Mini John Cooper Works

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Mini JCW Championship 50

Road Test

Mini John Cooper Works Championship 50

Driven March 2010

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Thirty-three thousand pounds. For a Mini JCW. Just chew that number around for a while. Thirty. Three. Thousand. Poundlets. That's Vauxhall VXR8 money. Lotus Exige money. Mitsubishi Evo FQ300 money. For a Mini JCW.

You'd expect a spectacular Mini JCW for £33,000. Mid-engined, 4WD, roll-cage, maybe? Er, no. This, the JCW Championship 50, a special edition built to mark the 50th anniversary of John Cooper's first F1 constructors' title, is simply a Mini Cooper with very many added extras. If it's in the JCW catalogue, it's on the car: satnav, leather, carbon-fibre trim, posh stereo but still a Mini Cooper. For £33,000. 

So it drives like a Mini Cooper, albeit a Mini Cooper weighed down with a dizzying array of kit and an equally dizzying price tag: quick, skittish, a good car for £21k. But not £33k. Thirty. Three. Kay.

Only 250 of these special editions will be built. All will be green, and all will no doubt sell, to people who believe £33,000 is a reasonable price. But the wider lesson here is to heed the danger of the Mini option boxes. You could, with sufficient wallet and absence of sense, create yourself an equally overpriced and unique Mini. In a few minutes on the TG office computer we got a Mini to £29k, at which point the computer became quite on fire. But you can do better. Create yourself a terrifyingly expensive Mini online... then leave it there, and buy a VXR8.

Sam Philip

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