MINI’s JCW (that’s John Cooper Works) name is older than you might think. Its heritage stretches back to John Cooper, the British racing driver and engineer who not only pioneered the rear-engined layout in single-seat racers, but also figured out that the Issigonis-designed BMC Mini would make a rather good race and rally car. A point that went on to be proved most famously by Paddy Hopkirk’s fabled win in the 1964 Monte Carlo rally.
The current Volkswagen Golf R is a legend in its own lifetime. Many previous versions of fast, four-wheel-drive Golfs might have had seemingly more exotic V6 motors, but it’s the 2014, Mk7 generation with its 296bhp, 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that really proved how spectacular the hottest Golf could be.