power delivery - superb! Ive not driven an R56 cooper s before, so i cant compare, and s owners may be used to this, but the engine is so driveable. There is power and torque very low down: I was driving at 50 in sixth gear, and planted the throttle to pass a lorry without dropping down, and the car still responded well and pulled cleanly and quickly to pass. From standstill it also gets away very niclely - no hesitation - and accelerates really well. Bear in mind the car i drove had only done 20 miles, and the engine felt like it could loosed up a bit in the top half of the rev range.

One of the best parts of this car were the brakes. Ive driven a Clio 197 a couple of times, and found the brakes snatchy and horrible when driving slowly. The new JCW brakes however have an extremely smooth bite. The dealer said to me: "accelerate hard into that next corner, and use the brakes!" All i can say is they stop soo damn well!!!

In the cabin the soundtrack is very muted. I noticed quite a rumble from those nasty runflats though. Put the window down a bit though, and i noticed the pop from the exhaust is back! From the rear too the exhaust note is very nice. Its a gind of growly burble. Very understated, but good all the same.

This car to me is extremely fun. I couldn't stop smiling after 45mins at the wheel. Yes it is lively under hard acceleration, but that to me is part of the fun of a hot hatch. It certainly wasn't dangerous or uncontrollable, and the wheel needed no wrestling with. It was also extremely easy to drive slowly, because of the flexibility of the engine. I have NO regrets, even at this price!

IIt would be great to here what other people who have driven one think! I guess new owners won't really have driven their cars in anger yet with running in periods, but im sure loads of you will have been for test drives.
 

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Hey Rogan, thanks for your thoughts. I have a test drive booked on Saturday morning so will let you know what I think. My daily driver is a Cooper, but I've also owned an R53 Cooper S, and V6 TT, so I'm interested to find out how it stacks up. Will test against the standard S too and see if I think its worth the extra cash!
 

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I'm avin 'oops
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Am booking mine after my holiday so early August

Wil let you know
 

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FS58MBW
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Just got back from my dealer - it was his birthday and I felt like it was mine too! Their demonstrator is Astro Black (not that it matters) and looked totally understated. He tossed me the key thingy and said he hadn't driven it yet but Dave, the business manager had nabbed it as his daily drive. OK, the drive! Even with four up (I had company as well as the dealer) it was amazing. First thing I noticed on firing it up was that it sounds exactly like a Mini should. Sweet sounding to start with then that lovely growly burble as the revs pick up. (Part way into the drive I put the window down to better appreciate the music coming form the tail pipes - lovely). First bit on city streets, had to just tickle the throttle and immediately noticed the torque in higher gears. I didn't try but I'm sure it would pull away from a stop in 4th. Brakes, very sharp and require a tender touch at low speeds. Like you say Rogan - great fun on roundabouts and the dealer encouraged me (not that I needed any) to have some fun as I entered a dual carriageway. Acceleration phenomenal and it went exactly where I wanted it. A quick glance glance at the speedo suggested I should get the speed down to somewhere aproaching legal levels. A quick blast up a very uneven and bumpy semi-rural road did two things. It showed me that the suspension is not as stiff as I thought it would be, not sure about the passengers but I thought for a car of this nature almost compliant. The second thing concurs with some of the reviews; not torque steer but a tendency to follow every change in camber. Perhaps I wasn't driving it as hard as some of the reviewers but there was no need to wrestle the wheel at all. Then back on city streets, this time sitting back in the traffic and it was as tame as you want it to be. About six weeks ago when I placed my order I had driven the dealers R56 Cooper S with JCW kit and was impressed then. The factory model is somehow both more refined yet more bonkers at the same time. Decision confirmed and roll on Sept 1! I haven't driven a car that is more fun :)
 

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Superb!

Ok so there was me being all sceptical about the new JCW... How wrong I was!

I went over to Mini Sytner in Coventry (not my usual dealer) and picked up the keys to the JCW. I just want to say how excellent Jon (Dealership Manager) was. Very clued up on what he is selling, and really knows his stuff... Quite rare nowadays!

I spoke to Jon earlier in the day over the phone and he said pop down before 4:30 and you can have the car for the rest of the day. I thought he would have taken me out for 30 mins or so... Oh no, he took a copy of my drivers license and a few details and through my the key, "all yours, bring it back before I go home"! So I actually had the car from 3:30 til 5:30.

The Drive....

I pulled off of the forecourt with the drivers window down and instantly noticed the new sound track to the car, beautiful. Totally different from the R56 MCS, and from what I have heard of the R53 MCS totally different. Snap, Crackle and Pop at it's best.

I was not expecting such a difference with the acceleration response. As I pulled away from the dealership I accelerated how I would in my current R56 MCS and nearly took off (no sport engadged at this point). The response is so much smoother and refined and much sharper, I noticed no torque steer at this point even though I was accelerating as I turned.

I was in the city so decided to try and get it out and onto the dual carriageway/country side. I found the city driving more enjoyable than in my current MCS due to the fact the bite was not as 'hard' to control (Maybe due to the fact this is a new car and not run in yet?). Not only was the driving better but the sound was great and turned more heads than normal :D

When I eventually got out to the dual carriageway I opened the throttle up (within reason) and again, instantly felt a substantial difference. Far more responsive in higher gears, you can, without a shadow of a doubt feel those extra horses under the bonnet! Coming off the dual carriageway I touched the brakes as I normally would and felt I had much more stopping power.

On the country roads is where the car really came to life... There are some lovely long and challenging lanes near to where I was. I first drove the car with no sport activated, which felt great, very grippy and reactive. Then I turned the Sport on, not a HUGE difference, but deffinetley a difference. More grip and even more fun under the right foot (or so it felt- maybe it was phsocilogical because I had presses that button?). The ride was good, not as bumpy and jumpy as my MCS, maybe due to the fact that my car has 18's and not the 17's that are standard. I really enjoyed the ride on the 17's, however I do think the 18's would asthetically look better.

So after burning up a bit of fuel and having a good play it was time to give it back :(

Overall an excellent car. My worries have certainly been squashed, not a great deal of torque steer, certainly no more than an MCS. Personally I quite enjoy it... makes it a bit more fun to drive (not that it needs to be anymore fun).

Would I buy one? Simple answer is yes. However, my only worry is the amount my sort of spec would cost. WIth the Recaros, 18's and a few other dealer fits it would be over the £30k mark. Is it worth the money... You better believe it!

Ben.

(I apologise if my spelling is crap... The spell check is not working!)
 

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Great reviews guys ! Much better than the press, answered a few of my concerns. Roll on delivery, whenever that may be.

cheers
 

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Waiting for Works Clubman
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The car was fitted with the factory sport suspension, which gives a firm (not hard) but very controlled ride. (because of this I may remove the JCW suspension upgrade from my order).
Good to hear, as I'm essenially likely to do the same. I'd started to worry about speccing the JCW suspension to deal with all this "torque steer talk", as it seems that th etwitchiness mentioned by the reviewers may not be torque steer at all, but the sort of problems first complained about with the R50/R52 suspension (especially when running on runflats), tramlining and camber-following.

Blasting down some extremely bumpy country roads, the car fared better than i thought it might having read some of the press reviews. It is quite lively, but the wheel is easily controllable. When planting the throttle, the steering wheel seemed to flick a tiny bit right momentarily, but again it was only what id expect from a 208bhp front wheel drive car, and not what id call"unbearable torque steer" as some of the magazines did. I had some great fun on a couple of roundabouts - its a very grippy chassis :)
I see that EVO magazine particularly hated the handling :(

I'll be very interested to read what people think about torque steer when they start reviewing a 290BHP FWD Focus.

As for the power delivery - superb! Ive not driven an R56 cooper s before, so i cant compare, and s owners may be used to this, but the engine is so driveable. There is power and torque very low down: I was driving at 50 in sixth gear, and planted the throttle to pass a lorry without dropping down, and the car still responded well and pulled cleanly and quickly to pass.
That's good to hear. If I'm doing 50 in 6th my R52 MCS and want to overtake, I'll usually drop down not to 5th but 4th, and occasionally 3rd if I really want to get it to shift quickly! There's no point at all truying to accelerate in 6th, and precious little action in 5th in the old S.

From standstill it also gets away very niclely - no hesitation - and accelerates really well. Bear in mind the car i drove had only done 20 miles, and the engine felt like it could loosed up a bit in the top half of the rev range.
How much does DCS/DTC/whatever intervene when pulling away from a standstill? My R52 MCS has tried to kill me on mny, many occasions, by letting me pull out at a junction/roundablut, before detecting a tiny possibility of wheelspin and deciding to kill all power to the wheels. The 4 things I hate about the original S was the way the back end accumulated dirt, the weedy brakes (though mine have been MUCH worse since the last pad change; they were bearable up until then), the aimed-too-low headlights (main beam being scarcely higher than dipped!), and the ruddy "suicide by DCS".

One of the best parts of this car were the brakes. Ive driven a Clio 197 a couple of times, and found the brakes snatchy and horrible when driving slowly. The new JCW brakes however have an extremely smooth bite. The dealer said to me: "accelerate hard into that next corner, and use the brakes!" All i can say is they stop soo damn well!!!
Nice!

i noticed the pop from the exhaust is back!
What pop? Mine's *never* popped :(

This car to me is extremely fun. I couldn't stop smiling after 45mins at the wheel. Yes it is lively under hard acceleration, but that to me is part of the fun of a hot hatch. It certainly wasn't dangerous or uncontrollable, and the wheel needed no wrestling with. It was also extremely easy to drive slowly, because of the flexibility of the engine. I have NO regrets, even at this price!
Excellent summary, and good news too. I'd have to say, I *very* nearly bought a Clubman D back in March - borrowed one for the day, liked the financial implications (which are MASSIVE for someone self-employed like me), but thought the car felt *OK*. Thought long and hard about ordering one, or *maybe* going for the S (wasted about an hour of the dealer's time). Got into my S for the drive home, and spent the next 45 minutes grinning - the old S has propelled me for many, many miles, but it could still generate a grin where the diesel never would.

A couple of days later, MINI announced the factory JCW and I knew at that point I'd not be buying the D *or* the S. Hang the expense, it's a JCW or nothing.

Though I'm *still* annoyed at having to wait until next year for the Clubman.
 

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I went over to Mini Sytner in Coventry (not my usual dealer)
Nor mine, although I bought my MINI from them 6 years ago.

I thought he would have taken me out for 30 mins or so... Oh no, he took a copy of my drivers license and a few details and through my the key, "all yours, bring it back before I go home"! So I actually had the car from 3:30 til 5:30.
All I've ever got from Sytner Coventry is their "standard" circuit - up the A45 towards Brum for a couple of miles, then back along the twisty local roads. It's a fair mix of dual carriageway, lanes, and junctions, but not very original after the 3rd or 4th trip :(

I think I might try for my (first) test drive tomorrow. If I've got to wait at least 6 more months, you can bet that I'm going to aim for regular reminders of why I've prdered the car.
 

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Loving his JCW!!!
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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How much does DCS/DTC/whatever intervene when pulling away from a standstill? My R52 MCS has tried to kill me on mny, many occasions, by letting me pull out at a junction/roundablut, before detecting a tiny possibility of wheelspin and deciding to kill all power to the wheels. .......
As i said ive no experience of the old or new MCS, but this car definately didnt intervene harshly when pulling away. I wasnt looking at the dash much, but the dealer said the traction light was busy - it must be a pretty smooth system as i noticed it very little. On a couple of big and relatively fast roundabouts i pulled into small gaps that i probably shouldnt have, and the car burst into action fine!
To be honest with so much front wheeled power, an obtrusive traction control system would severely limit the car. I think with crappy runflats you are bound to get a degree of slip when accelerating hard, so the system must allow for this.?

What pop? Mine's *never* popped :(
You know! The sort of "poppling" from the exhaust when you lift off the throttle. I think its engineered into the engine map for aural satisfaction purposes!
 

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How much does DCS/DTC/whatever intervene when pulling away from a standstill? My R52 MCS has tried to kill me on mny, many occasions, by letting me pull out at a junction/roundablut, before detecting a tiny possibility of wheelspin and deciding to kill all power to the wheels. The 4 things I hate about the original S was the way the back end accumulated dirt, the weedy brakes (though mine have been MUCH worse since the last pad change; they were bearable up until then), the aimed-too-low headlights (main beam being scarcely higher than dipped!), and the ruddy "suicide by DCS".
I was really trying to get the DSC to kick in and failed. I had a slight flicker on the dash as i pulled off quite hard, however there was no loss of power!

Very impressive technology in my opinion, I know the press has been quite negative about the system but I really could not fault it. If it did kick in at any point whilst I was driving it was not noticeable!
 

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MCS AB Owner! =D
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I'm not going to be able to bag a test drive at our local dealer! Spoke to the salesman who dealt with my MCS and had a very good chat with him looking around their showroom JCW (all as in press releases). He said to me that you cannot take a test drive of the their road demonstrator unless you really want to buy it! The main reason is that they've sold the demonstrator already! They want to keep the miles as low as possible which is fair enough!

I may not bother until later this year when car sales are quieter or early next year. :D
 

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Had a test drive myself today.

Ufortunately the local roads are *really* unsuited to seeing what the car is like when driven properly (doubly so if you're being extra careful not to bend the dealer's brand-new car, especially as half of the other drivers in the area have only a passing acquaintence with the Highway Code and are probably uninsured). So you can take what I have to say with a pinch of salt, because I wasn't able to go anywhere near the limits of the car (and it's only by driving close to the limits that ou can discover how a car really performs).

But FWIW, I didn't notice any torque steer - either the journalists are all wimps, or 6 years of driving a race-tuned Rover Mini means I'm pretty well innoculated against any amount of torque steer short of the sort that dumps you in a hedge. Neither did I really notice the car camber-following (but again, 6 years of R52 MCS where that problem was pretty extreme means that I'd probably not notice it if the JCW car was doing this).

What I did notice was two things. First of all the torque. There's lots of it. Obviously pressing the loud pedal at 2,000 RPM in 6th gear isn't going to slam you into the back of the seat, but it *did* accelerate under those conditions, and did so at least twice as quickly as the R52. But it was also pretty easy to get wheel spin in second by flooring it. Oh, and without DCS slamming on the brakes, which makes a welcome change for me. In fact, I don't recall seeing the DCS light once (though that's at least partly down to not driving the car properly).

Secondly, I really noticed the brakes. So it was just as well that DCS as got a whole lot milder than it was when first introduced. Those bigger brakes have some proper stopping power. And without slamming you into the windscreen every time you just want to bleed off a little speed, too. But proper anchors - again, much better than my R52 MCS.

The suspension I thought was fine, the seats were fine, and I still struggle to tell the difference in performance when pressing the sports button (apart from the steering wheel stiffening up, I think that the main reason for the sports button is to give you a choice between driving along with the little green light on, or off). The exhaust looks fine, though I didn't really hear much of it as I was too busy trying not to crash into the indigenous population.

I suppose that I *ought* to try out one of the Megane or Clio Cup cars, and compare them all to a Golf before I make my final decision, but overall I'd say that the JCW is a definate step up frm the S, with no obvious flaws apart from the high price.
 

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I suppose that I *ought* to try out one of the Megane or Clio Cup cars, and compare them all to a Golf before I make my final decision, but overall I'd say that the JCW is a definate step up frm the S, with no obvious flaws apart from the high price.
Yep I can't argue against any of those cars as rivals but I just don't desire them. Can't even be bothered to take off my slippers and slip on some trainers to test drive them. Never mind I will be up early and excited tomorrow because I test drive Monsieur Lovetts demo JCW. My only worry is the low mileage may not show it at it's best and I can't really afford it yet :eek: .
 

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Factory JCW
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Well as i have a few days off , i thought id pop along a take a test drive today, even though im Not gonna buy the JCW, i wanted to compare it to how my car is running at the moment with the mods. Plus at £20.995 with cloth seats a big no no..

Well i was impressed with the brakes , i managed to get the traction control to cut in on acceleration in 1st and 2nd, and even in 3rd :eek: I was lucky enough to drive the car for a good hour and stress i pushed it hard, it had only done 40 miles!!
As for noise from the exhaust i can see what you all mean, it does sound better then standard, had few pops, but still not as good as my old R53.. And my current Milteck on my car ;)

Overall to get the spec on my car id be looking at £25k.. :eek: And i know of better cars thats if i was payin this for that id be buyin..

Anyway overall a nice car , but too over priced when you spec it up.
Ill save myself £10k, cause thats the diffrence if i was to trade mine in, and spend £400 geting a remap and being quicker than the JCW :D
 

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Waiting for Works Clubman
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Yep I can't argue against any of those cars as rivals but I just don't desire them. Can't even be bothered to take off my slippers and slip on some trainers to test drive them.
You are so not wrong. Even if the Megane is a rocketship, it still looks really, stupendously ugly (and it's French). The Clio isn't quite as ugly, but it's still French. And I've never been impressed by Hondas, either.

The JCW has a *huge* amount of grunt. Bags more than the original MINI Cooper S. And *huge* brake discs, with stopping power but fortunately without the sort of instant bite that gets uncomfortable.

Nope, apart from the fact that it's too expensive (and my spec is looking at about £26k), I'm in the "impressed" camp.

PS, did I mention the grunt? There's a lot of it.
 

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I went to Bowker Blackburn last night to have a nosey. The salesman said If i SPeced up this week I would have my car in a month. I have heard that dealers have "slots", but a month on a JCW? Think he was telling the truth?

BTW Bowker dont have a car available as a demonstrator, just one in the showroom to sit in.
 

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I sat in a JCW at the motor show yesterday and it had cloth seats would I spend 21 grand plus the the optional extras for leather seats etc I dont know. The aliminum alloys looked really good and are exclusive to this car. I own a GP and will probably have a test drive some time next year to see how it measures up
 

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Test drove one tuesday - I hadnt given the DSC much thought. My old works used to cut in all of teh time. Didnt notice on the JCW erm John Cooper Works. It was a blast to drive and sounded great! Collect mine this evening. :D:D:D:D:D:D:cool::cool::):)
 

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Yet another test drive.

Well I test drove a JCW this morning. The whole experience is dominated by the performance. Ignore the 0-60 times, they are I expect more of a limitation of FWD. The in gear performance is amazing, well above what my S manages and I have never criticised that. My S lacks the popping others get, maybe I should have bought a Milltek while they were on offer. This JCW cures that and then some with pretty fearsome bangs that must be even louder outside. I loved the sound. The brakes have gone from barely adequate to excellent. If I don't get a JCW I will get those brakes. I am no expert so I don't want to argue what is torque steer and what isn't but if it is tugging at the steering wheel then .... pah it hardly exists at all. I thought the steering wheel writhed a bit but I want feel from it so I was happy with that. I had been led to believe the steering was a lot lighter, well it was fine with the sport button engaged but not as much feel through the steering. I'm not sure how much that was contributing to that to me it didn't feel as well planted as my R53 round the bends. Still better than it's rivals though. However the front of the car jinks from side to side when under acceleration on anything than a smooth road (so it jumps about on most UK roads!). Some people have argued this is part of the character of the car but I personally did not like it. I had also been led to believe the ride would be a lot better, it isn't but then maybe that is function of my car having non-runflats and Koni FSD's. The ride is more refined though i.e. it doesn't make as much noise hitting bumps and potholes. The rest of the car is standard with all the pluses of a small car driven rapidly. This is a very very good car, but my 2003 S is also a very good car. Do I want to spend the difference in value for new car benefits and an extra very?
I am undecided :rolleyes: .
 

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Waiting for Works Clubman
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I am no expert so I don't want to argue what is torque steer and what isn't but if it is tugging at the steering wheel then .... pah it hardly exists at all. I thought the steering wheel writhed a bit but I want feel from it so I was happy with that.
Nope, that's not what torque steer is. That tugging is steering kickback.

However the front of the car jinks from side to side when under acceleration on anything than a smooth road (so it jumps about on most UK roads!). Some people have argued this is part of the character of the car but I personally did not like it.
*That* is torque steer. It can be caused by many things, but it's basically down to the torque of the engine pulling harder on one side's driveshaft than the other (and sometimes switching between the two). And with 280Nm of torque, it'd be impressive if they could completely eliminate it.

Though the jinking aout could also be down to RF tyres following the bumps.

Do I want to spend the difference in value for new car benefits and an extra very?
I am undecided :rolleyes: .
Would I trade in a perfectly good MCS, plus about ten grand, to buy a JCW? No way. Would I trade in a perfectly good but now quite old MCS, that frankly ought to have been replaced a year ago (but I was broke then) because it's already driven a lot of miles, to buy a JCW? Yup.

I've never understood people spending thousands to either trade up from their current car or to modify their current car when the increase is going to be noticeable but not huge. And to a lot of people, the choice between the JCW and the S will be just that sort of choice. You're not really buying £3,000 worth of "better" car (I say £3k, because the JCW price includes stuff like aircon that isn't included in the S price). If you're concerned with value for money in cars you're always better off going for the basic spec version of a more expensive car than buying the top of the range version of a more modest model range (ie if you could have a top of the range 3-series or a bottom of the range 7-series for the same money, you're getting better value from that 7-series). But for some of us, we just have to have the fancier car.
 
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