2008 JCW Stage One Upgrade Revealed

MF Exclusive: Yesterday we broke the news that MINI would most likely be releasing two JCW vehicles rather than simply offering one JCW product as previously expected. Thanks to sources from three continents, we now have some limited details on the first product, what we’re calling (for the moment) the “Stage One Kit.”

In an effort to possibly bridge the gap between the upcoming high-output JCW MINI (coming for in late 2007 or early 2008) it looks like MINI will release a “Stage One” JCW kit that will have an output somewhere between 190 and 200bhp. Our sources are also telling us that the “Stage One” kit will be available as a dealer retrofit for all R56 MCS’s and will consist of three components:

  • Revised air intake
  • Less restrictive exhaust
  • Revised ECU Software

Rumors seem to point to a debut at the Geneva Motor Show with availability following sometime this Spring. The only pricing figure we’ve seen thus far is 3000 Euros for the European market. And even that pricing is unconfirmed at this point.

However for all those looking for yet more power, your car is still coming. Our sources remain adamant that MINI has something more powerful waiting in the wings for 2008.

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  • dark06mcs

    here’s a thought i had last night… how do you think the scca will handle the classing of jcw stages? i hear they don’t like to have different trim levels of the same car in different classes. especially tricky as it will be both retrofit (modified) and factory available (stock).

    this will be interesting to watch.

  • Ron Arnold

    Let the debate between factory (OEM) tuning and the free market begin!

    I hope that price isn’t real, hmm, today that would be 3,976.79. A tad pricey for an intake, cat-back and software update…

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    I hope that price isn’t real, hmm, today that would be 3,976.79. A tad pricey for an intake, cat-back and software update…

    BMW never go for a stragith Dollar to Euro conversion. If that was the case you’d be driving around in a $45,000 MINI.

  • J.Melrose

    Based on the general trend of Euro to US Dollars, it looks like it would be around a $2,250 piece of kit for it all.

    Although a software upgrade that costs that much? In fact, the idea of paying for better SOFTWARE to run the car… that sure seems like a hard bit to swallow. I assume it is only to better utlize the hardware upgrades.

    I am guessing it’s an all-or-nothing upgrade as well? Meaning the air intake can’t improved alone, and that it probably doesn’t even make sense ot just do the one.

    At any rate, it’s interesting. I would not be interested in a $6000+ price increase for the full JCW kit, but for a couple grand to get this bit of kit and 25 more HP is tempting. There’s probably aftermarket stuff that can (or will be able to) do similar, but I prefer OEM… warranty and all that.

    THanks for keep us up-to-date Gabe. This site is always teaching me new ways to plan on being broke!

  • Ashley Wilson

    3000 euro seems a bit pricey, considering you can pieces-parts ~200 Hp using similar components for the R53 for much cheaper, and your starting further in the hole at 168 hp. It seems like the ECU is where the biggest gains will ll be made, but (using the R53 as a baseline) a new intake/throttle body: ~$700, new exhaust: ~$1000, and a relash:~450 leaves one really expensive reflash!

  • http://www.northamericanmotoring.com Dave
    here’s a thought i had last night… how do you think the scca will handle the classing of jcw stages? i hear they don’t like to have different trim levels of the same car in different classes. especially tricky as it will be both retrofit (modified) and factory available (stock). this will be interesting to watch.

    I was kicking this around with a friend too last night. Maybe it doesn’t really change anything though.

    currently the MC is in H-stock the stock MCS is n G-stock the MCS with the factory JCW kit is in B-stock

    instead of reclassing the “stock” MCS, maybe this stage 1 kit just slides the R56 into B-stock where for autocross purposes it may be at a slight disadvantage classingwise (not that the JCW MCS has been competitive in B-stock in the first place)

  • eager2own

    ooof, although unconfirmed, that price is pretty high for what you’re getting. I understand that the euro conversion on the cars isn’t accurate . . . or we would indeed be driving $45k-50k MINIs — But as far as kits and options go, we don’t usually get those at half the price of our friends accross the pond . . . so we are most likely looking at something well-north of $2-3k. hmmmm.

  • zack

    I hope they make the branding/labeling difference between the two cars rather prominent. Would hate for both cars to carry just the same little JCW badge.

    But, Gabe’s mentioned the body kit possibly going w/ the stage two car, so that’d help distinguish. Let’s hope it looks better than the already released R56 JCW Aero Kit & the regular R56 Aero Kit.

    I like the idea of a mid-range performance package w/ a mid-range price, as will most MINI owners, I assume.

    I still would like to see the price of the top-end JCW come down, though. It’s still in that price range where the performance/$ can only be justified by MINI diehards (like myself).

    ZM

  • sdb

    What is the horsepower of the already included “overboost” mode – ~190hp? Another 10hp from an intake/exhaust should be easily attainable. It all adds up to the normal OEM/Warranty price premium. Some see value in it, some don’t. I can’t wait to see how MINI gets the Stage II power out of this engine – it should be very interesting.

  • Jon

    I am still not sure how much of a market Mini will find for a mid range upgrade, especially one that sounds like the likely first things most aftermarket vendors are going to offer.

    I do believe that this news is going to mean two things to me personally.

    First, hope they figure out a way around brand confusion, if two very different cars are running around as JCW’s believe that it could cause problems. Maybe they could label it the John Cooper edition, and leave JCW as the high performance version.

    The second thing this tells me is that the production of the second stage JCW is likely to be pushed further into ’08.

  • GZ

    Can “stage one” be upgraded to “stage two”? Will there be a “stage three”? How about suspension upgrades? Different than current sport suspension?

  • Jon

    From the info Gabe has released GZ here is what I understand. The stage one will be available as a dealer installed option, however it sounds like the stage two will be a factory only vehicle like the current BMW M series.

  • GZ

    That what I thought but hoped I didn’t have to wait a year.

  • Jeff
    this will be interesting to watch. I was kicking this around with a friend too last night. Maybe it doesn’t really change anything though. currently the MC is in H-stock the stock MCS is n G-stock the MCS with the factory JCW kit is in B-stock instead of reclassing the “stock” MCS, maybe this stage 1 kit just slides the R56 into B-stock where for autocross purposes it may be at a slight disadvantage classingwise (not that the JCW MCS has been competitive in B-stock in the first place)

    For clarification, ONLY the factory installed JCW kits are eligible for B Stock. The dealer installed kits are not eligible. I believe the same would hold true for the R58, meaning the the dealer retrofits would NOT be stock class legal. However, due to previous classing in Street Touring X, the JCW kits (dealer or factory) will likely be legal as they are today.

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  • James

    If an extra 15-25hp is north of $2000, I worry that the full-beans JCW version will be too expensive for me.

  • Mark Smith

    A lot of you are stuck on this horsepower kick. You have to look at the possible low end benefit if any. The R56 already beats the R53 in this caregory. Now if we’re talking 200 H.P. with 192 Lb/ft. of torque arriving low in the rev range (1,600 to 1,700 RPM) you’ve got a monster on your hands. Remember an R53 (’05 and ’06) achieved 207 H.P. (U.S.) but only achieved 180 Lb./ft. of torque at 4,500 RPM’s. Today’s R56 can almost match an ’05/’06 JCW car without any upgrades. If you’re able to finally upgrade the R56 you wouldn’t have to do much in my opinion to beat out the ’05/’06 R53 with JCW.

  • Jeff

    You’ll know if it’s too much when the first tuner does their software tuning magic and gets at least as much as the JCW package for much less. And for the gains typically seen in turbocars (EVO, WRX, STi, MS3, et al) I suspect this will be the case. 15-20 hp is NOTHING in terms of gains for just software, let alone, exhaust and intake.

    Anyone have information on the turbo used in this application? You can typically get a hold of the compressor map and see how much additional capacity is available above stock based on the displacement and current boost settings. Even cars that appear close to max’d out stock (like the MS3) have lots of gains yet to be had, like 280whp and over 300 ft/lbs or torque at the wheels!!!

  • Crusoe

    The JCW Sound Kit for the MC had the same 3 components (intake, ECU and exhaust) for $1100. The new kit would only have a different intake based on materials and function (if RPM regulated) so this kit had better be less than $2000.

  • dark06mcs
    I was kicking this around with a friend too last night. Maybe it doesn’t really change anything though. currently the MC is in H-stock the stock MCS is n G-stock the MCS with the factory JCW kit is in B-stock instead of reclassing the “stock” MCS, maybe this stage 1 kit just slides the R56 into B-stock where for autocross purposes it may be at a slight disadvantage classingwise (not that the JCW MCS has been competitive in B-stock in the first place)

    the only problem then is that stage ones, twos, (and threes?) go into b-stock? if so, that leaves the stage ones obviously disadvantaged to the twos. i can’t imagine the stage two cars being classed higher than b-stock, but if so, that could be quite confusing…

  • mark

    I agree with Mark Smith on this one, to me torque is more important. For me coming from Just a Cooper, the torque of the R56 was what impressed me most and any gain their and gain in horsepower would be nice, as the saying goes, horsepower sells cars, torque wins races

    Crusoe makes a good point about comparing this kit to the JCW Sound Kit for the MC a little while back. This kit didnt really provide any more horsepower but it did increase the throttle response and smoothed out the MC’s power band. Both of those are worth while improvements that should always be kept in mind when upgrading. I personnally dont like it when people make clams about how much HP their car makes, and then you look at the dyno graph and it only makes that power at redline. When during daily use or hard use do you constantly run the car at redline. To me the beauty of the R56 engine is that impressive amount of torque avaible real low in the rev’s, its usable. I would rather have a smaller usable ammount of horsepower than a big amount that I can only use when the car is about to grenade. Just my .02

  • zack

    agreed–but, like you said, “hp sells cars”.

    what’s MINI to do…?

  • mark

    P.S. To add to my comment above, I think this kit is a good thing for people who want improved performance but want to stay under warrenty and not spring for the rumored full JCW car. If the price is right I may check this box when I order a R56 and than go to the aftermarket for more power, this stage 1 levels plenty of other places to improve on the car.

  • mark

    Zach, Mini has already sold something like twice as many cars as they expected. About half of those sales are 115hp Coopers, for the most part mini owners are not like muscle car owners, they dont scrap for every number. Mini has successfully shown that their is more to a car than HP and it has worked out pretty well for them

  • zack

    i hear ya & agree w/ your drivability point. i’m just saying it’ll be interesting how MINI will market the various JCW stages, since most ppl will be looking at the hp number.

  • eager2own

    I agree with the Marks that hp numbers aren’t everything. But this ‘JCW’ kit can’t be justified by comparing increased R56 torque over the R53. You get that ‘upgrade’ just by buying the R56 . . . so the question is what additional power is available by forking over money for this kit, and all we have to go by so far is a mediocre increase in horsepower (yes, for a turbo engine, an increase of 8-13% power is mediocre). It may be that the additional power (with the ECU, exhaust, intake upgrades) is available at a reasonable price . . . 3000 Euros doesn’t bode well for that though.

  • eager2own

    MINI buyers don’t scrap for every number . . . but JCW buyers do. And if this is supposed to be a re-branding a la BMW M-series, you can bet potential buyers will be scrapping for every number.

  • zack

    couldn’t have said it better, eager.

    just check out the frenzy on verifying hp numbers for the r56 milltek exhaust. that’s just one MCS mod, much less a partial or complete JCW kit.

  • bling
    “Stage One” kit will be available as a dealer retrofit for all R56 MCS’s

    You mentioned earlier that the JCW Mini (assuming this pertains to the Stage Two ver now) will not be available with an automatic transmission. However does this Stage One kit mean auto MCS owners can have a taste of JCW engineering?

  • R56LVR
    However does this Stage One kit mean auto MCS owners can have a taste of JCW engineering?

    Yes, and you can also have a taste of exorbitant JCW pricing. Can you say “shameless margin grab”?

  • Jon

    As a current JCW driver and a person waiting for a “real” JCW R56 I can say it’t not HP that determines my purchase. Rather the reason is that it heralds a very large force in Mini’s history. With my R53 JCW any number of aftermarket tuners where able to make very comparible cars with simular if not better performance, but without the pedigree (imo). The fact is JCW’s are about styling, performance and general fun not only the HP, but making a less powerfull JCW is a silly move. Still not in love with the idea of multiple JCW’s running around with very different capability.

  • Brian

    I vote for a JCW Turbo Diesel for the U.S.

  • Bavarian Racing Green

    …i for one like this idea very much…

    …the world should always focus on choices…

    …that being said, i agree that a very noticable distinction should be made between this ‘Stage 1’ upgrade and the full fledged JCW…

    …i own a stock MCS and I personally would love to have a JCW, however $6000 is a tough pill to swallow for prospective owners and at the same time a badge of enthusiasm for those who are owners…

    …enthusiasts need to be catered to, as they push innovation and excitement…

    …but common folk like myself need a carrot on a stick, cause it’s them that buy the bulk of the cars…

    …this ‘Stage 1’ or ‘Sound kit’ for the MCS is appealing cause it makes the mini a ‘little’ special, one more thing to customize and one more box to check when ordering…

    …plus it might be a very welcome upgrade for the Clubman S, as it may lag a little with it’s 18″ ass-extension…

    …this rational, of course, is shot to shit if it costs more that $2000…

  • gz

    Sorry if this has been covered but will stage two be a retro fit as well or just a factory model as originally stated?

  • Kaelaria

    MINI is pricing themselves out of the market. The R53 wasn’t near worth it’s price loaded up, let alone the R56. No way will people settle for a premium economy FWD car when they are in BMW/Porche/Mercedes/Infinity/etc. ranges.

    I enjoy my R53 with aftermarket goodies – but it’ll be my one and only MINI, unfortunately.

  • derek
    A lot of you are stuck on this horsepower kick. You have to look at the possible low end benefit if any. The R56 already beats the R53 in this caregory. Now if we’re talking 200 H.P. with 192 Lb/ft. of torque arriving low in the rev range (1,600 to 1,700 RPM) you’ve got a monster on your hands. Remember an R53 (’05 and ‘06) achieved 207 H.P. (U.S.) but only achieved 180 Lb./ft. of torque at 4,500 RPM’s. Today’s R56 can almost match an ‘05/’06 JCW car without any upgrades. If you’re able to finally upgrade the R56 you wouldn’t have to do much in my opinion to beat out the ‘05/’06 R53 with JCW.

    and the R56 is lighter. Witness GP.

  • scott

    Waiting for “stage 2” JCW info!!!

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Naturally there are going to be aftermarket products that promise similar results for less money. But this has always been the case with the aftermarket. And as always, there are obvious positives and negatives to both. If anything I’d say (and yes it’s still early) that this kit looks to be a slightly better deal than the previous kit offered with the R53.

  • Maciek

    I guess we have to wait and see what the “Stage II” entails, but this is slightly disappointing.

    I don’t have a problem with Mini selling “JCW” upgrades for the R56, but it is the pricing that is a bit ridiculous.

    I thought the JCW kit for the R53 was very overpriced. There is the argument that the aftermarket will always be cheaper, but if compare a M3 to a non-M three series, the M3 is a bargain if you tried to upgrade all the things that come in the package to a regular 3 series.

    I certainly hope that the second JCW stage contains subtle exterior styling upgrades (mild body kit, badging) an upgraded interior (SEATS!, gauges, wheel) a 1.8T engine and an upgraded suspension.

    If the Stage II JCW address the car as a package rather then independent overpriced modifications that can be individually supplied by the aftermarket I will be thrilled.

  • Jon

    I believe your correct Gabe about this being a better deal than the last JCW offering. However I still wonder about the logic of attaching a JCW tag to something that every aftermaket vendor will follow and improve upon. The only way JCW will ever truely stand out as something special is when the JCW stand out over a MCS just like the M5 is over the standard 5 series.

    By releasing yet another kit form JCW they are reproducing the same lackluster resale value of the current JCW. Anything that gets bolted on at the dealership will never have the resale of a factory car. Strange thing is that BMW already knows this hence the M division. I have a good measure of faith in Mini, but do worry that by attaching JCW to very different cars will dimish the entire JCW brand.

    Just hoping that when I save my pennies for JCW this time around I don’t suffer the same pathetic resale that my current JCW has suffered.

  • Chris

    I’d definitely pay $2000 for an intake/ECU/exhaust kit with factory warranty. I wouldn’t pay $3000 though.

  • GZ

    If it’s $2000 for a 25HP bump then that is a bargain as measured by not only what the aftermarket has offered in the past but especially compared to the R53 JCW. $6300 for a 40 HO bump. Not to mention $2000 for the JCW suspension and $1100 for the brakes. I drank the JCW koolade on all three in 2005 and lost my shirt when I sold it. Furthermore as Gabe pointed out I had to have the sport package ($1600) to get all this. I’m unclear if that is the case to add “stage one”.

    It’s a great idea to make the extra power available for MCS owners to go back and upgrade. However, I agree that if they call it JCW tuning then the “stage two” should have it’s own designation as it’s own model. Call it “M” or something else. How about “HP” for “high performance” or “SS” for “super sport” or “R” like the Jag or Honda performance model. Or if the pricing is unreasonable just “S” for sucker.

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  • http://www.psmini.org QandElf

    What is this stuff you people are smoking? $45-50k for the MINI? Based on what? You are already driving around in an overpriced car anyway! I bought my MINI in Europe (Italy) in March of 2004. My invoice sheet lists my FULLY LOADED (the only thing I didn’t get was JCW) IB/W MCS as €18.556,29 ($22,170.00). In the States, it would have cost me around $28,500-$29,000. But I do like the fact that now, three years later, having my beautiful MINI in the US means that it’s Blue Book is still almost $500 more than I paid three years ago…

    BTW, the other press releases I’ve seen talked about the European price being about €1.690,00, which is about $2,250.00. If it IS sold in the US for $3,000.00, then it’s just MINIUSA gutting your wallets again.

  • Michel

    Turbo upgrade kit’s on the R56 should have 250-260hp easy… Why JCW are so conservative? ;-(

  • Whatever

    $2000 for ecu is too much. The exhaust is just a different muffler and the airfilter is worth only about $50-$100. You would probably get the same increase in HP with just the ECU. Booooo…

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