2024 Mini John Cooper Works 3-Door 1 to 6 Edition

This one-of-999 Mini marks the end of an era, but it's not without its flaws
This one-of-999 Mini marks the end of an era, but it's not without its flaws

by Imran Salam | May 28, 2024


The original Mini was first introduced in 1959, and certainly lived up to its name with its diminutive size. Despite bouncing around with different owners over its tenure, it quickly became an icon — and a successful one, at that, having been under BMW’s ownership since 1994. The Minis you see today have BMW bones and undertones, which is no bad thing, especially since the lineup has now expanded to include a number of different models and special edition trims. This 2024 Mini John Cooper Works 3-Door 1 to 6 Edition is the latest special edition model for this year, with only 999 units earmarked for production.

As much as Mini wants you to think this 1 to 6 Edition model is special, it kind of isn’t. It refers to the sole transmission available on this version of the John Cooper Works 3-door Mini — a row-your-own six-speed manual — plus “1 to 6” graphics all over, “one of 999” etched into the dash and sunroof, and a singular racing stripe running down the car, all in addition to the clutch pedal. The somewhat head-stratching part is that every three-door Mini, including the JCW, has almost always been available with a manual. It seems odd at first that Mini would celebrate something you could get all along, but with the next-generation Mini slated to be automatic-only, we get the idea behind this last hurrah. Still, I’m not sure it’s really worth celebrating.

I’m firmly in the #SaveTheManuals camp. [I’ve seen the memes you share in our group chat. You’re more a #ManualElitistJerk. —Ed.] Two of my three cars are manuals, and the last stickshift Mini we reviewed was a gem, but it was hard for me to fall in love with this specific manual. That’s not to say I didn’t fall in love with the rest of the car — I previously owned a JCW Mini, except it was automatic — but in my time with this newer model, I kept thinking two things: this interior is virtually identical to my old 2016 JCW, and I actually enjoyed my automatic JCW more. Gasp!

The BMW-sourced 2.0-litre turbo-four is as stout as I recall from 2016, and punches well above its 228 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque ratings suggest. There’s a big fat and flat torque curve that puts a smile on your face every time you bury the accelerator. The JCW feels positively zippy, with ample passing power for most every occasion. I was bummed to see that they subdued the exhaust note, as my 2016 had considerably more snaps, crackles, and pops relative to this 2024 model.

Things start to go south when you have to work the somewhat springy clutch, the slightly-too-notchy shifter, and then wait, and wait, and wait for the absurdly heavy flywheel to slow down enough so the revs drop and you can execute a smooth shift. There is an obvious heft to the flywheel that causes the engine to hold revs so badly that shifting quickly causes the car to buck and jerk when you drive it with gusto. It’s very odd and something I haven’t experienced in any other manual. Yes Hondas are notorious for a software-based rev hang, but it’s not as egregious as this. It’s as though Mini picked a flywheel from the BMW parts bin that simply fit, and didn’t fine-tune the overall experience.

If you’re not hustling the gearbox, it’s passable, but there’s a bit of a split personality going on with the whole thing. The notchy shifter encourages you to be physical and bang through the gears, whereas the clutch/flywheel combo tells you to slow down, so it’s hard to get into a good rhythm.  Luckily, there is a solution available in the form of an automatic transmission — forgive me, Car Gods, for I have sinned.  Both the older six-speed automatic in my JCW and the newer seven-speed are responsive, surprisingly fun, and eliminate the annoying heavy flywheel inertia issue.

The rest of the car is pure Mini, despite having grown in size over the years. It maintains that go-kart feel, with its stiff suspension and short wheelbase providing you with the darty drive Mini fans enjoy, myself included. The steering is very BMW-like, from the thick-rimmed steering wheel to the lack of much road feel, but it’s not egregious overall. The suspension is just stiff enough as to not beat you up, but never relaxes from its sporting intent, exactly how a John Cooper Works Mini should be.

The interior is a bit of a time capsule in and of itself. It takes me back to 2016, minus the upgraded infotainment display and semi-digital gauge cluster. I appreciate that the infotainment screen is now touch-based, though it keeps the rotary knob — which is, surprisingly, still uselessly positioned near the handbrake. Because of its boxy shape, the cabin feels airy, with a comfortable seating position and usable space in the back for adults, at least for short trips. With the rear seats folded flat, you get 731 litres of cargo space, and with the hatch opening, it’s easy to stuff your flat-pack Ikea goodies in there. The overall design is quintessentially Mini, with retro-chic toggle switches, round displays, and funky ambient lighting and seat fabric design. It really is like nothing else.

As is par for the course, this 2024 Mini John Cooper Works 3-Door 1 to 6 Edition oozes cool, but is not without its flaws as it nears the end of its life cycle. The special edition looks good with its black accents and unique graphics, but it’s missing anything of substance to really make it stand out from the rest of the MINI lineup. On top of all that, this Mini’s price tag is anything but, coming in at a somewhat surprising $46,295 as-tested, which isn’t far off spicier sport compacts like the Hyundai Elantra N and the Toyota GR Corolla. As much as I wanted to love this last hurrah, you’re better off with the automatic. I know, I know.


Vehicle Specs
Compact hatchback
Engine Size
2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder
Horsepower (at RPM)
228 hp at 5,200 rpm
Torque (lb-ft.)
235 lb-ft at 1,450 rpm
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
211/731 (seats up/down)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Imran Salam

Staff Writer

Imran is a true enthusiast who you'll find at shows, local meets, Sunday drives or the track. He appreciates the variety the car industry has to offer, having owned over a dozen cars from different manufacturers. Imran is grateful to own one of his childhood poster cars and enjoys inspiring the next generation. When Imran is not behind wheel he is found playing basketball or spending time with family.

Current Toys: '13 Boxster S 6MT, '24 Integra Type S, '08 328xi