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KickingTires Not Sold On The MINI JCW Concept

Cars.com's KickingTires blog editors looked at the concept cars that debuted at the 2014 North American International Austomobile Show and three out of four thought the design to be a "Loser":
JW: Winner

Mini had me with the unpainted sheet metal look. It's covered with clearcoat, but it harks back to prewar Mercedes racecars that were stripped of their paint in a claimed attempt (later exposed as apocrypha) to save weight — the weight-lightening movement gone extreme. Beyond that, my hope is the new suspensions will make the JCW ride more comfortably.

AB: Loser

This is not a concept car. This is a "noncept" car, a car that's called a concept but is quite obviously a precursor to the actual production vehicle. At least Acura called its a "prototype," which I can live with. I dig the unpainted metal look, and the scoops, strakes, stripes and flares are all acceptable on a John Cooper Works model, but as concepts go, this just doesn't fit my definition.

JB: Loser

I've seen this paint job before. It's what happens to a car after a year in the Cars.com long-term fleet. The JCW's imitation brushed aluminum paint looks like it was driven through a patch of bushes at 100 mph.

MH: Loser

I appreciated the unique exterior finish but not the car's numerous cartoonish design cues. I mean, five intake vents below the grille? Really? Previous JCW models have had a hard-edged driving experience. If the new one does, too, the styling needs to be a little more menacing and less chipper.

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