If you’re one of those many lovers of BMW’s new Mini, prepare to have to calm yourself down: these are the first official photographs of the hottest version of the new Mini, which goes on sale this summer, and will be available in both standard three-door hatchback and five-door Clubman bodystyles.BMW will unveil the new Mini John Cooper Works versions at the Geneva motor show next week. They are the first Works Minis to have been developed in-house by Mini, after BMW bought the rights to the brand from Mike Cooper last year, and so had full control of the development and engineering of these new Mini Works cars. It will also have full control of their build, at Plant Oxford.
Mini has spared no expense or effort in giving the standard Cooper S’ 1.6-litre turbo engine even more power and torque for the Works version. Many of the modifications it has made are identical to those it carries out for the engine of its Mini Challenge race cars.The engine’s air filter, air mass meter, induction system, exhaust system, catalyst, turbocharger, cylinder head, cylinder gasket, pistons, valves and valve seats have all been upgraded. As a result, this compact motor develops 208bhp and a punchy 207lb ft of torque on temporary overboost, which is enough to propel the Mini JCW hatchback to 62mph in 6.5sec and on to 148mph.This engine is also the first in the Mini’s range to be compatible with EuroV emissions stipulations, which come into force in 2009 – so it’s both powerful and clean – and, thanks to Mini’s stop-start system, returns more than 40mpg on the combined cycle.
Also borrowed from the Mini Challenge cup car are many of the Mini JCW’s chassis components. Included are the car’s 17in vented front disc brakes and its cross spoke Challenge alloy wheels. Customers will also be offered the chance to upgrade to an even lower, stiffer setup which will be ideal for track work.
This new Mini Works will be the first to be offered with BMW’s Dynamic Traction Control system. Working in tandem with the car’s electronic differential lock, this allows controlled slip on the drive wheels, to the improvement of traction and accelerative oomph.A leather steering wheel, air conditional, piano black interior trim and an anthracite headlining all come as standard, as does an upgraded 10-speaker stereo, a 160mph speedo and ‘Works’ exterior badging.
Though it may be quick, one thing this hot Mini won’t be is cheap. Prices on the three-door hatch should kick-off from £20,500 this July, while the Cooper Works Clubman version will be £21,700. So it’s a Mini that costs more than a VW Golf GTi, and will require as much commitment from its customers in buying as it will in driving. Still, expect residual values on the earliest cars to be very strong indeed, so if you’re going to buy one, now would be the time…