Mini has crowned its lineup with a second-generation version of the John Cooper Works.
Shown just over a week ahead of an official unveiling at the Geneva motor show, the new go-fast Mini is planned to head to the United States in August in two distinct body styles in a move aimed at seeing it appeal to as wide an audience as possible.
As with the second generation of the Mini Cooper S–on sale in North America since 2007, buyers will be able to choose between a standard two-door or roomier three-door Clubman at $28,550 and $30,800, respectively.
Both models run the same turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder direct injection gasoline engine–the result of a joint venture between Mini parent company, BMW, and French car maker Peugeot.
A development of the engine found in the Cooper S, the four-banger has been reworked with additional turbocharger boost pressure (up from 13 psi to 18.9 psi) and a lower compression ratio (down from 10.5:1 to 10.0:1) along with a raft of internal tweaks including a reinforced cylinder head, revised valve rings and specially machined pistons.
Power is rated at 218 horsepower, giving the new John Cooper Works an 8-hp increase on the first-generation model, which ran a decidedly less advanced supercharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. Torque is also up by 11 lb-ft to 192 lb-ft between 1850 and 5600 rpm. As with the old model, the new range topping Mini also boasts an overboost function that lifts its torque to 207 lb-ft, but it is available only for short periods to help during passing.
Drive goes to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, with an electronic differential ensuring torque steer and wheelspin are kept well in check. Mini claims a 0-62 mph time of 6.5 seconds for the two-door–a mere 0.1 seconds faster than the car it replaces–and 6.8 seconds for the heavier three-door. More impressive are the 50-75 mph fourth gear splits, which are put 5.2 seconds and 5.4 seconds, respectively. Both models are credited with a top speed of 148 mph.
You’ll recognize the latest John Cooper Works models by way of their aggressive new body kits. Similar to that unveiled on Mini’s latest Challenge race car, it gives the new model a sportier appearance. While sharing the same front end look, the two-door and three-door models differ dramatically from the A-pillars backward, with their own unique look, especially at the rear.