The Mini Cooper has forever and always been the cool kid on the block. The brand, even before The Intervention, was respected for being different, for creating genuinely fun vehicles. The Mini does not take itself seriously, nor does it try to be the best at what it does, which is primarily why it is the definition of cool, the face of automotive anti-establishment.
The eye-catching looks of the car is it’s trademark – a Mini is identifiable to anyone, anywhere. And, thanks to an endless plethora of color and styling options, you would be hard-pressed to find two that are even closely identical, the individualism another significant drawing point for the BMW-owned company.
Clearly, there is no problem with the car. The Mini is great in every way, not much denying it. But this is really not the problem that Mini face at all. The real problem is far more serious. For the first time since the rebirth, Mini may just be losing their mojo.
Before you write me off as a moron, you have to know that it is not the car, it’s the brand. Mini has always been cool just because it is a car completely different in character and soul to anything else in the hot hatch class. The Mini is unique. Except for the fact that Mini is now so popular and so competitive that essentially everyone who ever wanted a Mini, has got a Mini. And if everyone has a Mini, it is no longer an “alternative”. The car is mainstream. And anybody will tell you that mainstream is very, very uncool.
Probably a good a time as ever to mention the proposed remedy to this situation, the 2011 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works. Clearly, the ‘Mini People’ have spent a lot of time in designer offices somewhere deep in Bavaria, reaching the conclusion that since the Cooper is no longer “cool”, we now must make it “more cool”. An “injection of cool”, if you will. And if I had to make an upfront assessment, I would suggest that they were entirely successful, because the ’11 Cooper JCW is cooler than anything I’ve ever seen.
I definitely retract that statement, the Maserati GranTurismo is WAY cooler…
John Cooper Works is the Mini in-house tuning division, responsible for some of the most incredible Mini Cooper models past and present. Performance and styling tweaks are their game, and the latest JCW is a triumph in both. This particular model generates 155kW from a 1.6L 4-cylinder engine, which is more than enough in substance and in sound, the latter being the most important to the majority of buyers. Chrome detailing and exclusive rims are just some of the options available from the extensive JCW options list, on top of the already substantial Mini Cooper options list.
Clearly, the ‘Mini People’ have spent a lot of time in designer offices somewhere deep in Bavaria, reaching the conclusion that since the Cooper is no longer “cool”, we now must make it “more cool”.
On that point, just for kicks I decided to configure my own Mini via their website, and managed to add $19,400 onto the stock price of $56,900 AUD, and I wasn’t even going overboard.
This model is of course at the premium end of the Cooper range, and will be unattainable to most of the potential market. Additionally, it is also more expensive than the previous model, another indication that Mini are wanting to regain some of their exclusivity that has been critical for them for the past decade, raising the price of course being an obvious solution.
The 2011 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works is a special car, no denying that. But you can’t help wondering if this is a temporary solution to a problem that is going to plague Mini in the not-so-distant future. If Mini goes truly mainstream, will buyers still be willing to pay a price premium over the alternatives? Time will provide us with that answer, but in the meantime, this John Cooper Works ensures that Mini remains at the top of their game, and on top of the competition.