The JCW Cooper Kit Coming to the US

This information was released to MINI dealers in the form of an “Aftersales business development & marketing MINI dealer bulletin”. It comes via Ian Cull:

Based on requests from MINI dealers, please find enclosed information about the John Cooper Works Tuning Kit for the MINI Cooper. We have a limited number of this kit available in the US.

The JCW kit is a complete performance package that is designed to take full advantage of the engine's design. The JCW Kit for the MINI Cooper includes a machined cylinder head for better airflow, “cat-back” exhaust system, air filter element and updated ECU programming. These carefully engineered performance modifications will bring the MINI Cooper to the 126hp horsepower level. The torque has been improved to 114 lbft.

As the kit delivers only a minor increase in horsepower and torque, the main benefit is the increased performance feel and mid range torque of the MINI Cooper.

NOTE: This kit is only available for the manual transmission MINI Cooper! It must not be installed on cars with optional automatic gearbox.

Wow. Ian reports seeing a price of $2650 plus labor and I can now officially confirm that price. The kit is currently available is already on back order throughout the US!

  • This sounds great. With labor costs, this could get into an MCS price, but then you wouldn't be naturally aspirated. I don't know. Something cool about staying natural.

  • I think this is great for the hard core MC drivers who DONT want a MCS. Motor on . .


  • Mark S.

    Kinda leaves us CVT owners out in the cold though….

  • dgszweda

    I don't think it will sell well. I could be wrong, since I said the same for the JCW. But come on. $2650 for 10hp and 4lbs of torque. All of the comparisons by magazines that I have read on the JCW MC have ranked it really low. Most said you could barely notice the difference above stock. Just the AmD ECU and a intake and exhaust would get you above these numbers, and it would be much cheaper and I don't think any dealer would deny any warranty coverage on these items, since the ECU can be restored by the owner and I haven't heard any warranty claims denied for an intake and exhaust.

  • I don't think they're really concerned about sales numbers in this case. I would expect to see this as something very limited in it's release.

  • Frank

    It seems to me that BMW is “testing the waters” with this limited release of the JCW for the 5-speed Cooper. At $2600+ is pretty pricey and the car is still no where near the performance levels of the MCS. Strange that BMW wants to sell the Cooper JCW Kit when they themselves last year made a point in not importing it due to the cost and seemingly modest HP and Torque increases.

    Nice to see, however, that Cooper 5-speed owners wanting to mod thier cars with JCW products they will be able to do so.

    I am still puzzled by the apparent neglect of BMW in regards to the Cooper CVT when it comes to mods…what's up with that?

  • Lucas

    I don't think that MC owners are that much concerned about how many horses their car has, with a few preferring naturally aspirated vs. a supercharged one.

    Most interested in mods simply want that extra oomph seemingly missing at times on the MC. Since what people feel as “power” is actually torque (instead of hp) — and JCW for MC only adds 4 — I don't think it will satisfy most people's desire for power.

    I agree, that BMW along with many after market companies for some reason are mostly ignoring MC. I guess they simply assumed that people who bought MC would not be interested in mods at all. sigh…

  • I just don't get that if you're that concerned about performance, why buy a MC? Why buy a $2500+ kit when the performance gains are still not up to MCS range?

  • dgszweda1

    For $2500 plus installation costs you could just get an MCS. The price difference is only $3000 between the MC and the MCS and you get a ton of items. I know it is not N/A, but it does give a performance increase. I just don't see where Mini and JCW are going with these kits. The '05 MCS will have almost everything the JCW has except for the pulley and head. It appears that the ECU is a tweak from the JCW kit, the SC is a 5th Gen unit, the exhaust has been reworked, which probably has a similiar sound to the JCW. Then what do you end up getting for the difference? I am sure that the $2500 kit is quality made, but come on, the price is competing with their MCS model, and may actually exceed the price difference between the MCS and the MC.

  • greatgro

    $2600 is not a bad price for the parts – gas-flowed cylinder head, new exhaust, air filter and ECU upgrade. However, for 11HP and 4(?)lbs of torque, once again it is a complete rip-off.

    And with installation, it has to cost at least another $800-$1000, right? That's more than the MCS!!!

  • Wings

    On the MetroplexMINI site it's been reported that one of the Houston dealers (MINI of the Woodlands, I believe) has a JCW Cooper in stock and ready to roll. I don't remember what the sticker price ended up at.

  • Evan

    I would go for the JCW package for Cooper if it fattened the torque curve, even if it is only a 4 lb ft gain at the top. Sometimes the MC needs a little more kick earlier on and if this can do it, then great. From what I've read about the package for the MCS, it makes it much more flexible and easy to drive. 11hp isn't too bad either, plus it's all warrantied. The price is a little steep, but for the MC driver who'd like a more full torque curve through out the revs and a more drivability, it may be a good idea. If only the labor doesn't add too much more to it…

    I've also read (I believe here) that the CVT can't handle much more power than what the MC already has- so it's durability issues on MINI's part for not offering it on CVT MINIs.

  • The CVT Is indeed only meant to handle the 115hp the car has currently. And the dealership told me that the 5speed is only rated at 135hp. This was enough to deter me from doing a ton of performance.

  • dandp

    The Cooper has different gearing characteristics than the MCS, a little more power would be nice for sure. Especailly out on the auto-x course. And many of us don't want to go the MCS route for whatever reasons. I did consider a trade to an MCS…but BMW called my name in other ways…..

  • dgszweda1

    That is the problem with CVT. While they are very smooth and more fun to drive, they historically cannot handle a lot of power. For the price of the car, this CVT makes sense. For a long time it was thought that the CVT could only handle 150hp, but Audi has pushed it to 250hp, which I beleive is the most powerful CVT out there, but you have to pay dearly for it.

  • Frank

    I have an official document from ZF the manufacturer of the current VT-1 CVT transmission in the Cooper….based on their info, this transmission can handle much more than 115HP…it is a PRETTY STURDY GEARBOX. 150HP will not be a problem….

  • Mark

    I'd love to see a Works kit for the Cooper. I have a modded MCS now and I enjoy it, but I'm realizing that I do quite a bit more commuting type driving than I do performance driving. I've always said that I'd go to a Cooper in a heartbeat. Lets face it, if you're looking for a FAST car you wouldn't be driving a MINI. There are plenty of cars on the road that are faster and cost less. MINI's are great fun in the twisties, and the Cooper will run through those just as fast as an S.

  • Rocketboy – Some of us had no choice – there was no MCS when we bought our cars. Even in March of '02 after my first test drive of both I questioned the idea of waiting or upgrading to the MCS. Granted when I bought my MC (April of '02) I was assuming I'd upgrade in the coming months. However after a couple months ownership I found myself completely satisfied with my current Cooper. I've driven every configuration of US MINI and still find the Cooper the best suited to my daily driving needs. Granted I may still be going with an MCS for my next MINI but lets not assume it's the only way to go in regards to performance.

    Some people also prefer the idea of naturally aspirated engine to the supercharged engine in the MCS and the mechanical simplicity that goes with it. Because of this and other reasons there's a real base of enthusiasts out there who own a Cooper and are looking to enhance their cars a bit. I think it's also assumed that owners of Coopers don't want to spend too much on performance mods. I think for many out there that rational makes sense. However for some of them money isn't a huge concern and it's these owners that would conceivably be in this catagory. They like their Cooper and want to enhance it a bit and frankly money isn't a real concern.

    Frank – I agree with your thoughts on the CVT. I'm sure there are a couple reasons behind it but it's really unfortunate. There are lots of MC owners out there with the CVT for a variety of reasons and they are willing to spend some money on their MINI to upgrade it's performance.

  • Josh

    Nissan uses a CVT in their 245hp Murano, so thats pretty close to the Audi.

  • James V

    Gabe, Spot on.

    I could have gone with an MCS instead of a MC, the 4 grand extra over the lifetime of the car wasnt a big deal. I get the feeling alot of MCS owners believe the MC is only ever purchased to save money or because the owners dont care about performance.

    After driving my Cooper every day for a year it still puts a grin on my face as it glides effortlessly through the city and country streets and holds its own on the highway. To hear jabs at the MC because it 'isnt as fast' or not worth the tuning cause 'its just a MC' is irritating to say the least.

    I bought the Cooper because it had everything I wanted, if I wanted the fastest car for the money a MINI wouldnt be it, period. I got superb handling, style (the One/MC have the MCS beat hands down IMHO) and quality and I felt no desire to spend the extra on the MCS.

    I also opted for the CVT as we do alot of commuting and I just loved how responsive the tranny worked during test drives. Too bad theres also quite abit of backward thinking with regards to owning a CVT as well :-/

  • Gabe… Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking a MC, or playing 'the I have a S, so Mine's better' game. I've mentioned more than a few times on MCO (when it was MCO) that you should let how you drive/and what types of roads you normally drive on help decide which one to buy. I myself had to decide if I wanted a MC(with some options, and in my first choice of colors), or a MCS. I ended up buying a MCS because when I drove them back to back, I could feel quite a difference, and I needed the passing power on the roads I drive on. So it wasn't intended to sound like some jerk trying to make themselves feel better by ragging on other people. It just doesn't make much sense to me to spend $20,000 (appx/extimated/etc…) for a slightly improved MC when a base MCS will cost you about the same amount.

  • (Sorry for the double post)

    James… (Besides all the above 🙂 ) My point that if you were going to spend that much money on a JCW kit for a MC because you wanted more performance, why not just buy a MCS at almost the same cost, and with better performance? Cost wise, it just does not seem to make sense.

  • Hey no worries. I figured you weren't trying to bash it or anything. And I completely understand your rationale – I just wanted to provide a counterpoint of some kind.

  • James V

    Rocket: Well there are a few reasons why someone might buy the Cooper JCW.

    Like I said, many people buy the Cooper over the MCS for its style and because they dont need / want a super charger & extra weight.

    That means money isnt the only factor, people who could afford both but go with the MC can appreciate a little extra power and dont mind about the cost.

    Personally I think the JCW (as with the MCS) is a premium price for what performance you get. I'm sure over the next few years (especially after my warranty has ended) I'll be doing some performance mods to give my Cooper a little extra power, but I have a feeling I could get alot more bang for the buck than spending 3k on the JCW package.

    With my CVT I dont want to push my luck, I've read of quite afew people getting their CVT MC's past 150hp and having no problems but with the mixed information of how much torque / HP it can handle (sometimes its 115bhp others up to 200 etc) that I will play it safe at first and aim for around 125bhp.

  • Gabe… Phew, just wanted to make sure I wasn't in the barrel again… 🙂

  • Pingback: MotoringFile » Archive » JCW MINI Cooper Tuning Kit Review()

  • Pingback: MotoringFile » Archive » The JCW Cooper Sound Kit US Pricing()

  • Goin440

    Holy resurrection…. 7 years !  Has to bee good.

    It is.

    I’m selling my kit.