A few weeks back we reported that some US owners of the automatic R56s were getting the new 192bhp JCW kit installed at some dealers. At the time we recommended against the install as the auto kit was not officially released and the manual version of the kit had different ECU software. However several commenters reported having the kit installed by dealers who somehow would successful in ordering the auto kit from MINI. In fact we’ve verified one of these cases and will be featuring a short reader review in the days ahead.

But we wanted to get the official word so we decided to do some research ourselves. Instead of going to the dealers we thought we’d go straight to the top and chat with people in the know at MINI corporate. We were once again assured that MINI USA has not officially released the JCW Tuning Kit for the automatic as of January 2008. Our source went onto say that, while has been released in other markets, MINI USA still hasn’t received approval from environmental engineering for the US market.”

Furthermore, we’ve obtained a bulletin from MINI USA just went out to dealers this morning reminding that the JCW Tuning kit can only be installed on the manual:

>Reminder: As per bulletin M 11 01 07 the John Cooper Works Tuning Kit can only be installed on MINI Cooper S with manual transmission. Even if the parts do fit MINI Cooper S with automatic transmission, the kit is not released for these cars. We still need to obtain approval from our environmental engineering before we can release the kit for MINI Cooper S with automatic transmission in the US market. We are trying to get this approval as soon as possible.

And for those who may have missed our earlier report on the factory 210+ bhp JCW kit and it’s compatibility with the automatic option, here’s the short answer; not going to happen.