When the first BMC Mini was introduced in 1959, its power output was 25 kW () from a very modest 848 cm³ engine that could eventually take it to 100 km/h (62 mph) in about 26 s and on to a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph)—on a good day.
At the 2015 North American Auto Show in Detroit, the most powerful production Mini ever will be revealed. Its power output is 170 kW (228 hp) from a still relatively modest 2.0-L turbocharged engine that can take it to 100 km/h in 6.1 s and on to a top speed of 245 km/h (152 mph), more than doubling that of the original car.
The new Mini is the latest generation of the John Cooper Works (JCW) range leader. Compared to the outgoing 1.6-L model, the new 2.0-L presents a power hike up by 10%, and maximum torque, at 320 N·m (236 lb·ft) from 1250 to 4800 rpm, improved by a very impressive 23% to enhance driving flexibility. Acceleration from 80 to 120 km/h (50 to 75 mph) is down by 10%.
The car’s engine, based on the Mini Cooper S unit, uses fully variable valve control and variable camshaft control. Improved aerodynamic efficiency has also contributed to the performance gains, and Mini has also focused on minimizing weight without losing the car’s premium equipment.
Transmission options are a six-speed Steptronic or six-speed manual, the former giving the 6.1-s 0-100 km/h time, the latter increasing this slightly by 0.2 s.
Mini describes the latest JCW as drawing on the brand's motorsport expertise with a package of suspension, brake, aerodynamic, and interior modifications “to deliver race-car sensations without losing sight of Mini's premium position.”
Or its emphasis on fuel consumption. The original Mini averaged between about 7.0 to 5.7 L/km. The JCW’s combined NEDC consumption with the manual gearbox is 6.7 L/100 km with CO2 emissions of 155 g/km. With Steptronic, economy improves by 20% to 5.7 L/100 km (coincidentally almost exactly the same as the original Mini’s best), with CO2 emissions down to 133 g/km. The original Mini weighed 585 kg (1290 lb), around half that of the JCW.
Both the suspension and the ZF Servotronic electromechanical power steering have been tuned to complement the JCW’s extra power and torque. Newly developed four-piston Brembo brakes within 17-in light-alloy wheels are fitted; 18-in are optional. Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC), and Performance Control (PC) are standard, with Dynamic Damper Control an option.
Mini stresses the JCW’s aerodynamic changes have been introduced “with a purpose rather than for purely aesthetic reasons.” They include a new front apron with large engine air intakes, modified side sills, a model-specific rear apron, and a JCW spoiler.
The car has LED headlights with white turn indicators, wheel-arch surrounds, and unique radiator grille, side scuttles, and tailgate with JCW badging.
Compared to other Mini versions, the JCW gets exclusive to model bucket seats with integrated headrests in Dinamica/fabric and a multi-function steering wheel with shift paddles (in conjunction with Steptronic transmission), gear selector, instrument displays, stainless steel pedals, and footrest.
Bespoke JCW personalization options include a model-specific head-up display (HUD), Chili Red roof and door mirror covers, bonnet stripes, and exterior and interior John Cooper Works Pro design accessories in addition to the other options available for the entire Mini range.