R56 JCW review

Gabe recently posted on MotoringFile a review of the R56 “factory JCW” MINI … this new factory MINI has a very potent engine, with impressive torque curves, but it’s stock design is “stealth” to the point of dull! No special exterior trim, no JCW-only color; in fact no JCW-only anything.
I just worked through MINIUSA.com and, spec’ing the car similar to a GP with metallic paint, aero kit, spoiler, cloth/leather heated seats, and steering wheel controls, I got to a price of $34,000 (compared with $30,600 for the GP). Of course prices go up, and you do get rear seats for that extra money – but it’s still not a “unique” car, and by the way you have to add another $3,000 if you want 18″ wheels!

Gabe’s review is well worth reading, if only for for surprising (to me) comments where he favourably compares the GP to this new “fastest MINI”. It’s also interesting to read his comments about the new car’s brakes, and electronic EDLC (in lew of an LSD). Here’s a few choice quotes:
… It feels every bit as fast as the 2006 JCW GP was with an enormous amount of torque (206 ft lbs of it) available almost instantly in the rev range … while the GP may have had similar numbers, it’s the new JCW’s power delivery that really sets it apart …
.. four-pot Brembo brakes … live up to the hype in that they are better than the single-pot set-up on the stock MCS or the previous JCW GP MCS. However more than one of us who drove the JCW and an R56 MCS back to back felt that the stock braking set-up actually had more feel …
… the EDLC is different enough from the feel of a traditional LSD that some might miss the mechanical quality of the latter. Limited Slip always had a feel of pulling and shooting you out of corners in a satisfying way …
… make no mistake, the new factory JCW MINI goes and stops better than any factory MINI yet … Yet doesn’t offer any of the distinction that an M Car would much less what the GP had …
… is this car equivilent to a GP? In some ways yes. It’s easily as fast, sounds arguably as good and stops better. However for me I wanted to love this car not only for the way it made every drive feel special but also for the sacrifices it demands from the driver – While it does have many of the attributes you’d hope for, it just never really moved me like the GP …

I know which car I prefer 🙂

3 thoughts on “R56 JCW review

  1. From my drives in it at the Rose Bowl it just seemed like some brute not refined at all. Steering seemed very vague, breaking harsh. Did like the seats though.

  2. For me I had the first spot at my dealer for one of the new JCW Mini’s, right up until some of the information coming out about it hit the news. At that minute I pulled my pre-order and bought GP0509 so guess my view of the new car vs the GP is an easy read.

    I really like some of what they have done with the new car and its arguably as fast as a GP and the brakes are a solid upgrade. However the GP will hang with the JCW through any straight and sail by it in any corner. I am both sadden and happy that Mini didn’t take the ball with producing the first true factory JCW and build on the GP’s success. Instead I think they developed a car that sends many of the wrong messages. This was a great review by Gabe (as usual) though.

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