I last drove a two-door Mini in 2013 and it was the Mini Cooper Coupe—you know, the one that looked like a hat. But I liked that about it and it was quite fun, especially with the manual. I’m circling back on that idea now with the 2019 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop Knights Edition. What do you want to know about it?
Call me a lousy traditionalist, but I’m not too keen on these four-door Minis people are running around with today. Admittedly, I never paid much attention to Minis, but now that I’m driving one, I’ve started. There are way more four-door Minis on the road than there are two-door ones. And to those people I say: You cowards. You bought a stretched out Mini, which defeats the whole purpose of a Mini.
The Mini I have is the JCW Hardtop, but it’s also the Knights Edition, which means it comes standard with the black and silver exterior color scheme. The Mini badges are piano black, which I sort of love, and so is the fuel filler cap. It has a six-speed automatic transmission that’s hooked up to a 2.0-liter, turbo-four that produces 228 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. All that gets sent to the front wheels.
The Mini is not a fast car, and I am okay with that. It doesn’t feel particularly lightweight, either. But the resulting sensation behind the wheel is that of a car that is stocky and substantial. It feels solid—and this one rides pretty hard, too. I’m not confident it will keep up with a Miata in tight corners, but you’ll still enjoy yourself at your own pace.
How much is it? Get ready: The base price is $31,900, but the Knights Edition, touchscreen navigation package and other miscellaneous accessories kick the final price of my loaner up to $42,565.