Mini John Cooper Works (2015): meet the most powerful Mini

Published: 11 December 2014

You’re looking at the most powerful production Mini ever made: the 2015 Mini John Cooper Works.

Behind that mess of mesh grilles is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot with 228bhp and 236lb ft, a 10% power hike and a 23% torque increase over the outgoing JCW.

Line the two cars up for a drag race and the new one will scorch its way from 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds, two tenths quicker than its predecessor. That’s with the standard six-speed manual ’box – speccing the optional six-speed ‘Steptronic’ auto sees the sprint time tumble to 6.1 seconds. Top speed is a hairy 152mph.

228bhp? That’s quite a lot of power for a front-wheel drive car…

Sure is. It’s the same figure as Audi’s littlest hot hatch, the S1, but that uses four-wheel drive to get its power to the tarmac.

To help the JCW avoid torque-steering its way through the nearest hedge it gets altered suspension and steering settings compared with the Cooper S, together with all kinds of electronic programs with confusing acronyms; DTC, DSC, EDLC…

The latter is Electronic Differential Lock Control, which uses microchips to imitate the effect of a mechanical locking diff and help the Mini claw its way out of corners without smoking all that power away.

New four-piston Brembo brakes get it stopped, while electronically controlled dampers are an option.

2015 Mini John Cooper Works: design

The most hot-rodded third-gen Mini yet, the John Cooper Works gets lairier styling inside and out. The bulked-up arches are filled with 17-inch alloys (18s are an option) and the outsized roof spoiler that’s become a JCW hallmark is present and correct.

Three doors only; Mini’s not planning give the new five-door the JCW treatment.

As well as becoming the most powerful production Mini yet, the 2015 JCW also appears to be attempting a record for the most number of grilles – seven intakes at the front, four at the rear. Whether or not the primary function of all of them is meaningful cooling is debatable.

Chunked-out side sills, front and rear aprons and twin chromed tailpipes complete the exterior look, and bucket seats, stainless steel pedals and lots of bright red bits the interior.

New Mini JCW: when/where/how much?

It’ll surface at the 2015 Detroit motor show in January before going on sale in the UK in April 2015.

If it sounds like your cup of tea you’ll have to stump up £22,865, a whisker more than the old JCW and a bit less than the excellentAudi S1. Probably not a coincidence.

New Mini John Cooper Works specs:

Engine: 1998cc turbocharged 4-cyl, 228bhp @ 5200-6000rpm, 236lb ft @ 1250-4800rpm
Performance: 61.sec 0-62mph (with auto gearbox; 6.3 with manual), 152mph
Efficiency: 49.5mpg, 133g/km CO2 (auto); 42.2mpg, 155g/km (manual)

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer