JOHN COOPER’S tuned Mini has come a long way since the early Sixties. The Cooper badge has been synonymous with potent Minis since the 1960s, when Charles Cooper and his son John started souping up the tiny British car to compete on the world rally stage.
The turbocharged engine develops 236 Ib ft of torque and propels it to a top speed of 152mph, which makes it a serious rival to the Volkswagen Golf GTI. Sports suspension and Brembo brakes will help to keep the fearsome power under control.
Mini says the hot hatchback returns 42.2mpg (in the combined cycle) and emits 155g/km of CO2. The Steptronic transmission improves those numbers to 49.5 mpg and 133g/km.
An electronic locking differential helps the tyres gain maximum traction for tearing round corners. Engineers have also put the new model on a diet: at 1,205kg it is 100kg lighter than its predecessor.
A sporty body kit makes the car’s intentions obvious. Inside, drivers are treated to John Cooper Works branding throughout, bucket racing seats and a three-spoke multifunction steering wheel. The neat head-up display that comes as an option on new Mini models here features touches such as a rev counter and gearshift indicator for a Formula One-style racing experience.
It comes at a price – £22,865 for the three-door hatchback model – but it looks as though it will be worth every penny to drivers of a certain persuasion.