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Discussion Starter #1
Thought I would put pen to paper:

I’ve had a courtesy R56 JCW this week as my R53 JCW is at the dealer having a few little bits looked at.

All I can say is BMW/Mini have spoilt the car!!, I haven’t driven an R56 Cooper-S so I cant compare it with that, but the JCW feels as if it has too much power, whereas my R53 JCW (with LSD) feels as if it could handle much more.

I’m not a fan of the R56 model shape at all, I think it’s lost its cool-small-car look, the R56 feels heavier and more like a Golf. The Turbo doesn’t suit the character of the car at all and presumably because of the JCW pack when on boost felt like it was overwhelming the front wheels.

The interior admittedly is really funky, but the one I have been leant has an awful speedo around the rim of the big dial in the centre of the dashboard, its almost impossible to see what speed you are doing and takes literally seconds off the road to look at it.

Even my totally un-car’y wife said un-coerced she hasn’t enjoyed driving it and even said she had had a scary moment driving it; when conversely she loves our R53 JCW and comes back at times admitting she’s had a fun drive in it.

The engine sounds like a diesel on start-up and the exhaust boring, not at all like the old JCW.

To summarise I think Mini have spoilt the feeling of the ‘original’ model with its bigger looks, feeling of heaviness and the JCW engine pack has made it actually not nice to drive. I can’t remember having not liked driving a particular car until this R56 JCW and I’ve had much quicker/faster/powerful cars in the past but they all have been a rounded-package.

Obviously all of the above is only my opinion and I could have actually written more unflattering words about it, but it just goes to show what a fantastic car the old JCW is!!!
 

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JCW 250
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Thought I would put pen to paper:

I’ve had a courtesy R56 JCW this week as my R53 JCW is at the dealer having a few little bits looked at.

All I can say is BMW/Mini have spoilt the car!!, I haven’t driven an R56 Cooper-S so I cant compare it with that, but the JCW feels as if it has too much power, whereas my R53 JCW (with LSD) feels as if it could handle much more.

I’m not a fan of the R56 model shape at all, I think it’s lost its cool-small-car look, the R56 feels heavier and more like a Golf. The Turbo doesn’t suit the character of the car at all and presumably because of the JCW pack when on boost felt like it was overwhelming the front wheels.

The interior admittedly is really funky, but the one I have been leant has an awful speedo around the rim of the big dial in the centre of the dashboard, its almost impossible to see what speed you are doing and takes literally seconds off the road to look at it.

Even my totally un-car’y wife said un-coerced she hasn’t enjoyed driving it and even said she had had a scary moment driving it; when conversely she loves our R53 JCW and comes back at times admitting she’s had a fun drive in it.

The engine sounds like a diesel on start-up and the exhaust boring, not at all like the old JCW.

To summarise I think Mini have spoilt the feeling of the ‘original’ model with its bigger looks, feeling of heaviness and the JCW engine pack has made it actually not nice to drive. I can’t remember having not liked driving a particular car until this R56 JCW and I’ve had much quicker/faster/powerful cars in the past but they all have been a rounded-package.

Obviously all of the above is only my opinion and I could have actually written more unflattering words about it, but it just goes to show what a fantastic car the old JCW is!!!
I know this isnt what the thread is about but... your dealer gave you an R56 JCW for a courtesy car?! Blimey... All the courtesy cars from dealers near me are 116 BMW's or an abused and slightly battered MINI cooper.

Im still to have a go in an R56 S or JCW so this makes interesting reading - am having a go in the factory works next week though.. :)
 

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Hi Space Cadet, I presume it is the 193bhp r56 works you are talking about? I agree having driven the r56 jcw, the interior in general is a step up from the r53 jcw, but the power delivery is very different from the r53 jcw, because the turbo spools up and then comes on boost the power tends to overwhelm the front wheels, where as the r53 jcw had a linear power delivery with peak power coming in right at the top of the rev range, this is in my opinion why the r56 has torque steer. In terms of exhaust note, I don't think many cars compare to the r53 jcw when popping on the overrun. Did you think it was faster than your car?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
……well they owed me a favour so I’ve got the manager’s car.

….. not sure which R56 JCW it is, didn’t realise there were different power outputs, it hasn’t got the JCW Brembos so perhaps it’s not the very latest model.

A few years ago I had a MK4 GTI with circa 250bhp through the front wheels without any LSD’s or trick electronics and it handled the power admirably, the next turbo-fwd was a MK5 GTI and this had close to 300bhp and again handled it again without any fuss.

The R56 JCW I have been driving feels like say a bog-standard Golf 1.4 with a dirty great turbo fitted to it.

Agree with regards the exhaust tone, it actually sounds chavvy and boomy when driving slowly up my road.

Not sure if it’s any faster, would presume on paper it is but would guess may be not until 3rd gear with 4k revs, before that point the Supercharged R53 feels as if it’s quicker.

I’ve really taken to our R53 JCW, I would have to look elsewhere when/if we think about changing it, certainly wouldn’t get an R56 JCW.
 

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R56 has more torque than the R53, but it's constant from 2000rpm upwards. It will light up the tyres if you're trying to use all of it on bumpy bends, and it's much easier to get all of it than with the R53.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I gave the R56 JCW a really good pasting over the weekend and it only confirmed my previous comments, sure it’s got lots of power and torque (apparently it’s the 190-odd bhp model) but the power just doesn’t feel connected to the car if that makes sense.

The torque steer just doesn’t promote quick safe driving down country lanes because if you give it full beans it pulls you towards the nearest hedge, whereas my R32 JCW just digs in and hurls you towards the next bend.

My wife went out on her own over the weekend and came back with the same comments that she cant wait to get our R53 back (hopefully tonight) as 2 or 3 times she wheel-spinned.

I had this same conversation with the Mini garage manager ‘owner’ of the R56 and he said that he loves it and loves the torque steer and drives around it.

Now I would consider myself a reasonable driver having tamed many a powerful car in the past and I can confidently say that I haven’t enjoyed driving the R56 JCW one bit - I can’t wait to get our R53 back!!!
 

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Crakle and pop!!
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Intresting this one, i have never driven a car with torque steer as my current car (standard r53 s) is the quickest/most powerful i have driven. (Previous cars a mini cooper r50 and a 1.0 litre corsa, now thats power for you lol). I havent had a go yet in any of the new s models, be it standard or tuned. I know they are quicker due to having more torque and power than mine and thus will be quicker, but i wonder if it is as fun to drive? Who knows i suppose ill have to try one out lol.

Certainly from your write up though it looks like you have driven some quick cars, didnt Top Gear complain about the VXR Astra and its torque steer ruining the fun? Has anyone driven one of these?
 

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i feel differently about the new jcw. my friend has a 2008 cooper s with the jcw engine kit, brakes , suspension and body kit and i own a 2005 jcw s.
i thought the new car felt alot more quicker and powerful because it makes the power so easily and low down but if you rev it out or give it a 1/4mile run it dosent feel as quick as the old car but its alot quicker around town.
i prefer my cars interior and harmon kardon stereo over the new cars. the new car has better, more supportive seats though and the gearbox is alot smoother and the clutch is easier to use. as for the engine sound you can hear the turbo working away and the induction sound is great. as for the exhaust i think it sounds a bit like a r32 golfs and it still bubbles and pops just not as much.the jcw brakes didnt seem any different that mine but they look nice and i guess the wont fade around a track but ive never had my stock ones fade anyway. the suspension feels just the same as the older cars stock suspension, that is very firm.torque steer it was only slightly more than my car and it didnt really bother me as im used to it from mine.
in the end i really enjoyed the new car and i will diffenetly upgrade if i can get one for the right price. to me it feels like the old car but just newer and it makes the power sooner but just misses out on the lovely supercharger wine.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Finally got our R53 JCW back last night, it was a good comparison to see it and the courtesy-car R56 JCW together (coincidentally they were the same dark-silver), the R53 just looks better and after a short drive realised just how much nicer it is to drive and also how much nicer the interior is. It just feels like a driver’s car!!, needless to say I’m glad to have it back.

Even the guy from Mini (not the normal ‘owner’) who drove it down said that he agreed and that he had forgotten just how good the R53 JCW is as obviously he has been driving the R56 version lately on demos etc.

Obviously this thread could go on and on, but to summarise my feelings, I would be happy to give my R53 a good spanking down my favourite roads and take it on the track whereas I wouldn’t the R56 (without modification) and in the in-between times the R53 in a nicer car to have.

(This is no way is a “I cant afford one so I’m going to slag it off” rant as I’m fortunate enough to be able to afford the R56, but wouldn’t now buy one if I wanted to - I’d get another GTI as its miles better than the R56. We’ve recently downsized our previous car to the R53 as we’re doing other things with our money at the moment.)
 

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Thought I'd 'linger' across to this JCW section. I have a late '04 R53 Cooper S which I've owned for the past year. It has now reached 45,000 kms on the clock and I love it to bits.

HOWEVER - just this afternoon, we came across a R53 '06 Factory Built Cooper Works which is being prepared for sale from Mini Next. It has only about 8,000 kms on the clock as it has apparently hardly been driven.

Will most probably have a sleepless night wondering if we should try to trade ours in and try to get our hands on this JCW, or simply start spending money on our current R53 instead.

So am here just reading some posts from you guys, being current owners, and seeing how wonderful the car really is.
 

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Interesting read, I've not tried the latest JCW incarnation... I did have a flirt with an R56 Cooper S last weekend, with my ole R53 Works car and I have to say they don't have shift tho don't they :eek: :D

I would imagine the Works cars are pretty rapid!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
My wife and I travelled up from London to Birmingham at the weekend for a wedding, it was the first real long motorway drive in it and I was truly blown away at how stable it is at high speed (read into that what you will).

I really cant think of a better car I have owned, including big engined Audis, Elise, 350Z various GTI’s, Alfas etc etc, obviously each car has its own strength and might be comfier or faster or better handling etc but none was such an all-round package.

Plus the Mrs loves it.

As mentioned we had the new R56 JCW for a week and we both hated it, the first car I have actually hated and not enjoyed driving, it was chalk and cheese compared to the R53 and if I was buying one new I think it was seriously out-classed by the MK5 GTI.

So my advice would be to bite the bullet and go for the R53 JCW you’ve just found, sounds a good buy and I guarantee you’ll love it.
 

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My wife and I travelled up from London to Birmingham at the weekend for a wedding, it was the first real long motorway drive in it and I was truly blown away at how stable it is at high speed (read into that what you will).

I really cant think of a better car I have owned, including big engined Audis, Elise, 350Z various GTI’s, Alfas etc etc, obviously each car has its own strength and might be comfier or faster or better handling etc but none was such an all-round package.

Plus the Mrs loves it.

As mentioned we had the new R56 JCW for a week and we both hated it, the first car I have actually hated and not enjoyed driving, it was chalk and cheese compared to the R53 and if I was buying one new I think it was seriously out-classed by the MK5 GTI.

So my advice would be to bite the bullet and go for the R53 JCW you’ve just found, sounds a good buy and I guarantee you’ll love it.
Thanks so much for that post mate. It was definitely a sad week for me as the very next day after posting that earlier post, I took it for a drive and LOVED it. The power delivery was amazing because it was just so linear and smooth.

It was a sad week because it got to the point where we had decided that it was what we wanted, only to find that they were not able to give me as much as I wanted for a trade / changeover. So we really couldn't afford it. I've slowly gotten over it, however will be upset all over again when I see it on the road with a new owner.
 

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ALL R53 OWNERS SAY THE SAME THING.
I VE GOT MINI FJCW R56 AND ITS incomparable
THE SOUND OF THE CAR IS AMAZING- POPS AND BANGS EVERYWHERE IN 'SPORT MODE'
ALSO WITH SOME MODIFICATIONS CAN GO 275-280 PRETTY EASY
DONT EVEN COMPARE 0-60 OR TOP SPEED PLEASEEEEEEEEEEE
 
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