The Mini John Cooper Works is making its North American debut at the 2008 New York show.
For those disappointed by the Mini's recent weight gain, both in three-door and Clubman guise, there's hope with a new performance variant. The new John Cooper Works cars bring even more torque and improved handling to the British-Bavarian table.
Starting with the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder found in the Cooper S, JCW Minis get a modified engine that is very similar to that of the John Cooper Works Challenge series cars. Boost gets a considerable, well, boost, from 13 psi in the Cooper S to nearly 19 psi. Engine internals are beefed up to handle the increased heat and output. The four-banger's breathing is aided by a reworked air filter, turbo, and exhaust, which also gives the JCWs a unique sound. All of these changes add up to 207 hp at 6000 rpm and 192 lb-ft of torque between 1850 and 5600 rpm. If that weren't enough, boost is turned all the way up between 2000 and 5300 rpm bringing torque to 207 lb-ft. A modified 6-speed manual handles the excess(ive?) torque.
Putting all of that twist to the road will be the job of a tweaked chassis. A sport button changes the electric-assisted steering to a more, you guessed it, sporty program with higher steering torque, and also changes the sensitivity of the accelerator pedal. A sport suspension comes standard and can be augmented with optional harder dampers and stronger stabilizers front and rear. There is also an available John Cooper Works chassis that lowers the car by 10 millimeters and replaces the dampers with still harder ones while the stabilizers are an even larger diameter. Regardless of the suspension option, there's less unsprung weight to contend with thanks to lighter rims and brakes - the unique 17-inch alloy wheels weigh less than 22 lbs each.
All of these changes will allow the traditional three-door Mini to scoot to 62 mph in 6.5 seconds, while the slightly larger Clubman does the job in 6.8. Either body style will be able to reach 148 mph and the Mini's already-huge speedometer will display 160 mph on the Cooper Works cars.
Other interior upgrades that may not portend the JCW cars' increased sporting potential include an anthracite headliner and gloss piano black trim. And since no Mini is complete without a slew of dress-up bits, the full line of Mini options and accessories will be available on the cars, along with John Cooper Works performance and appearance parts.
The Mini John Cooper Works and John Cooper Works Clubman will be the first JCW models built for customers at Mini's Oxford factory. Prior to Mini's purchase of the John Cooper Works brand, JCW kits were offered as a dealer-installed option.
The factory-built cars will make their debut at this year's Geneva show. U.S pricing hasn't been announced, but expect a premium of a at least a few thousand dollars over the Cooper S.