Washington DC - Last week, I visited MINI's booth at the 2015 Washington Auto Show. All of the current USA lineup was on display, including new 2015 MINI John Cooper Works, and the Countryman ALL4.
MINI also had most, if not all, of the existing model lineup on site, though of course not every variation was present. Included were a two door and four door hardtop, a convertible and the MINI Paceman two-door.
Of course, none of that mattered one bit to me. I wanted one thing and one thing only and that was to get up close and personal with the new John Cooper Works model. The green and red rallye-inspired paint job is visually striking, (unclear whether that scheme will be available on production units) and with the full aero kit and 17" alloys it exudes confidence and almost dares you to put it through its paces. Of course, that wasn't possible, though I wouldn't mind taking it over to the "Camp Jeep" display and having a go.
Inside is, as expected, the epitome of sports car luxury as imagined by MINI's parent company, BMW. For a very small car, there is plenty of room for my 6-foot, 1 inch frame. The full grained leather upholstery is par for the course in an upmarket vehicle such as this and doesn't disappoint, it feels supple and durable. The large gauge cluster right in front of the steering wheel provides the driver with all the necessary info without looking away from the road (or track) in front.
The JCW MINIs have been around for a few years, but the 2015 version seems to be a true winner and if the performance even comes close to matching the appearance (and the hype) then expect these to fly off the shelves come spring. If you are interested in one, get on the waiting list for a test drive now.
The MINI USA website doesn't give a price for Cooper Works hardtop models. Expect it to be somewhere around a $30K buy-in for a base model.
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