It’s honestly hard to find a front-wheel drive experience as fun as a MINI’s. There’s something inherently fun and thrilling about driving a proper MINI Cooper. In fact, one of my fondest automotive memories was flogging a MINI Cooper JCW (John Cooper Works) on some very twisty Virginia back roads (at the speed limit, VA officers). So it’s always nice to see MINI JCWs featured in car reviews, such as this one from The Smoking Tire.

Now that Matt Farah is mostly doing press car reviews, he’s left Zack to do  the fan-based One Take drives and this latest one features a lightly-modified 2016 MINI JCW and it looks like a ton of fun.

Being a pre-facelift version, this specific MINI Cooper JCW features a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 228 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. When paired with a six-speed manual, as this car is, it can get from 0-60 mph in just 6.o seconds. That’s not blistering but it’s far quick enough to be fun. Plus, MINIs are more about handling and excitement than straight-line speed.

This specific MINI Cooper JCW also gets a set of BC Coilers, which help to increase that pocket-sized fun factor. It also gets a new catback exhaust, which sounds positively devilish on throttle lift. On throttle, there seems to be a lot of induction noise, which is something that should make old-school BMW enthusiasts happy, and either a throttle lift/upshift or downshift will engage all of the fantastic pops and bangs we’ve become accustomed to.

Zack also comments on how quiet and refined it is, as it’s surprisingly quiet inside, despite having hard suspension and less sound deadening. Thank BMW’s influence and UKL architecture for that. We’ve driven a lot of new MINIs and they just keep becoming more and more refined. Despite that, though, it’s still a bit of a rocket and an absolute blast to drive.