2013 Mini John Cooper Works Changes Add Space, Sophistication
Speedy Mommy and I took the kids to the California Science Center today, which, in the grand scheme of the world’s great museums, is like a can of PBR compared to a bottle of Chimay. On the way home, while driving a 2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i, which might just be one of the last great BMWs, we happened upon a decade-old Mini Cooper S Hardtop with a tres-trendy “Baby on Board” hazard-sign placard taking up a good chunk of the right rear window glass. Sure enough, there in the Mini’s teensy-tiny rear seat, a child safety seat was installed, carrying the owners’ bundle of joy approximately 12 inches from the rear window glass.
If you’ve ever wondered if parents use a Mini Cooper as a family car, there’s your answer.
I’m conflicted about this. On the one hand, I want to high-five this owner for sticking with the frisky first-gen Cooper S even after a child transformed a couple into a family. On the other hand, I want to smack this owner in the head. A Cooper Hardtop is a terrible choice for a family car. Trade up, already. At the very least, get into a three-door Cooper Clubman with a bigger back seat, or better yet, buy the Cooper Countryman crossover SUV.
2013 MINI JOHN COOPER WORKS MODELS GET MASSAGED ENGINES
For 2013, Mini gives Mr. and Mrs. Baby On Board even more reason to swap the old Cooper for a new one, because the Countryman crossover SUV gets the JCW treatment, and is probably the best choice for anyone carting kids because it’s the biggest and heaviest “Mini” of them all.
In all models, the familiar twin-scroll turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine installed in the John Cooper Works models gets variable valve control designed to make the engine more responsive and more fuel-efficient. Additional updates include reinforced pistons, sodium-filled exhaust valves, a strengthened cylinder head, and a lighter weight camshaft. Add a turbocharger with greater charge pressure, and a unique exhaust system with twin stainless steel outlets, and the JCW engine produces 208 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 192 pound-feet of torque peaking between 1,850 and 5,600 rpm.
When installed in the 2013 Mini John Cooper Works Clubman, an Overboost function increases peak torque for short periods of time, bumping it to 207 pound-feet between 2,000 and 5,200 rpm. When installed in the new-for-2013 Mini John Cooper Works Countryman, that amount of twist comes standard, though across a broader torque plateau between 1,900 and 5,600 rpm.
AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION OPTIONAL FOR MINI JCW MODELS IN 2013
Both the JCW Clubman and JCW Countryman are equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox. For 2013, a six-speed Steptronic automatic is optional for John Cooper Works buyers for the first time, and includes paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel. The 2013 John Cooper Works Clubman can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds with the manual or 6.7 seconds with the automatic, while the John Cooper Works Countryman accelerates to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds regardless of transmission choice, thanks to the standard extra torque offsetting this model’s extra weight.
MINOR INTERIOR UPGRADES FOR 2013 JCW MODELS
Minor interior upgrades accompany the John Cooper Works models into 2013. There’s a new JCW logo on the lower portion of the steering wheel’s center spoke, and both Striped Alloy and Pepper White interior trim choices are available. Otherwise, the cars continue to offer unique wheel designs (17-inch wheels for Clubman and 18s on Countryman), a JCW aero kit, and exclusive paint treatments.
SPEEDY DADDY SAYS…
Powertrain refinements and an available automatic transmission, combined with the addition of the 2013 John Cooper Works Countryman to the lineup, make buying a Mini as a family car a more fun and sensible proposition than ever.
– Christian Wardlaw