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Coming in hot! First look at new MINI John Cooper Works hot hatch

The souped-up version of the new MINI Cooper will be offered with petrol or electric power

Get ready hot hatch fans, because the new MINI John Cooper Works is going to be revealed this autumn, and for the first time ever, it’s going to be available with a choice of petrol or all-electric power.

We’ll actually get to see what the little hot hatch is capable of very soon because a camouflaged version of the new petrol MINI JCW will be competing in the 24 Hours of Nürburgring endurance race on 1 June. The brand is promising “an unforgettable showcase” of the car, which it says has been “developed to push the boundaries of speed and agility”. 

The JCW’s camouflage uses the same red and white colour scheme as classic Mini rally cars from the sixties, particularly the one Paddy Hopkirk drove to victory at the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally. The ‘37’ numbering is also a tribute to that famous car.

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We do still get some clues about changes made for the JCW, such as the chequered-flag pattern for the octagonal grille, which also looks to be more open to allow for better cooling. Of course, the standard car’s classic round headlights still feature.

The wheelarches have been flared, and at the rear, there’s a twin roof spoiler above a single large exhaust pipe in the centre of the more aggressive rear bumper. The customisable tail-light panels from the new MINI Cooper remain.

Sticking with the petrol MINI JCW for now, the last one used a highly tuned version of the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine found in the MINI Cooper S, and it’s all but sure to be the same story this time around. 

The new Cooper S produces 201bhp, compared to 176bhp in the previous generation car, so if the MINI JCW gets a similar power boost, we may see it deliver close to 250bhp; the old JCW model had 228bhp on tap. 

Unfortunately, we’re all but certain that the new MINI JCW won’t be offered with a manual transmission, as the regular petrol-powered MINI Cooper is available exclusively with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

Meanwhile, the all-electric MINI John Cooper Works E is probably going to use the same 54.2kWh battery as the higher-spec MINI Cooper SE. That model has a range of roughly 250 miles, although the souped-up JCW E is unlikely to go as far on a charge.

We expect it’s going to be front-wheel drive as well – just like its forthcoming rival, the Alpine A290. That said, the head of MINI’s product line, Dr Stefan Floeck, told us last year that the Cooper EV’s platform could accommodate a dual-motor setup and four-wheel drive if the team wanted to go down that route. 

Click here for our list of the best hot hatchbacks...

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News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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