When Mini launched the new Cooper in 2001 it set a new benchmark for the segment. It was fast, great handling, fun and had great styling which meant that sales went through the roof and continued right through the second-generation model which was sold worldwide to great success.
But times change and now we’re on the third generation of Mini hatchback. Before the Cooper S used to be the top dog, then they added the John Cooper Works pack. Now the JCW is its own model sitting at the top of the regular production model tree (there’s a limited GP at the very top usually) and what a car it is!
Still fairly diminutive by modern hatchback standards, the JCW packs a 228bhp punch thanks to the four-cylinder turbo petrol engine, which means 0-62mph is dealt with in 6.3 seconds on the way to a 146mph top speed – not bad for a little hot hatch! But the really impressive thing is the way this JCW tackles a set of twisty bends – it’s such huge fun you’ll be turning around just to drive them again!
When Toyota and Subaru set about developing a new car together, they knew it was going to change the way that people thought about performance coupes. And so the GT86 was born – a small, light coupe with a flat-four boxer engine producing 197 bhp.
"It's not enough!" cried enthusiasts everywhere – but they hadn't realised that Toyota had developed the car with skinnier tyres and a playful chassis, so that every one of those bhp were useful and you could play around with the car at legal speeds.
A small, rear-wheel drive coupe that drives better than a Ferrari? You'd better believe it…
Get your tickets for the fantastic pairing of the Mini JCW hot hatch and the cool Toyota GT86 here!