Production of John Cooper Works-tuned cars is all set to resume at MINI's Plant Oxford after the launch of the second-generation MINI Cooper S Hatch and new MINI Cooper S Clubman. From July 2008, customers will be able to order factory-built MINIs that produce 211hp and complete a 0-62mph sprint in 6.5 seconds.
Motor sport has heavily influenced the engineering and development of these new MINIs that feature a larger twin-scroll turbocharger and direct petrol injection with common rail. The four-cylinder engine has had the same modifications as the MINI CHALLENGE race car, along with re-engineered brakes, suspension and strengthened gearing. Each upgrade combines to give the car a remarkable output of 132hp per liter combined with 40mpg.
The cars will be unveiled for the first time to the public at the International Geneva Motor Show in March.
The engine specially developed for the MINI CHALLENGE race car is fitted to the MINI John Cooper Works cars. The basic unit is the 1.6 liter power plant supplied in the standard MINI Cooper S, but modifications have been made to the air filter, air mass meter, exhaust system and catalyst. Air supply to the modified larger turbocharger is increased through fitment of a larger air intake pipe, which in turn creates a quicker induction phase.
The Works engines from Hams Hall also come with reinforced, specially polished pistons, as well as a strengthened cylinder head for optimized stability and a modified cylinder gasket. The intake valves and valve seat rings have also been upgraded with stronger and more resistant materials. This reduces the engine's compression ratio.
The new Sports exhaust system is instantly recognizable through the large polished stainless steel twin tailpipes. Modification of the exhaust system has also helped to reduce counter-pressure at the point of exhaust gas recirculation. Ducts in the exhaust manifold and turbocharger are split between two cylinders each. Congestion is therefore minimized when air is inducted to the turbocharger and "turbo lag" is virtually eliminated.
The John Cooper Works MINIs are the first models in the range to fulfill all the requirements of the European EU5 emission standards that come into force in 2009.
The material used in machining the turbine has been upgraded specifically for the Works engine, with maximum charge pressure increased from 0.9 to 1.3 bar, in order to maintain the highest possible temperature for a longer period in the combustion chambers. This lengthening of the combustion process helps to achieve the higher torque curve of the Works car at 191 lb/ft at just 1,850rpm. The Overboost function briefly extends this further to 206 lb/ft. This suits the character of a John Cooper Works car perfectly as Overboost is experienced exclusively through increased torque, not on engine output.
Safety and Driving Dynamics
MINI has always had sophisticated driving stability systems as standard.These include ABS Brakes, EBD Electronic Brake Force Distribution, CBC Cornering Brake Control, EDL Electronic Differential Lock, as well as DSC Dynamic Stability Control and Hill Assist. For the first time, DTC Dynamic Traction Control is added to the list.
DTC allows controlled slip on the drive wheels. For example, on a slippery surface, the driver can pick up speed in a controlled manner with the front wheels spinning slightly. When reaching the upper limit, DSC will intervene as usual. But the driver can deactivate the DSC/DTC systems if he wishes by the touch of a button.
In the DSC-off mode, the standard Electronic Differential Lock can be activated and controls cornering at higher speeds. If one wheel loses grip, drive is transferred to the wheel with better grip promoting the car's traction and pulling force.
The Sports Suspension has been specifically tuned for the Works models. However, even greater chassis rigidity can be achieved by ordering through dealerships the John Cooper Works suspension that lowers the entire car by 10mm.
Extra-large disc brakes adorned with uprated red calipers are fitted to Works cars. In addition, inner-vented discs are positioned behind the front wheels. The front discs are 17" in diameter while the rear set measure 16". The brake discs are approximately 22mm larger than on the standard Cooper S.
The options included as standard on the John Cooper Works include a leather sports steering wheel, air-conditioning, interior trim in glossy Piano Black and an Anthracite roof lining.
An upgraded sound system is also included in the JCW package and features 10 speakers and an eight-channel amplifier for increased aural pleasure. For the first time, the MINI speedo has been increased to 160mph on the dial to accommodate the higher maximum speed of the JCW.
The six-speed manual gearbox has been strengthened to handle the powerful new engine.
The standard Sports button, located in front of the gear stick, activates a bespoke engine control map which produces even more dynamic performance and sharper steering response.
The Works MINIs come with exclusive 17" light-alloy wheels in JCW Cross-Spoke CHALLENGE design, shod with Run-flat tires, and weigh less than 10 kilos each.
The Works models can be identified by the newly-designed John Cooper Works logo on the boot and grille and wheels, as well as on the door trim.