MINI JCW Convertible Version: Fast as Hell, and Under $36,000
After months of waiting patiently, MINI has finally announced pricing on its all-new 2016 MINI Convertible and the John Cooper Works edition. Starting with a price tag of $25,950 for the Cooper model, this soft top is one of the newest additions to the MINI product line, and represents the first convertible MINI to be powered by BMW Group engines. Designed, engineered, developed, and assembled in Europe, this latest model starts only $250 higher than the previous generation, a fact that MINI says makes it “the only true convertible built in Europe priced below 26,000,” as the Cooper S trim-line starts a bit higher at $29,600.
But let’s talk about the fun stuff. MINI claims it has developed its “fastest, most powerful open-top yet with the new MINI John Cooper Works Convertible.” Tuned for high performance on both the track and open road, the John Cooper Works (JCW) version will start at $35,600 and has a pretty nice arsenal of go-fast goods at its disposal.
“The new Convertible has all of the legendary driving performance you expect in a MINI yet with interior materials and finishes which set a new benchmark for the segment,” says Patrick McKenna, department head for product planning at MINI USA. “Now with the addition of the John Cooper Works variant we have once again set the bar high for the rest of the premium convertible market by offering a high performance open-top driving experience.”
This latest version sports eleven exterior color options, seating options that include Malt Brown leather with diamond-stitching, and a standard “Always Open Timer” for convertible enthusiasts who want to calculate the number of hours they’ve driven with the top down. It also comes standard with the MINI Connected infotainment system, which includes a 6.5-inch screen. But if you are getting the JCW model, opting for the larger 8.8-inch display with navigation and a clever rain warning app would be more appropriate.
Built entirely with BMW Group engines, the John Cooper Works version features the most powerful motor ever installed in a production model MINI. Its 2.0-liter powerplant was based upon the latest generation of MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology, and generates a maximum output of 228 horsepower to the wheels with torque tipping 236 pound-feet. Accelerating from zero to sixty comes in 6.3 seconds in automatic trim, with the manual version achieving it in 6.4 seconds. The JCW model gives buyers a sport-tuned exhaust, performance-oriented suspension, and special aerodynamic features to go along with a pile of interior upgrades.
The new MINI Convertible also comes with a wide array of standard equipment, most of which remains intact on the JCW variant. The six-speed manual transmission has a rev-matching function, and the aforementioned MINI Connected 6.5-inch infotainment system comes with third-party app support, Bluetooth audio streaming, and voice control. That automatic folding convertible top includes a slide-back sunroof feature and a glass rear window, a MINI logo gets projected onto the ground as a welcome light from the driver-side mirror, and there’s a 12-color ambient interior lighting feature.
A reconfigured handling package compliments the new powertrain alongside 17-inch JCW lightweight alloy wheels, a four-pot brake system has been developed in collaboration with Brembo, and a “Torque Steer Compensation” function allows electromechanical power steering to keep drivers pointed in a straight line. Dynamic Damper Control is optionally available, with two settings allowing ride stiffness and steering response to be tweaked accordingly.
Inside the cabin a series of sporty instrument display shows oil and boost pressure, and a chronometer features various stopwatch functions. Signature race seats and special stitching are present, and an optional Head-Up Display features additional content to support spirited driving. MINI also says that a unique range of options and John Cooper Works Tuning accessories will be available in addition to the optional equipment offered when the JCW model goes on sale in April.
All of these performance properties, appearance upgrades, and driving characteristics are designed to reflect and honor a longstanding association between MINI and John Cooper Works. Legendary sports car designer John Cooper once paved the way for the classic Mini to take to the race track, and it is in his honor that this latest incarnation comes to life. Stay tuned, because we cannot wait to get our hands on one…