Click above for more pictures of the 2008 John Cooper Works MINI

If a Corvette Z06 with its monstrous 7.0-liter eight cylinder engine was able to achieve nearly 31 miles per gallon at the MPG Marathon, what were some other performance cars able to manage? BMW's MINI can be both an economy car or a serious sporting contender depending on what engine option resides under its short little bonnet, and the highest of all performing Coopers features a force-fed 1.6-liter engine that's included as part of the John Cooper Works package. One such JCW MINI took part in the aforementioned mileage challenge and after the first day of 411 total miles of various roads, the team of auto scribes from Auto Express managed an impressive 53.3 mpg. That equates to an improvement of over 25-percent when compared to the JCW's combined European rating. To get that high mileage, the drivers of the car shifted early, usually under 2,000 RPM, kept a light foot on the throttle and didn't pass 40 miles per hour.

For a more accurate portrayal of the kind of mileage you might manage from a JCW MINI just by driving the speed limit and with a reasonable amount of restraint, the team adjusted their driving habits for the second day of testing and drove the 60 mph speed limit. The results? Not bad at all, with the tally coming in at 49.4 mpg after the second day had ended. A spokesperson for MINI U.K. was impressed, saying, "You've proved this model is the UK's greenest hot hatch. We believe this makes the JCW ideal for drivers who want to downsize, reduce fuel costs and environmental impact, but still own a sporting car." High praise indeed, though it came from a person with a vested interest to believe his own words. Still, despite the fact that it didn't win any records, it was a fine effort.

[Source: Auto Express]

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