I got my JCW Coupe for track work. So far I have done only one autocross and no track days. I got the automatic because I wanted the paddle shifters for great up and downshifts. It takes some practice but the shifts are amazing. Let me do the negatives first. First, with the automatic there is a bad peddle lag. Even if you put it in sport mode it is an automatic. It was terrible at autocross. With more practice, I could handle it but for autocross the manual is the way to go. I think the peddle settings are no different than a standard Mini. Also, the JCW does not come with a sport suspension standard even if you thought you were buying the "M" or "AMG" of Mini's. You need to add that and it can cost a good bit. So, it is not 100% sport.
The rest is all great. Acceleration once you start is excellent, handling is excellent and the standard suspension is great for comfort if you want a daily driver. If you put a sport suspension and oversized wheels it is very very hard. You can buy the JCW suspension for $4k more and it might be the best all purpose suspension. Vision is limited but frankly I expect that is a sportscar or convertible. The styling is so unique many people will point and ask you about it. It is perhaps my favorite thing about the car. It looks aggressive, yet friendly. The trunk is to die for in a two-seater. The reason is that the back seats of a regular Mini have been removed and even though the roof is lowered you have a ton of trunk for a little car. It has a reach through that is handy for longer stuff or reaching back to say a small cooler. It is a great road trip car and can handle decent luggage for two people. The car will fly and corner well and to me your big decisions are three if you are looking at one. 1. Automatic or manual. 2. Tech or minimal tech (adds cost). 3. Suspension, stiffer or softer or premium sport. If you max everything out this car will be in the mid $40s, new. Mini stopped making this model so you will have to be on the used car market. I actually like that as it keeps the car an uncommon model amongst and uncommon car. I like unique. Just drive one and see what you think. All of the coupe and roadsters are great but I think the base model sort of misses out with the low power. It is the sportiest of the lineup and also the smallest of the Mini's.
2014 JCW Coupe with auto transmission. I got this car with track days in mind. I have had about five other Mini's and I wanted the sport, JCW model with paddle shifters for the track and road trips. So, I figured good sporty road trip car and competent track car, kind of like a BMW M.