MINI is putting the finishing touches to the new high-performance John Cooper Works (JCW) model. Spied testing at the Nurburgring, the JCW will sit at the top of the new third-generation MINI line-up, marked out by its more boisterous bodykit plus hike in power.
Previewed by a concept at the Detroit Motor Show back in January, the showroom model doesn’t look set to lose any of its bulging bodywork. Everything from the unique alloy wheel design right down to the air vents remain untouched, with only the lower section of the front bumper hidden from view.
The test car has been finished with a more modest cream exterior unlike the striking Bright Highways Grey paintjob of the concept – although wacky colours scheme are likely to be made available to buyers from launch.
To complete the JCW makeover, we can expect stiffer suspension to be added for sharper handling, while a tweaked ESP system and bigger brakes will give the JCW the ‘ultimate go-kart feeling’. Under the bonnet the range-topper will stick with a four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo, unlike the standard Cooper, which uses a downsized three-cylinder 1.5-litre turbocharged motor.
Power is likely to jump from 208bhp to around 220bhp in the third-gen model, with maximum torque also expected to rise. We are still unsure about when the JCW will be launched but an official unveiling this summer has been rumoured. Prices are also expected to start around the £23,000 mark placing it firmly in the premium hot hatch sector alongside the Audi S1.