BMW has taken the already fun Mini and ratcheted up the thrill-o-meter with the 2009 Mini John Cooper Works. Since the Mini’s rebirt in 2001, MINI fans have turned to John Cooper Works, tuner of minis for “mini” years for performance parts and full conversion kits. Now BMW has made this process even more painless (unlike my jokes) by offering upgraded John Coooper Minis straight out of the factory in the same manner customers previously customized and ordered base and S models.
Nearly every component of the MINI John Cooper Works drivetrain is upgraded over the standard MINI Cooper S. The 1.6 litre 4-cylinder engine with twin scroll turbocharger and direct injection delivers 207 horsepower. The design of the twin turbocharger enables a nearly spontaneous power build-up and accelerates the MINI John Cooper Works from 0–60 in about 6.5 seconds. The maximum torque of 192 lb-ft is available even at an engine speed of 1,850 rpm and up to a level of 5,600 rpm. During acceleration, torque is raised to 207 lbs by means of a brief increase in boost pressure between 2,000 and 5,300 rpm.
This is engine is mated with 6-speed manual transmission. With the sports button, which is positioned as standard next to the gearshift lever in the center console, the driver engages higher steering torque and increased steering precision and changes the accelerator pedal to a much sportier characteristic setting.
The “Works” is also fitted with sporty suspension settings as standard. An alternate sports chassis with harder damper characteristics and stronger stabilizers is available for the front and rear axle. For a more extreme racing orientation, there is also a John Cooper Works chassis. It includes a lowering of the suspension by 10 millimetres, even harder damper characteristics and stabilisers with a diameter which is larger than those of the sports chassis. The JCW MINi also has exclusive light alloy rims quipped with a tire damage display function that monitors the run flats and high-performance brakes.
In addition to sporty suspension settings and powerful brakes, the MINI John Cooper Works also have sophisticated driving stability systems. Their standard equipment includes ABS, EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), CBC (Cornering Brake Control) and DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) including
hill-start assistance and DTC (Dynamic Traction Control).
In the interior, the Mini displays a strikingly effective style. A three-spoke steering wheel in leather a glossy Black finish and a speedometer which goes up to 260 km/h. 10Exterior paint finishes are available to choose from, seat upholstery types, interior colours and comfort features are all customizable.
The 2009 MINI John Cooper Works base price is a reasonable $28,550, with an all-options JCW Mini costing $43,800. A bit steep at the top-end maybe, but with just the addition of a few of the options available, an affordable and thrilling Mini is within reach.