The new-generation JCW’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine pumps out 170kW of power between 5200-6000rpm and 320Nm of torque across a broad 1250-4800rpm range – easily outgunning the 155kW and 260Nm of the old JCW’s 1.6-litre turbo. It also produces a healthy 29kW and 40Nm over the new Cooper S.
Teamed with the optional six-speed automatic transmission, the new engine launches the John Cooper Works hot-hatch from 0-100km/h in 6.1 seconds – slashing six-tenths of a second off its predecessor’s sprint benchmark. The standard six-speed manual version is 0.2sec slower to triple figures at 6.3sec.
Despite the extra grunt, combined cycle fuel consumption of the auto falls 23 per cent to 5.7 litres per 100 kilometres, while the manual improves four per cent to 6.7L/100km.
Mini Australia national manager Kai Bruesewitz told CarAdvice last month the new JCW would reach our shores around the middle of 2015 priced from “around $48,000” – undercutting both the old JCW and its closest rival, the $49,900 Audi S1.
The JCW’s single-joint spring strut front and multi-link rear suspension is based on the underpinnings of the Cooper S but tuned specially for the flagship performance variant. Adaptive dampers with sport and comfort settings are optional.
The brakes were designed in collaboration with Brembo and are exclusive to the JCW, as are the standard 17-inch and optional 18-inch alloy wheels.
The electronic stability control system incorporates an electronic differential lock, while the electromechanical power steering features a torque steer compensation function to reduce self-steer tendencies.
The Mini JCW takes plenty of inspiration from the concept version that debuted in Detroit 11 months ago, differentiating itself from the Cooper S by its unique grille, front and rear bumpers with additional air intakes and outlets, LED headlights with white indicators, new exhaust outlets, and naturally John Cooper Works badges on the grille and tailgate.
As with the regular models in the third-generation Cooper range, the new JCW’s interior is more spacious for rear passengers and features a larger boot – up from 160 litres to 211L. Quality also promises to take a big step forward, with the introduction of soft-touch plastics and better materials used across the dash and throughout the cabin.
Leather wraps around the steering wheel and gearshifter, the pedals are stainless steel, the roof liner is finished in black anthracite, and red highlights flash across the tiller, seats and centre console.
The full range of driving assistant functions are available, including adaptive cruise control, collision and pedestrian warning with auto braking, reverse-view camera, high beam assist, road sign detection and a head-up display system.
The JCW is also available with the 8.8-inch Navigation System Professional, which brings the touch-sensitive controller and an in-built SIM card for internet connectivity and emergency call function.
Local specifications will be detailed closer to the Mini JCW’s mid-2015 launch.