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by Matt Brogan

Mini have released a special edition John Cooper Works model to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alec Issigonis’ now legendary original small car concept, the 1959 Mini.

With its transverse-mounted (front) four-cylinder engine, and space for four occupants plus luggage, Mini was to become a byword for economy of space and driving fun. That same year, sports car constructor John Cooper won his first Formula One World Championship title with Jack Brabham at the wheel, as well as victory in the F1 Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship for John Cooper’s racing team.

Fifty years on, the Mini John Cooper Works World Championship 50 special edition evokes that same triumphant spirit.

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Based on the Mini John Cooper Works, the special edition Mini was inspired by John Cooper’s son, Mike. His signature appears on the facia and on one of the bonnet stripes. It will have a strictly limited production run of 500 units worldwide and will become one of the most exclusive Mini models ever produced.

The 155kW production version of the Mini John Cooper Works World Championship 50 features numerous exterior and interior details reflecting the racing pedigree of the brand, including a one-off colour called Connaught Green that harks back to the famous colour of British racing cars of the 1950s and 60s. The green with the white bonnet stripes mirror the colour concept of the Cooper F1 cars.

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A special aerodynamics package and light-weight ‘Challenge’ alloy wheels, finished in Jet Black, join a feature list that includes bi-xenon headlamps with special black interior surface and additional driving lights with black housings and an extensive carbon fibre highlight package.

Special numbering on the side scuttles finishers identifies each Mini John Cooper Works World Championship 50 as an individual entity of an exclusive limited series.

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Inside the colour and trim of the special edition Mini maintains the racing theme with carbon black upholstery overlaid by subtle sporty red touches. The full leather sports seats come in black with red piping and the red theme is perpetuated with co-ordinating red knee-rolls, armrests and red stitching on the floor mats, gearshift & handbrake gaiters. Facia, and door grip finishers continue the carbon fibre theme, as does the John Cooper Works insert on the Sports Steering Wheel, which has an Alcantara rim.

Motivation comes courtesy of a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine which is based on that found in Mini John Cooper Works Challenge race vehicles. It provides 155kW and develops maximum torque of 260Nm between 1,850 and 5,600rpm, which can even be briefly increased to 280Nm thanks to an overboost feature.

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Mated to a six-speed manual gearbox the special edition Mini manages 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds with a top speed of 238km/h. Fuel consumption is 6.9L/100km on the combined cycle while the CO2 figure stands at just 165g/km.

Suspension features McPherson struts on the front axle and a central-arm rear axle. Electromechanical power steering (EPS) also helps guarantee precise handling. A Sport button (also standard) on the centre console sharpens the steering even further while also switching the accelerator pedal control map to an even sportier mode. The large sports brake system with red aluminium callipers guarantees short stopping distances.

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Standard equipment also features Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) including Hill Assist, Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) and Brake Assist. With DTC switched off, furthermore, an Electronic Differential Lock Control system (also fitted as standard) is activated for the drive axle, supporting more dynamic driving when accelerating out of corners or switchbacks, for example.

The first vehicles are due off the production line in the first quarter of 2010 with Mini Australia hoping to secure a limited number of vehicles. Pricing will be announced closer to that date.




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