2021 Mini Cooper JCW GP’s Loud Wail Shames Sports Coupes

Hatchbacks like the Mini Cooper don’t usually have a good reputation for being fast or powerful cars. That’s where the hot hatch segment comes in, and as far as high-performance hatchbacks go, the Mini Cooper is actually at the top. Here’s a look at how the 2021 Mini Cooper JCW GP is one of the loudest and most powerful hatches on the market.

How powerful the 2021 Mini Cooper JCW GP is

With a starting price tag of almost $46,000, the Mini Cooper JCW GP isn’t cheap, especially considering the fact that it’s still a Mini Cooper. However, as its name implies, it definitely is geared for speed, and according to Car and Driver, it’s very well-equipped for that job. The JCW GP comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that gets 301 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. 

For comparison, the regular Mini Cooper gets a small 1.5-liter engine that makes 134 hp. That’s not all, either. Car and Driver said that the JCW GP also removed the rear seats from the Mini Cooper, likely to make this Mini Cooper even more mini. 

And, as far as the numbers go, it seems to have worked. Car and Driver wrote that the JCW GP can go from 0 to 60 MPH in 4.7 seconds, and it has a top speed of 165 MPH. Compared to a supercar, those numbers don’t sound impressive. However, Car and Driver claims that the Mini Cooper JCW GP was in fact the quickest front-wheel-drive car that it has ever tested.

How it compares to others

Like Car and Driver said, in a straight line, the JCW GP is faster than its competitors, if only slightly. However, all of that power and speed comes at a cost. Namely, the ride quality of the JCW GP just isn’t that good, even for a car that was clearly built for the track. Not only is the ride quality “stiff,” but, according to Car and Driver, it’s simply “irritating.” 

Furthermore, and while this may just be a preference for some, for some reason, the JCW GP doesn’t come with a manual transmission. Manual transmissions are getting rare in the U.S., but folks who love high-performance cars also tend to love manual transmissions. As such, since the JCW GP doesn’t have a manual option, it does make it less appealing for the same people who would be interested in the car in the first place.

And of course, for better or worse, that powerful engine is really loud. In fact, it might actually be too loud.

The 2021 Mini Cooper JCW GP is extremely loud

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Car and Driver wrote that the 93-decibel roar of the JCW GP made it the loudest hatchback that Car and Driver has ever tested. The JCW GP isn’t that loud all the time, as it has a 53-decibel idle, and it hits about 77 decibels when cruising at highway speeds. While some folks might find it entertaining to drive around in a very loud hatchback, it can actually be unhealthy.

According to the CDC, being exposed to sounds that are above 70 decibels for a long period of time can cause permanent hearing damage. And, since the JCW GP can easily generate noise levels past 70 decibels, it might not take a long time before owners start to experience some of that permanent hearing loss. 

Indeed, even Car and Driver recommended wearing earplugs if anyone wants to take their JCW GP out on a long drive. It’s not immediately clear what Mini can do to solve this issue, or even if it wants to. Regardless, being loud is the price that the JCW GP has to pay for being so powerful.