The 2023 Mini Cooper
We are driving BMWs popular 2023 MINI Cooper, a front or AWD four-passenger sports car available in short and long wheelbase trims. Since its re-introduction in 2002 under the BMW umbrella, the MINI has again developed a similar cult like following from a diverse group of owners . Just as it did when introduced in the United Kingdom back in 1959.
The 2023 MINI still receives final assembly in Oxford, United Kingdom, although its modern day German heritage is spiced with parts coming from Canada, the United States and the UK while the main transmission and engine components are shipped in from Germany.
Our tester is the famous John Cooper Works (JCW) MINI Hardtop, a high performance MINI that is synonymous with MINI Cooper fame. Specifically, the car was the brainchild of soon to be great Formula 1 builder John Cooper himself who first brought the car to fame in 1959 Great Britain.
Using a sideways-mounted engine and a then yet to be proven front-wheel-drive layout, Cooper not only founded the Cooper Car Company, he drove to three Monte Carlo Rally titles and 16 Grand Prix wins in his Formula 1 Cooper built machines. His name lives on as todays MINI John Cooper Works models are featured in numerous North America and European race circuit sanctioned races that specifically feature MINI Coopers.
BMW says the automatic is faster than the standard six-speed Getrag manual transmission. The performance engines release a special deep throat exhaust that MINI says serves as a first warning sign of its performance engineering. Thanks to the evolution of the modern day automatics, we now recommend the automatic as a just as much fun alternative to the manual. JCW MINIs come in six different flavors, including two all-wheel-drive versions. Notable if fuel efficiency, where 25 city and 31 highway are the EPA estimates
It is on the road, however, where MINI JCWs true joy reveals itself. Anyone who enjoys a good handling, peppy car will revel in its driving characteristics. The feedback through the steering wheel is excellent thanks to the race-bred suspension and optional $500 dynamic damper control, both which assists adhesion. If you drive deep into a corner with a proper entry-apex-exit pattern, MINI JCW will handle most anything you throw at it and then deliver a top speed of 153 at your area track day.
Important numbers include a 98.2-inch wheelbase, 11.6-gallon fuel tank, 2,885-lb. curb weight, 8.7 to 30 cu. ft. of cargo space, and 5.6-inches of ground clearance.
By far the most impressive MINI Cooper we have ever driven, if you can afford the monies it takes to move up from the entry model into the $30K performance MINI Coopers, you wont be disappointed. It is a powerful example of John Coopers dogma all crafted into a UK/German-bred thoroughbred machine.