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Driven: JCW Convertible to raise Mini record

Topless Brit: The Mini JCW Convertible will help the company achieve record sales for its go-fast models in 2016.

Performance JCW flagship drops its lid in pursuit of rising Mini sales

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Mini logo23 Sep 2016

MINI has targeted new record volumes for its John Cooper Works (JCW) performance flagship variants in Australia, boosted by the Convertible version now on sale locally priced from $54,900 plus on-road costs.

Speaking at the national media launch of the JCW Convertible in northern Queensland this week, Mini Australia product planning manager Daniel Silverwood explained that the JCW sales split within the three-door line-up has doubled in percentage terms and was now around four times the global average.

“Twenty three per cent of John Cooper Works is our current uptake within our three-door range, and that’s up from about 10 per cent (for the previous generation), already about double the global average,” he claimed. “If we look at the first eight months of this year, we’ve already outsold our previous year’s best (for JCW sales) which was 161 units back in 2010.”“If you calculate that annually to about 280 (sales) that’s certainly a good uplift.”

Mr Silverwood also revealed that 53 per cent of Mini three-door customers were now choosing either the S or JCW models.

“What it highlights to us is that Australians love performance cars – they’re petrol-heads,” he added. “The increased share of John Cooper Works within our range (is) something that we’re focusing on.”

The addition of the JCW Convertible was expected to further leverage both JCW specification and Convertible body style sales, the latter of which is also enjoying record volume this year.

“(With Mini Convertible) we’ve already achieved our record winter sales volume since the last generation was introduced in 2007, with a strong result in August and that’s really setting us up for the final months of the year,” Mr Silverwood said.

The Mini Convertible has recorded 169 sales this year to the end of August, up 155 per cent on the previous year that formed a 3000-unit-plus tally for the Mini brand.

The third-generation performance drop-top flagship commands a $4950 premium over its JCW Hatch hard-top sibling, while extra chassis stiffening and the addition of an electric fabric roof mechanism – which can raise or lower in 18 seconds – has contributed to a weight increase of 105kg.

The JCW’s 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine continues to produce 170kW between 5200rpm and 6000rpm, and 320Nm from 1250rpm to 4800rpm in Convertible guise, however the claimed 0-100km/h has increased by up to four-tenths – manual 6.6 seconds, automatic 6.5s.

Claimed combined cycle fuel consumption of the idle-stop-equipped models has also lifted from 5.8 litres per 100 kilometres (JCW Hatch auto) to 6.2L/100km (JCW Convertible auto), with manuals narrowing the gap – 6.7L/100km versus 6.8L/100km respectively.

Where the JCW Hatch has a standard six-speed DIY-shifter from $47,400 with the optional six-speed auto from $49,950, Mini has elected to make the former transmission a no-cost option and the latter standard for the JCW Convertible.

It has cited increased uptake of the auto in JCW hatch as the primary reason for the move, however comparing manual for manual extends the pricing gap between hard- and soft-top to $7500.

“We’ve observed over the last few years a steady uptake on the automatic transmission and on the John Cooper Works it increased from 30 per cent to 80 per cent,” Mr Silverwood added.

Although $6000 less expensive than the previous-generation model, Mini further claims it has added another $6000 in extra standard equipment for the JCW Convertible with $12,000 total extra value for the customer.

Styling and specification largely mirrors between body styles, starting with a red grille strip, front aerodynamics package, LED headlights and tail-lights, front/side/rear John Cooper Works badging, sports exhaust and 18-inch alloy wheels ahead of performance brakes and twin-setting adaptive dampers.

Inside the fastest roofless Mini uniquely gets integrated headrests with cloth/Alcantara-look sports seats, perforated leather steering wheel, chequered-flag instrument gauge cluster and JCW door sills, and tiller/gearshifter badging.

The four-seat configuration also has 160 litres of boots space with the roof down and 215L with the roof up.

Other three-door-mirroring standard equipment includes cruise control, dual-zone climate control, head-up display, automatic headlights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors with automatic parking assistance, and 8.8-inch colour screen with satellite navigation, digital radio, reversing camera and 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

A duo of optional packages are dubbed Convenience featuring keyless auto-entry with alarm and auto-dimming mirror costing $1200 and Control offering adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic high-beam and tyre pressure monitoring for $1500 extra.

Leather upholstery is a $2000 stand-alone option, alongside heated front seats ($490), a wind deflector ($400), and multiple personalisation options including white or black bonnet stripes ($200), dashboard trim inserts (between $250 and $500 extra) and a Union Jack-imprinted soft-top ($900).

Of the value equation, Mr Silverwood said: “It places the John Cooper Works model as the most attainable Convertible we’ve ever offered.”

The Mini JCW Convertible will be followed by the JCW Clubman during the first half of next year, with a next-generation JCW Countryman expected to follow in late 2017 or early 2018.

Sales of the fastest Minis has increased despite sales of the JCW Coupe/Roadster and Paceman coming to a trickle this year.

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