Can there be a price on motoring nirvana? Yes, it’s JMD $7,495,000. That money will get you a 2022 MINI 3-door John Cooper Works (JCW) featuring 231 horsepower and 236 lb/ft of torque being fed to its front wheels via an eight speed transmission.
And it’s not just about the numbers! This is a high performance hatchback and the MINI makes no bones about it, constantly feeding the driver every automotive sensation possible. Slip into the race car low sports seats as the Head-Up display pops into view like a fighter pilot preparing for his next mission.
Grabbing the meaty leather-wrapped steering creates the first of the impressions. It’s heavy, direct and never settled due to the sticky tyres and firm suspension. The JCW makes sure the driver knows which direction the wheels are pointed, the surface type and amount of traction available. Those who are unable to decipher this information only have their own inadequate skills to blame.
The next two massive data streams are the engine and the chassis. Relentless describes both. At no point does the MINI JCW feel slow. Even rolling around urban quarters it feels like a velociraptor on a weak leather leash. The keys to that killer speed is the 2-litre TwinPower turbocharged engine sitting in its nose. Access to such violent forward thrust comes when SPORT mode and the accelerator are combined. In the other two modes this behaviour is subdued, laying deep in the throttle position before pouncing past whatever traffic is in front of it. Unleashed the JCW devours straights like Joey Chestnut does hot dogs on July 4. 62mph comes up in 6.3 seconds and the MINI will pull relentlessly to its 153mph top speed.
Few Jamaican roads are that long, so corners cause the MINI’s chassis to come into play. Just make sure to pay attention as approaching velocities may be higher than the average brain can process, requiring accurate braking. This is why the MINI has to convey so much back to the person behind the wheel. It’s not a car that suffer fools. Thankfully, the brakes can scrub off the speed as quickly as gained. The JCW rotates, not playfully, but with race car accuracy so that the rear follows the sharp grip available at the front. The term body roll has long been exorcised from the MINI’s knowledge base.
The total combination is that of a hypersonic missile. Accelerate at maximum down a straight, flipping rapidly though the eight gears to target the upcoming corner, then make the correct inputs to clear whatever radius it is, rinse, and repeat. Doing this in a continuous manner for any duration over five minutes will leave a true driver tingling from every synapse. The addiction only begins there, as the MINI isn’t something easily conquered. It will take a significant amount of time to gain the mental and physical prowess not only keep up with the JCW, but to master MINI’s top performance hatchback adding a further challenge that true drivers love.
At the moments when the JCW isn’t out on a favourite piece of road, there’s enough MINI magic to keep it a fine drive. Interior design is driver focused leaving the main controls like the physical handbrake and paddle shifters easily within reach. Materials and switchgear are of the quality expected in a MINI. Premium features range from adjustable interior ambient lighting to a host of automatic functions such as self-parking.
These are elements to be enjoyed while coming down off the surge of dopamine from driving the MINI.