The revised Mini John Cooper Works 3Dr delivers unfiltered fun
Mini with the Works he Mini John Cooper Works 3Dr harks back to the purity of Mini brand. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

The Mini John Cooper Works (JCW) three-door is a car for the purist. This is good news if you happen to be one, but not so good if you are anything less than a lukewarm enthusiast.

Compared with its first iteration of the current-generation car which appeared here in 2015, the latest JCW gets an eight-speed autobox (up from six) and a huge dollop of attitude.

The first thing you notice is how much noticeable its exhaust note is. Even when driven with a light throttle, you can clearly make out the baritone emanating from its tailpipes. This becomes a crackling pop-bang-boom that rises with every degree of pedal travel.

The ride seems firmer than before. Although it is not outright uncomfortable, the suspension responds to changes in tarmac topography with coffee-spilling tendencies.

As before, the JCW's helm is very driver-focused, with a steering that is quick, precise and communicative.

The car has 231hp and 320Nm of torque from its 2-litre turbo engine. This is the same as before, except that peak torque is attainable at a slightly higher 1,450rpm (from 1,250rpm previously).

As before, the output is put to good use by the Mini's able chassis. Despite its eight-speeder, acceleration to 100kmh and top speed remain unchanged at 6.1 seconds and 246kmh respectively. Curiously, fuel consumption is a tad worse off at 6 litres for 100km (from 5.9 litres).

This could be because of Europe's shift towards a more realistic method of measuring efficiency.

What is different, though, is the way the car translates power to performance. Throttle response is now more urgent, with pedal pressure and lift-off keenly felt by every occupant onboard.

This unfiltered response is deliciously addictive, but alas it is not something you can live with every minute you are on the road. After a spell, it gets tiring. And no matter how gingerly you apply the brakes, the car comes to halt at every junction almost as if it were an F1 pitstop.

Those who feel the other European hot hatches have become too refined and spiritless will welcome the Mini JCW's tuning.

The three-door configuration also harks back to the purity of the Mini brand, although a number of stylistic changes pull it in the other direction.

Full adaptive LED headlights, tail-lights with a Union Jack design, a lit fascia similarly adorned on the passenger side - these are the main visual changes in the revised car.

As with all Minis in recent years, the three-door JCW's build quality commensurates with its premium positioning.

There are also more frills, including head-up display, navigation and Apple CarPlay and Harman Kardon hi-fi. In fact, you will find most of the bells and whistles in a modern premium performance machine.

But the car clings to one thing from the past: a handbrake lever. The problem is that you sometimes forget to release it. This is because the car feels so modern otherwise, and most other cars have already dispensed with this yesteryear feature.

Perhaps Mini believes it still has a purist audience then.