2012 Mini Roadster JCW review
At £24,755, it costs £3850 more than the Cooper S model, and 208bhp, 27bhp more than the S. The JCW also has sportier looks and firmer suspension than lesser versions of the Roadster.
What's the 2012 Mini Roadster JCW like to drive?
You don't have to go far to realise the JCW is all about fun. It changes direction swiftly, with almost no body roll, and the steering feels precise. The car hangs on well round corners, too – as long as the road surface is smooth.
Throw in some bumps and things deteriorate dramatically, because they cause the JCW to bounce off-line and send shudders through its cabin and steering wheel.
Mini Roadster JCW changes direction swiftly, with almost no body roll
There's so much power that you have to be careful not to overwhelm the front tyres when accelerating out of corners. However, the engine delivers awesome mid-range thrust, while the exhaust pops and bangs addictively – especially when you put the car in Sport mode.
The considerable wind-, road- and traffic noise that enters the cabin is less appealing, and there's quite a bit of bluster in the cabin when the roof is down.
Too much power can overwhelm the front tyres when accelerating out of corners
Considerable wind-, road- and traffic noise enters the cabin at speed
What's the 2012 Mini Roadster JCW like inside?
As with all Mini Roadsters, the JCW has a retro dashboard with a rather chaotic layout that takes some time to learn.
Good driving position, but the dashboard layout is rather haphazard
The basic driving position is spot-on and there's generous space for two, but the seats are a bit awkward to adjust and over-the-shoulder vision is limited with the roof up.
The roof can be operated at speeds of up to 20mph, although it's only partially electric – you need to twist and release a central handle before it will lower.
More positively, the 240-litre boot is one of the biggest in the class, and there's a hatch through to the cabin, so you can transport longer items.
Should I buy one?
The Mini Roadster JCW is a lot of fun on the right road, but so is the cheaper Cooper S model.
In fact, the Cooper S's slightly more supple ride means it's more fun more of the time. It's where our money would go.
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By Steve Huntingford