Small Car, Big Title: 2009 MINI John Cooper Works Performance Cabrio


MINI/BMW has announced the new JCW Convertible, one nifty car, though it will cost you $34,950 base. The standard MINI Cooper convertible, hardly plain old vanilla, had an MSRP of $24,550. What does that extra ten grand get you? With a 208-bhp turbo, the JCW should be a blast to drive (0-62 in 6.9 seconds), and it possesses an “outstandingly sporting character,” per the press release

See it at the Geneva Auto Show March 5-15, or get one from your local dealer starting in April. Whether or not you can afford the price, we bet you’ll be tempted.

This new car has all the MINI virtues and more: a Sport button to press for more torque, plus better throttle (drive-by-wire in this car) and steering response; 17-inch alloys with run-flat tires; larger discs and Brembo brakes; and a host of options. Here are the ones for the JCW Hardtop; those for the convertible aren’t yet on the website, but may well be the same.

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Neat as this car is, I still think it looks kind of lame with the top up—very much like the PT Cruiser, that is, bulky in back with blind spots. 

But this baby ain’t no PT Cruiser. Beginning in 1947, the Cooper Car Company began producing those marvelous Cooper rear- and mid-engine F-1 cars that dominated racing for much of the ‘50s. (Short history here.) In the 1960s came the Classic Mini Cooper, one of the great rally cars of all time, and finally the MINI Cooper S versions, which BMW ownership of the JCW brand has only enhanced. 

Of course, it’s overpriced. But would you buy it if you had the bread?


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