Before we begin, let’s get a few things out of the way.

  1. I haven’t driven an S in quite some time. I have never driven a JCW.
  2. This car is dead sexy

New Jersey to LA, the long way. About 4500 miles depending on who’s counting. It was a great way to end the MotoringFile relationship with the Countryman and begin with something new; the JCW Roadster. Top down, top up, highway, twisties and everything in between. Not going to lie, that car was a blast to drive.

Not being used to having more than 120 HP, it was a real treat to get some time blasting across the US. It was fun on the dragon, it was fun on the highway to the dragon. It was fun in Chicago and everywhere else I got to drive it. Great handling, great looks, great power. Everything you can imagine about this car is all true.

While we were gentle with this car, making sure to leave the real thrashing to Gabe and Nathaniel, we did get a few chances to really put the spurs to it. Cool and collected, no drama and an exhaust note that will give you goosebumps.

There were a few things about this MINI that I didn’t care for, but I’m the odd man out. The default driving style for this is fast. Driving it at the limit is easy, but keeping the lid on, especially around town, is a bit tougher. It’s so eager to rev and go that, as a daily driver, I believe this car falls a bit short. That, and with this suspension setup, it’s a little bit on the twitchy side. Not so bad that the car feels out of control, but enough that you notice.

Finally, this MINI was originally supposed to have the Recarro seats. Due to production snafus, that did not happen. Instead, it was equipped with the Lounge Carbon Black Leather. In my opionion, leather seats in a drop-top car aren’t the best choice, unless you happen to be a fan of back sweat. Also not that great is the Alacantara dash. It looks stunning, but to always worry about it getting wet and looking at it covered with a layer of road dust isn’t particularly attractive. I would have skipped both of these options and drop the price $3500.

This car should be in the MF Garage very soon and will be with Motoringfile for the next 12 months.