What is it?
This is the hottest incarnation of the Mini Roadster to date.
All two-wheel drive JCW Minis use the same turbocharged 208bhp 1.6-litre engine, and the Roadster’s the priciest of the lot at £24,755.
It costs a tenner more than the convertible JCW hatch (which offers two more seats, but around half the boot space), and £955 more than the fixed-roofed Coupé with which it shares waist-down construction.
What's it like?
The JCW Coupé’s Achilles heel is its super-stiff ride, and that complaint endures here in the Roadster. True, our test car carried sports suspension (£150, or standard with the Chili pack), but the standard set-up would need to be wildly different to offer anything approaching comfort.
Britain’s characteristically crinkly B-roads set the JCW skipping frantically, making it impossible to happily explore its flat cornering attitude, grippy tyres and the line-maintaining, electronically controlled front differential (standard here, optional on lesser Roadsters).
Urban ridges pound the chassis too, and although reinforcements like the boot-spanning crossmember some built-in flex, the shock can still cajole rattles from the well heeled cabin. Smooth, sweeping A-roads get the best from this car, when the accurate electric steering helps manage rapid, enjoyable progress.