The 1.6-litre turbo engine was a real bruiser. Peak power was some 210hp and torque rose to 207lb ft on overboost, but the delivery was even more impressive; there was just no lag and the torque curve seemed to flatten from 2,000rpm. The JCW felt properly quick in a straight line and had sufficient tractability to make Boxster drivers sweat.
The chassis was just about up to it. On dry, flat surfaces the front tyres could handle the grunt, but on a greasy or slightly uneven road the car would be tugged this way and that under full power. It was the chassis balance, though, that really defined the JCW because it was just so desperate to get all out of shape given half a chance. I remember exploring this on a test track one autumn and being staggered at how readily the rear end would break free at corner entry.
That made it one of the more loopy cars in its class, I remember thinking, because as a Mini it would inevitably have been sold to kept wives and spoilt teenage girls who simply wanted the top of the line model. I wonder what they made of its lift-off oversteer characteristics in third-gear corners.
I once drove a JCW some 2,000 miles in three days from England's southeast to Monaco and back. I was in search of rally nirvana and so scrambled up to the Col de Turini in the Alpes-Maritimes north of Monaco. Having effortlessly cruised the autoroutes for 10 hours the previous day, the JCW then lit up the col as if it had numbers on its doors.
this 70,000-mile examplehas done. It looks good in black, has a decent optional kit count and even comes with a warranty and care package. I reckon it's a lot of car for the money. If you are tempted by one make sure you know the difference between proper JCWs and the lesser John Cooper Works-kitted Cooper S. On this occasion, you'll want the warts.
MINI COOPER S JCW
Engine: 1,598cc, four-cylinder, turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, FWD
Power (hp): 210@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 207@2,000-5,300rpm
MPG: 40.9 (NEDC combined)
Recorded mileage: 70,738
First registered: 2008
Price new: £21,220
Yours for: £9,899
See the original advert here