Mini to campaign JCW Coupe Endurance racer at 24hr Nürburgring race

June 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Only a few days after first showing the production version of its new two-seater Coupe (read news), Mini has now revealed the John Cooper Works Coupe Endurance car.

The motorsport world will get its first look at the Coupe race car when it goes up against the supercars at this weekend’s Nürburgring 24 hour endurance race. The Mini will compete in the SP 3T class.

An entire day worth of racing at the ‘Green Hell’ is a big ask for the little Mini on debut but it has been given the virtues to possibly get through. Under the bonnet is a tuned version of the stock N14 4-cylinder, 1.6-litre engine that uses twin-scroll turbocharging as well as direct injection. Power has been increased to 185kW with 330Nm of max torque on tap this will enable the Mini to hit a top speed of 240km/h whenever it can reach it. While exact sprint and performance times haven’t been announced, expect the 965kg enduro car to accelerate at an express pace.

Keeping the JCW Coupe held tight to the tarmac is the same adjustable race suspension system used in the Mini Challenge race car. There’s also a race-tuned Dynamic Stability Control system and ABS braking. Keeping it safe is a full roll cage, racing seat, 6-point seatbelt and HANS system. Continue reading “Mini to campaign JCW Coupe Endurance racer at 24hr Nürburgring race” »

Mini officially reveals its 2012 Cooper Coupe

June 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mini has officially released images and specifications for its 2012 Cooper Coupe today and it stacks up as one fun machine. Built to be the quickest and most aggressive Mini in the range the Coupe is the first two-seater ever produced by the brand.

Mini’s Coupe will be available in three variants, the standard Cooper Coupe, Cooper S Coupe and John Cooper Works Coupe (pictured).

Exterior styling is consistent with the numerous spy shots circulating online and is has similarities to the Cooper hatch but some design cues all its own. Steep A-pilars push into a short, sloping rear roofline with an integrated roof spoiler. There’s a unique-for-the-brand speed-activated boot wing at the rear while up front it’s more familiar with the same round headlights and broad blackened grille. The coupe will also get a handful of unique colours.

In the compact cabin Mini’s Coupe keeps with the rounded theme but it’s adapted to fit into the smaller body shape. Replacing the rear seat in the standard hatch is a small cargo shelf with two integrated storage bins. Space in the hatch is understandably limited but longer items can pass through the rear bulkhead into the cabin if required.  Continue reading “Mini officially reveals its 2012 Cooper Coupe” »

AC Schnitzer builds Eagle concept – world’s fastest Mini (+video)

June 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Being the fastest of the bunch is seldom a bad thing, extra speed usually equals extra kudos. This fact hasn’t been wasted on the BMW Group which recently set about building the world’s fastest Mini.

Called the Eagle concept car, this mean Mini was pieced together by specialist BMW tuner AC Schnitzer. To prove its ability and take its place as the Asafa Powell of Minis, the concept was taken to the Hockenheim circuit where it turned in a cracking lap time of 1:13.34. To put things into perspective a standard issue Ferrari California achieves a time of 1:13.5 and a Porsche 911 Turbo 1:14.6 – so the Mini was very rapid indeed.

The Eagle is based on the standard John Coooper Works platform and uses a modded version of its 1.6-litre turbocharged engine. Power output is fairly modest at 194kW but the vehicle’s weight has been further reduced by 80kg. Other tweaks include height adjustable racing suspension and sharp 18-inch alloys with sport tyres. Continue reading “AC Schnitzer builds Eagle concept – world’s fastest Mini (+video)” »

Mini counting down to international motorsport return

March 23rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The wait is almost over for the return of Mini to the international motorsport stage. This season, the new Mini WRC Team will compete at selected rounds in the FIA World Rally Championship. The initial aim is to gain valuable experience, in order to be perfectly prepared for the complete 2012 World Championship season. The Mini John Cooper Works WRC has been developed by Prodrive, based on the Mini Countryman. It’s equipped with a 1.6-litre turbo engine derived from the Mini production models, which was developed by BMW Motorsport for use in a series run according to FIA Super2000 regulations, including the World Touring Car Championship. Beside its works involvement with the Mini John Cooper Works WRC, Prodrive is also supplying customer cars to private rally teams.

“The FIA World Rally Championship is the pinnacle of rallying, making it the ideal platform for demonstrating the competitive spirit of our brand,” says Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management, Sales and Marketing BMW Group. “Experience is a very important factor in motorsport. For that reason it is essential we learn as much as possible within a very short time, in order to make up ground on our rivals. The new regulations mean the gap to the top is smaller than it would have been at another time. We want to annoy the opposition as soon as possible.” Continue reading “Mini counting down to international motorsport return” »

Mini John Cooper Works and John Cooper Works Clubman

December 17th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Promotional driving footage

MINI drops the top on the John Cooper Works

February 11th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Mini Cooper John Cooper Works cabriolet fq

MINI will unveil the world’s fastest small premium cabriolet at the Geneva International Motor Show on 03 March 2009. The MINI John Cooper Works Convertible will take centre stage at the event and is on sale in the UK from 28 March 2009, priced at £23,470 on the road (approx. NZ$64,000) – there’s no word on when/whether it’ll actually come to New Zealand, but you can read our review of the JCW Mini hard top hatch here.

Featuring the same high performance engineering modifications as the Hatch model carrying the John Cooper Works badge, the Convertible’s 1.6-litre twin scroll-turbocharged engine produces 211 hp and up to 280 Nm peak torque with Overboost deployed.

The newcomer’s petrol power plant is a significantly revised version of the 1.6-litre turbocharged unit found in MINI Cooper S models, and the same as that in the MINI CHALLENGE race car. The engine is lighter, stronger and is supplied with a larger air intake and an exhaust system specifically designed for John Cooper Works cars.

The transmission’s gearing is strengthened to handle the extra available power; power that pushes the car to a remarkable output of 132 hp per litre.

The lengthy standard kit list of every MINI John Cooper Works Convertible includes a bespoke John Cooper Works Alcantara steering wheel, sport seats, John Cooper Works floor mats and glossy piano black interior.

A Sport button is located in front of the gear stick. When pressed it activates a bespoke engine control map producing boost earlier in the rev range and sharpening steering and throttle response. The gear knob featuring a red gearing diagram is unique to the MINI John Cooper Works.

Unique lightweight 17″ alloy wheels in Cross-spoke CHALLENGE design, shod with Run-flat tyres, feature on the exciting new Convertible. A John Cooper Works Aero kit is standard and the tuning brand’s logo is positioned on the boot, grille, brakes and door sills.

Extra-large disc brakes paired with upgraded bright red Brembo performance callipers are supplied. Chassis technologies ensuring a sporty and safe driving experience are also standard features of the MINI John Cooper Works:

* ABS Brakes
* EBD Electronic Brake Force Distribution
* CBC Cornering Brake Control
* EDLC Electronic Differential Lock Control
* DSC Dynamic Stability Control (incorporating Hill Assist)
* DTC Dynamic Traction Control

Unique to MINI John Cooper Works models is EDLC. With DSC fully deactivated, the car’s Electronic Differential Lock Control delivers an even sportier driving experience. EDLC works when the car is accelerating hard out of corners or tight bends. In this situation, it electronically slows the spinning inside wheel to enhance grip and ensure that all available power is transferred to the road through the wheel with greatest traction. In contrast to the way DSC and DTC manage power delivery to the wheels, EDLC does not intervene with the throughput of engine power, meaning the driver is in near total control of the handling of the car.

So, in the JCW Mini cabriolet we’ve got a car with enough flair to be seen in, but enough power to get away from being seen!

Mini John Cooper Works 2008 — Road Test

November 6th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


Ever since that cheeky David cracked Goliath’s head open with a stone and was then so inadequately depicted by Michelangelo we have all been a bit obsessed with size. In particular by examples of small overcoming big; like the rugby half-back who squares up against the number 8 or the short man who leaves the night-club with the hottest girl. Stories of underdogs winning through armed only with determination and guile are among our favourites.

Since the Mini’s first production back in 1959 it has epitomised the underdog ethos and captured the imagination of loyal enthusiasts worldwide. BMW has done well to retain so much of that spirit in the new model Mini — it’s still a fun and practical city car — but to truly bring out the underdog magic and give the terrier the sharp teeth to face a mastiff, BMW enlisted the help of John Cooper Works (JCW).

History lesson over; earlier this year BMW purchased JCW and it has recently released the first factory Mini John Cooper Works. Not just another power kit for the Cooper S with some higher spec replacement parts, this is a whole new angrier version of the iconic model. So what do you get over the standard Cooper S? Apart from the fastest factory made Mini ever, and apart from a modern incarnation of a legendary racer, you get a lot.

The Mini JCW is a looker, dressed up with lashings of carbon fibre and special badging to display its superior rank over more standard relations. Bespoke 17-inch rims are stuffed under the guards, and the run-flat tyres blend into the plastic surrounds. Like all new Minis the two-box styling of old still holds up well and unlike the reworked VW Beetle the Mini shape remains staunch and unfeminised. There are clever styling cues throughout from the honeycomb front grille up and over the carbon fibre bonnet scoop, along the special side-skirts and finishing at the centre-mounted dual exhaust tip.

Make the shift from outside to inside and you realise that physics mean nothing to the Mini as its interior appears bigger than its exterior looked. However, it is a definite two seater with little room in the rear for adult passengers. The circular styling of the interior is mesmerising, and with all the gauges illuminated the cabin lights up brighter than a power-station Christmas tree. Retro touches are plenty with chequered floor mats and toggle switches, but the Mini’s controls can be a little too tricky and are guilty of trading some functionality for style. The carbon fibre and JCW badging is maintained in the cabin, with part of the dashboard, the handbrake and even the gear knob receiving treatment. The sports seats are firm and hug both front occupants tightly. You do need to be hugged, because once you push that start button the Mini JCW turns from cute and familiar to leery and aggressive.

The production team at JCW has made wholesale changes to the Cooper S 1.6 litre power plant with a complete new cylinder head and reinforced pistons. An upgraded turbo runs a higher boost and a full sports exhaust is fitted from manifold through to exhaust tip. The result is 155kW and 260Nm of torque. The Mini JCW will slingshot from 0-100km in 6.5 seconds. Under wide-open throttle, extra spice is added with an overboost function – a little extra boost allowed for short periods. This increases the torque briefly to 280Nm. Acceleration is fierce and with all the power pushed onto the front wheels torque steer is an unavoidable side-effect but seldom a liability. The JCW Mini has a uniquely fun learning curve, and an ability to make the driver feel one-part Sebastian Loeb and two-part Dick Dastardly.
High driver confidence is in no way misguided, the Mini JCW feels calm and content even when driven on its limit. With its short wheelbase and wide track, plus the amount of power transmitted through the front wheels, the JCW is extremely nimble and responsive. The steering is surgically precise and during cornering the front end holds the road tighter than a stranded sailor does a Playboy magazine. A sport button offers further control by quickening the electrically-assisted power steering ratio and decreasing the amount of throttle pedal travel needed for response.

The ride borders on firm, but no more than is necessary and would only become uncomfortable on the bumpiest of kiwi roads. Stopping the Mini is huge four-pot Brembo brakes that have a suitably strong, resistant feel to them.

It’s hard to fault the Mini JCW as it’s a pure example of a small vehicle with a lightweight motor packing heavyweight performance. It can live a Jekyll-Hyde lifestyle; as an edgy, frenzied intimidator on request while still being a relaxed daily driver capable of 6.9 l/100km fuel economy.

David dropped Goliath with a lucky shot, but the Mini JCW doesn’t need this luck to trouble larger more expensive vehicles, especially on twisty roads. Superb performance, a fun driver experience and classically inspired styling and characteristics means little will beat big anytime the Mini JCW is storming around.

Click through to the next page for a list of specifications.

Price: from $54,900 – $67,825 (fully equipped)

What we like

  • Total fun driving experience
  • Invites hard driving
  • Unmatched cornering ability
  • Tasteful styling mods over Cooper S

What we don’t like

  • Fiddly interior buttons
  • We don’t own one

Mini John Cooper Works (2008) – Specifications

Engine 1.6 litre, 4 cylinder/16V
Max. output/hp/revs 155 kW (211 hp) at 6000 rpm
Max. torque/revs 260 Nm at 1850-5600 rpm (280 Nm at 1950 rpm with Overboost function)
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 6.5 s
Top speed 238 km/h
Acceleration 80-120 km/h (4th / 5th gear) 5.2 s / 6.2 s
Fuel consumption (urban) 9.2 1/100 km
Fuel consumption (extra-urban) 5.6 l/100 km
Fuel consumption (combined) 6.9 l/100 km
CO2 emissions 165 g/km
Unladen weight (EU) 1205 kg
Max. permissible weight 1580 kg
Max. permissible roof load 75 kg
Luggage capacity (min. – max.) 160 – 680 litres
Tank capacity (approx.) 50 litres
Dimensions (L x W x H) 3714 x 1683 x 1407 mm
Transmission 6-speed manual

Words Adam Mamo, photography Brad Lord

John Cooper Works Minis now in New Zealand

September 19th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Mini John Cooper Works fq

The MINI John Cooper Works and MINI John Cooper Works Clubman have arrived in New Zealand.

Their 1.6 litre 4-cylinder engine (based on the current MINI Cooper S’s engine) with twin-scroll turbocharger and petrol direct injection delivers 155 kW/211 bhp and develops its maximum torque of 260Nm between 1,850 and 5,700 rpm — by means of overboost the torque can actually be increased to 280 Nm. The MINI John Cooper Works gets to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds while the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman is just 0.3 seconds behind. Many modifications have been made to the engine, not least the incorporation of revised air intake and outlet due to the turbo.

The turbo 4-cylinder is fitted with petrol direction injection according to the common rail principle and gives an output of 132bhp per litre. Injection valves positioned laterally in the cylinder head feed the fuel in precise doses under a pressure of 120 bar from the tank directly into the combustion chamber. This means that in every situation on the road, precise fuel supply is guaranteed which is adapted to the given load requirements. The average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle is at an unusually low level for vehicles of this output category. The MINI John Cooper Works makes do with 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres, the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman requires 7.1 litres. The respective CO2 figures are 165 and 169 grams per kilometre.

In keeping with the historic Cooper name, both models are fitted with extensive motor racing technology as standard: exclusive light alloy rims with especially light and extremely high-performance brakes, a new exhaust system and the modified 6-speed manual transmission.

As is characteristic of MINI, the engine powers the front wheels. The MINI John Cooper Works and MINI John Cooper Works Clubman are fitted with a 6-speed manual transmission whose components have been adapted to the higher level of torque of this new engine. In addition to the sophisticated chassis technology with McPherson struts at the front axle and the central control arm rear axle, which is itself unique in the small car segment, the electromechanical EPAS (Electrical Power Assisted Steering) also assists in reliable and precise handling.

The steering system EPAS allows various settings to be programmed. The basic set-up guarantees balanced steering support depending on road speed. With the sports button, which is positioned as standard next to the gearshift lever in the centre console in the MINI John Cooper Works and MINI John Cooper Works Clubman, it is possible to activate a perceptibly more dynamic characteristic curve with higher steering torque and increased steering precision. In keeping with this, pressing the sports button also changes the accelerator pedal to a much sportier characteristic setting.

The cars are fitted with sporty suspension settings as standard. An alternative sports suspension set-up is available with harder damper characteristics and stronger stabilisers for the front and rear axle. For a more extreme racing orientation, there is also a John Cooper Works suspension set-up available in the accessory range for the MINI John Cooper Works. It includes a lowering of the suspension by 10 millimetres, even harder damper characteristics and stabilisers with a diameter which is larger than those of the sports chassis.

If the brakes are anything like those on the Cooper S, which we reviewed here, they will be excellent. Weighing less than 10 kilos, the 17-inch light alloy wheels are the lightest standard wheels within the competitive environment of the MINI John Cooper Works and MINI John Cooper Works Clubman. The high-speed tyres in 205/45 W 17 format have runflat properties, and both models are equipped with a tyre damage display function.

In addition to sporty suspension settings and powerful brakes, the MINI John Cooper Works and MINI John Cooper Works Clubman also have ABS, EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), CBC (Cornering Brake Control) and DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) including hill-start assistance and DTC (Dynamic Traction Control).

DTC is a sub-function of DSC which is available here for the first time in a vehicle with front wheel drive. It enables the response threshold levels of driving stability regulation to be increased so as to allow controllable slip on the drive wheels. In this way, the models MINI John Cooper Works and MINI John Cooper Works Clubman can be controlled on snow-covered surfaces or loose sand with slightly spinning front wheels, or taken more intensively to the physical limits in highly dynamic driving situations. When the threshold range is reached, the stabilising intervention of DSC is also guaranteed in DTC mode.

Pricing for the MINI John Cooper Works hatch starts at $54,900. Pricing for the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman starts at $59,900. The MINI John Cooper Works and MINI John Cooper Works Clubman go on sale in New Zealand dealerships from October 2008.

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