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2017 MINI John Cooper Works Convertible Review


Good points

  • Superb exhaust crackles!
  • Fun, go-kart-style handling
  • Liveable and stylish interior

Needs work

  • Ride still pretty firm
  • Fiddly front cupholders
  • Advanced safety is optional

MINI was once a brand that sold just a single, simple model: the Cooper. The modern MINI, though, is a thoroughly diverse operation. Though the basic theme remains – MINI builds compact and cute urban runabouts – they’ll make you something with two, three, or five doors; with diesel or petrol power; a roof or no roof; slow or fast. And it’s at that fast end of the spectrum where we think MINIs are at their most joyful – and the 2017 MINI John Cooper Works Convertible, equipped with a fast-dropping soft top, a powerful 170kW turbo engine and an awesome exhaust note, is the most fun MINI you can buy today.

That’s because the JCW convertible is close to the perfect MINI mix. You get the things that make every MINI loveable: the instantly recognisable shape, the go-kart steering and the sharp dimensions that make it so easy to drive in the city.

Then, MINI’s John Cooper Works skunkworks add in another layer of verve – the stuff that makes the JCW editions feel like proper performance cars. The 170kW, 320Nm turbo four is genuinely punchy; the crackling, popping exhaust note beats many sports cars four times the price; and with extra stiffness, a JCW MINI attacks corners with real viciousness.

Sure, a hardtop MINI is stiffer still, and without a convertible’s weight penalty, the handling remains a degree better, but when it comes to simple, go-kart-like driving – the entire MINI mission – the wind-in-your-hair thrills of a convertible top are hard to beat. The MINI JCW convertible is just so easy to love – and at just under $55,000 with either manual or auto, and with no real need to touch the options list – it’s pretty good value, too.

Budget Direct
Comprehensive cover
/ year
(indicative only)
Budget Direct
Comprehensive cover
/ year
(indicative only)

Key specs (as tested)

Single turbocharger
170kW at 6,000rpm
320Nm between 1,250rpm–4,800rpm
Power to weight ratio
132kW / tonne
Fuel type
Fuel capacity
Average Range
Front wheel drive
Engine configuration
3.87 metres
1.73 metres
1.42 metres
Unoccupied weight
1284 kilograms
Cargo space seats up
165 litres
Cargo seats down
210 litres

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Terms and conditions

The estimate provided does not take into account your personal circumstances but is intended to give a general indication of the cost of insurance, in order to obtain a complete quote, please visit www.budgetdirect.com.au. Estimate includes 15%^ online discount.
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Budget Direct Insurance arranged by Auto & General Services Pty Ltd ACN 003 617 909(AGS) AFSL 241 411, for and on behalf of the insurer, Auto & General Insurance Company Limited(ABN 42 111 586 353, AFSL 285 571).Because we don’t know your financial needs, we can’t advise you if this insurance will suit you. You should consider your needs and the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision to buy insurance. Terms and conditions apply.

Indicative quote based on assumptions including postcode , 40 year old male with no offences, licence suspensions or claims in the last 5 years, a NCD Rating 1 and no younger drivers listed. White car, driven up to 10,000kms a year, unfinanced, with no modifications, factory options and/or non-standard accessories, private use only and garaged at night.

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1. Discounts apply to the premium paid for a new Budget Direct Gold Comprehensive Car Insurance, Third Party Property Only or Third Party Property, Fire & Theft Insurance policy initiated online on or after 29 March 2017. Discounts do not apply to optional Roadside Assistance.
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