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  • It's spacious up front. , It feels solid and sturdy., It's appealing and nothing but compliments are a regular.
  • It sits high. The gap between the fender and the tire is about 2"., Wondering what will break based on other's experiences., Premium cost for labor.

by A Aron

It’s honestly hard to say in numbers what I can recommend, but I will mention I have been inside the 2011 JCW hardtop for a year now. I’ve owned: an AP1 S2000, 2 mk3 supras, have driven: a 2011 135i, 2007 s2000, and several 350z’s. This hatch is indeed impressive in its acceleration.

As previously mentioned by others, it may seem a bit dull on a straight line 0-60. Please don’t buy this car and do this on a daily basis. You won’t be thrilled. Instead, take it 0-60 through a windy road. The JCW excels best in these conditions. It sticks to the road very well in high action driving. And stopping power is pretty impressive. This is the short version of the driving experience. I highly recommend driving one, much less, buying one. That is if your are much of an enthusiast.

However, here are my concerns, which I must say has got me wondering several times a week if it’s time to retire the ownership of such a vehicle. At under 36,000 miles, my clutch and flywheel started failing as a result of the throw out bearing slipping off to the side, causing uneven wear. Luckily, because I was in warranty, it was covered. This is not a very common problem, however, to my knowledge, clutch life of r56 MINI Cooper S and above is estimated at an average of 50-60k miles, and that’s driving like a gentleman.

It isn’t to be a surprise if your clutch goes out before it’s 75,000 mile range. Another issue I had was my water pump having signs of premature failure. Another item, because of power train warranty, was covered. Let me mention this is another common problem in 2007-2010 and early 2011 model MINI Cooper S and JCW alike. Mine was manufactured in May 2011, needless to say.

Here is another concern of mine. The timing chain tensioner (TCT) has been known to fail around the 50-60k mile range. Longevity seems to be an issue I suppose. While I’m currently under 38,000 miles, I am considering getting my TCT switched out as preventative maintenance. In no way should I be responsible for having to replace the broken parts resulting in a failing TCT especially if it occurs under 60k miles. And to include, I haven’t heard of such a part failing so early in any vehicle.

In short, I am contemplating on switching out vehicles for the sake of a manufacture’s lack of quality builds and failure to recognize the frequently occurring problems that should be labeled as recall items, which might I add, should be warranted regardless if the vehicle is in warranty or not. If this was such a case, I would have no problems owning the MINI and would not mind driving it till it falls apart.

Examples of would-be costs, provided warranty didn’t cover prematurely failing clutch/flywheel assembly. Clutch: $250, flywheel: $1063, labor: $1800.
Prematurely failing water pump: 2 hours of labor ( ~$280) plus parts.

What I love the most is how swift and nimble this automobile is.
I dislike such a large amount that the parts aren’t built to last. Another dislike is MINI does not do price match on their parts available. May I add there is no warranty placed on parts the have been replaced as a result of manufacture defect? This absolutely leaves room for technician error. Oh, but most certainly you can shell out the cash and receive your warranty on such parts.

Last but not least, what I hate out of everything possible, is the fact that with proper care and maintenance, and without any sort of notice, my TCT can fail and ruin my entire engine assembly. It has happened to many owners of 2007-2010 Coopers, and indeed early 2011 as well. And is this covered knowing the tensioner has a history of prematurely failing? I don’t want to find out.

This is my experience of ownership thus far, and once again, I am entirely unsure if I can continue ownership of the 2011 MINI JCW. It’s too unstable.

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2011 Mini Cooper S JCW Review Review
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