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Geneva show: Mini challengers for the road

JCW clubs Mini: Higher-performance versions of the Cooper hatch and Clubman will both go on sale here in August.

Most powerful production Mini ever debuts at Geneva, and is just six months away

7 Mar 2008

THE most powerful production Mini ever made its debut at the Geneva motor show last week, with the latest John Cooper Works (JCW) version of BMW's born-again Cooper hatch emerging with a 155kW iteration of its twin-scroll turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine.

Almost identical to the engine used in the Mini Challenge race series that made its world debut at Eastern Creek Raceway last weekend, the new Mini JCW powerplant will also be available in the new five-door Mini Clubman wagon, which is also expected on sale in Australia in August.

But the JCW-tuned Cooper and Clubman models offer more than just engine upgrades, with a racing-inspired six-speed manual gearbox, suspension and brakes, the option of an exclusive new bodykit and the introduction of a new traction control system also on the JCW menu.

While the latter has been strengthened to handle the extra performance, the new traction control system has a higher traction loss threshold to allow progressive take-off on slippery surfaces. Mini Challenge-derived (10mm-lower) suspension settings and braking specifications are also adopted.

39 center imageStandard on both JCW models includes a leather sports steering wheel, an upgraded sound system, 260km/h speedo, 17-inch alloy wheels with 205/45-section run-flat tyres and push-button (electro-mechanical) steering and throttle response selection.

With peak torque of 280Nm available via an overboost function between 2000 and 5300rpm (a maximum of 260Nm is available between 1850 and 5600rpm during "less frenetic" driving) and virtually no lag, Mini says the JCW Cooper hatch rips to 100km/h in just 6.5 seconds.

The JCW Clubman manual takes just three-tenths longer to complete the 0-100km/h sprint, in 6.8 seconds. Both have a maximum speed of 238km/h.

Fuel consumption and exhaust emissions increase only marginally despite the extra urge, with the Mini JCW returning average combined fuel economy of 6.9L/100km and the JCW Clubman returning 7.0L/100km. Similarly, CO2 emissions rise to 165 and 167g/km respectively.

"The new Mini John Cooper Works and Mini John Cooper Works Clubman will bring the thrill of the race track to the road," said national manager Mini, Justin Hocevar.

"We are very excited that these red-hot models will be coming to Australia at the same time as our Mini Challenge series will be showcasing Mini handling and performance prowess at iconic race tracks around Australia.

"Given the Mini brand’s long-term association with racing and the success of the previous John Cooper Works models in Australia, the new cars are sure to be snapped up by eager Mini fans.

"The best news is that the Mini John Cooper Works brand now covers the Hardtop and the new Clubman," said Mr Hocevar.

Full specifications and pricing will be announced closer to both JCW models' launch in August.

Read more:

First drive: Mini's Coop de space

Read GoAuto's drive impressions of the new Mini Clubman range

The Road to Recovery podcast series

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