The Mini John Cooper Works range will receive a new engine this year and, in a JCW first, the option of a six-speed automatic gearbox.
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The new engine keeps the proven twin-scroll turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder platform with direct-injection but benefits from more boost, an aluminium block and bearing mounts, reinforced pistons, sodium-filled exhaust valves, a high-strength cylinder head, lightened crankshaft, an intake camshaft with infinite phase adjustment and a new exhaust system with dual polished stainless-steel tailpipes. This combination plus the addition of variable valve control promises better response and improved environmental credentials.

Mini says fuel consumption in the EU test cycle has been cut by up to 0.5 litres per 100 kilometres, depending on model specification but product communications manager for Mini Australia Scott Croaker explained that this reduction may not be so visible once the new Euro 5-specification emission standard engines reach Australian shores.“The Euro 5 engine figures are based on using European fuels, with a higher ethanol content, which Australian fuels don’t have.”

Croaker expects Australian delivered cars will remain closer to the current engine’s 6.9L/100km fuel consumption but CO2 emissions will see an improvement from 165g/km to 153g/km (manual transmission) when it arrives later this year ahead of the Mini John Cooper Works GP in 2013.

Performance figures are expected to look similar to the current engine despite the increased punch meaning 155kW and 260Nm but a peak of 280Nm will be available from 2000-5200rpm for several seconds thanks to an overboost function.

Joining the new engine will be the currently available six-speed manual gearbox but also a six-speed Steptronic automatic transmission will be available for the first time on a JCW model allowing drivers to change gear with either the selector lever or steering wheel-mounted paddles.

Prices for the new line-up are yet to be finalised.