The clutch is backwards from most cars. When you step on the clutch of most cars, the clutch separates from the engine. In a Mini, it remains attached to the engine, and the thrust bearing rotates with the engine with a lot of force on this half inch steel bearing. The flywheel is a dual mass, suitable for today's drivers who do not know how to let out a clutch. Finally, clutches are supposed to match the horsepower of the engine. The clutch is sized for the standard 124 HP engine. The JCW has the same engine, but with tuning and turbo puts out 208 HP. The clutch in my Mini has now been replaced 4 times in 36000 miles of driving. BMW which owns Mini runs it's warranty program. 95% of their calls involve BMWs. BMW uses a traditional clutch and its clutches are matched to the engine. So they do not understand the problems faced by Mini JCW owners. I have a 4 year 50,000 warranty on my car, purchased in June 2012. Yet BMW refuses to pay the $1700 bill to replace my clutch. Heavy duty clutches are available for the Mini because the clutch fails so often. They cost $1300. They have a ceramic bearing that won't burn out. Mini dealers have special equipment to replace clutches because they break so often. It costs about $5000. So chances are that your mechanic does not have this equipment. My Mini dealer refuses to even touch a heavy duty clutch since their agreement with Mini USA requires them to only use Mini parts, which are unreliable. If you buy a Mini JCW, you can expect the clutch to fail about once a year. It takes 3 days to get a clutch installed.
This is an update to my initial review. I've got some 6,000 miles on it now. Combined mileage is 34 mpg. Freeway driving is a breeze, as long as you, the driver, realized your MINI Cooper (non-turbo) is no race or fast car. It's a very simple 1600 cc's of raw BMW power. They should use that line in their advertisements. The car and its payment went to my ex-husband when I left him. He wanted it. He loves it. At 74" he is very comfortable in the car with top up or down. So, the rest of this review is his. Toby, that is her name, performs exactly the way I had hoped she would perform. Whether in the city (stop or go traffic) or on the highway, she does an excellent job. I do not drive her fast. She simply isn't fast. I didn't want "fast" so, she is perfect. For me. At my age. I got this car because it was a convertible, leather interior, a wonderful color combination for the exterior with a very comfortable ride and superior sound system. Toby is a Highgate package with the Harmon-Kardon sound system (a 'must-have' in my mind). I truly cannot think of anything else to say about the car, as it is just a superb automobile in spite of its price tag. I got what I wanted: A well thought-out, high mileage, comfortable drop-top. When I'm 80, please stay off the sidewalks. I'll be driving on them!
This is the worst car that I have ever owned. I have had a alpha romeo spider veloce, honda crv and one other car for over 10 years each with over 150,000 miles on them. This car is cheaply and poorly made and was more expensive than both of them. In the first year that I owned it all of the electrical wiring went and I had to have it towed in, less than 7,000 miles. Covered by the warranty $8,000 plus. The following winter the water pump went and I had to have it towed in yet again. In year 3 the drivers seat started to frwy whith less than 20,000 miles. Last year the brakes were falling apart and they had to be changed when the car only had about 24,000 miles on it. I am at the dealer yet again 6 months later and although I purchased an extended warranty most of it isn't covered. $600 plus to have the hood fixed because it won't open because the original cheap parts have rusted in 4 years. Another $400 plus for new spark plugs and something else because the engine is malfunctioning with only 31,000 miles in the car. Another oil change because all the oil leaked and I couldn't get to it since the cable broke to open the hood. Inferior parts and quality. Run from this vehicle and buy a Honda, Toyota or Subaru. I can not recommend this car to anyone and will never buy another. But at least it's paid for!
Fully Loaded Package ($4,500 -- includes navigation system, enhanced Bluetooth and USB connection, Premium Package [keyless entry, panoramic moonroof, storage package, Harman Kardon premium audio], Sport Package [$750 -- includes 18-inch wheels, LED headlights withcornering lights, LED foglights, white turn signal lights]), Sport Automatic Transmission ($1,500), Cold Weather Package ($600 -- includes power folding mirrors, heated front seats), Electric Blue Metallic Paint ($500), Rear Park Distance Control ($500), Mini Head-Up Display ($500), Mini Yours Interior Style Fiber Alloy Trim ($350), JCW Steering Wheel ($250), Anthracite Headliner ($250)
Turbocharged, direct-injected, inline-4, gasoline with auto stop-start
DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
189 @ 4,700
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
207 @ 1,250
Six-speed automatic with console shifter, steering-mounted paddles and Sport/Competition modes
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
There is a measurable (though not necessarily observable) difference between Mid and Sport modes during acceleration. The car feels peppy in either case and the turbocharger provides plenty of low-rpm grunt from the get-go. Switching off traction control will reveal just how easy it is to spin the front tires with quick/hard throttle application, but get it just right and the results are almost a full second quicker to 60 mph. The transmission shifts very quickly, and more smoothly in Drive versus S-Drive. Both the shift paddles and manual-mode console shifter respond very quickly to driver requests. Also, they're oriented the way we like them (e.g. left paddle = downshift; right = upshift and push shifter forward for downshift; pull back for upshift). This is a strong performance, even among so-called hot hatches; running neck-and-neck with the VW GTI.
Immediate brake response from initial pedal application. Very little dive, no wander and confident and repeatable stops without one bit of ABS buzz or vibration. The pedal grew softer and traveled closer to the floor by the last stop (and there was some pad odor), but the distances remained consistent. There was also some pedal softness during the quarter-mile testing while slowing from near 100 mph speeds. This performance is slightly out of the sweet spot for sport compacts, giving up a few feet to the best-in-class and the Cooper's loss of pedal firmness and odor are out of the ordinary.
If there was any concern that adding two more doors to the Mini Cooper S might diminish its notoriously excellent handling, it was unfounded. This new four-door version is every bit as engaging and capable as the two-door. Steering response is immediate and ultra-precise, if a little heavy in Sport mode. The way the car takes a firm and confident stance while cornering (or going around slalom cones) is fully intact. And the amount of lenience the electronic stability control system (ESC) provides (before making corrections) is just as inspiring as we've grown to expect from Mini. Besides producing impressive numbers here at the track, this four-door Cooper S was also tremendous fun. All of this is even more impressive since this car did not have either the Sport Suspension or Dynamic Damper options. It means you don't have to spend extra money to get the handling performance you'd expect.