The Smoking Tire drives tuned R56 MINI John Cooper WorksMay 19, 2017
It’s hard to not love a MINI John Cooper Works. Their tiny size, short wheelbase, punchy engines and go-kart handling make them some of the most fun cars on the road, despite not being as fast as their competition. They’re just so fun and happy and enjoyable to drive. But if you want to further enhance your MINI JCW experience, you can modify your car the way this owner has, as it’s one of the most tastefully done MINI builds we’ve ever seen.
The R56 chassis MINI JCW was never known for its reliability or durability. Fun and exciting? Sure, they’re great to drive. Until around 50,000 miles that is and then they start to fall apart. though, if you’re as fastidious (thanks for the term, Farah) as this owner and properly maintain, repair and care for it, an R56 MINI can provide years of enjoyment. This one has been tastefully modified with Ohlins shocks, imported Japanese Recaro seats and enough performance mods to make about 215 hp to the wheels, which is a lot in a car that only weighs around 2,700 lbs. But MINIs aren’t about straight-line speed, they’re about fun, nippy handling and it seems that his car has been enhanced, rather than modified, in that regard.
You can see as Matt Farah takes the MINI JCW through some twisty canyon roads that this little car holds the road incredibly well, seems really well damped and has extremely impressive turn-in. It looks like a ton of fun and like the sort of car I’d love to have as a weekend toy. I wouldn’t personally want to daily it, like this owner does, but as a toy for Sunday driving, it looks like a blast.
The exhaust also sounds good and isn’t too loud or intrusive. You don’t get a lot of that boomy, turbocharged exhaust sound that so many aftermarket exhausts have and it has a bit of a growl to it. Sounds good and exciting without droning or being annoying. It also seems to have the right amount of power. It looks quick, as Farah can quickly gain on any car in front of him, even if that Chevy Cruz was trying to play hard to get, and it really fires out of corners pretty well for only a bit of 200 hp.
This is how MINIs should be tuned. You don’t want to take away from their inherent MINI-ness by adding so much power and you don’t want to make them crazy fast. They should just be about nippy handling, great road holding and a ton of fun.