The History of the Modern JCW Tuning Kits

This bit of information was part of the recent JCW press release from MINI UK but we felt it deserved it’s own published post. It’s a great way to take a look back at all the various JCW products throughout the years.

What’s in a name?

John Cooper Works under the ownership of BMW Group

The Cooper name originates from John Cooper, an engineering legend inextricably linked to the golden age of British motor racing throughout the 1960’s. With the introduction of new MINI in 2001, the Cooper name was reborn under the guidance of John’s son Mike, who began developing aftermarket tuning kits for the new MINI at the original John Cooper premises in East Preston, West Sussex.

In December 2006 BMW Group acquired the rights from Mike to the John Cooper Works Brand. Early in 2007, this transaction became effective and gave BMW Group the opportunity to develop this sub-brand and strengthen the MINI brand and product range.

The deal was agreed with the then owners of the John Cooper Works brand and in 2008, Mike Cooper remains as a consultant on the BMW Group’s John Cooper Works brand strategy. Mike has been involved in the design and production of the aftersales tuning kits available for the MINI Cooper S.

Although no longer producing their own tuning kits or accessories under the name John Cooper Works, Mike Cooper’s Cooper Car Company develops and supplies car accessories for various other corporate clients. The Cooper Car Company supplies BMW AG with hardware components for the current MINI Hatch aftersales tuning kit as well as sports air filters and sports exhausts for the BMW 3 Series. These parts bear the name John Cooper Works or BMW Performance respectively.

No formal cooperation agreement exists between the Cooper Car Company and BMW AG but given the successful relationship forged between both parties, it is planned and desired that the Cooper Car Company will be a partner of BMW AG for many years to come.

John Cooper Works tuning and MINI since 2003

The John Cooper Works tuning brand is a developing MINI story. Prior to the launches of the Oxford-built MINI John Cooper Works and MINI CHALLENGE cars in 2008, a line of aftermarket tuning kits and factory-built models plot the history of John Cooper Works back to 2003. In 2008, close to four thousand John Cooper Works-tuned MINIs are on UK roads.

2007 John Cooper Works Tuning Kit for MINI Cooper S

UK sales to date: 402

Technical specification

  • Sports exhaust with chrome finish tailpipes
  • Adapted air filter
  • Modified engine control unit
  • John Cooper Works badges Performance data
  • 192 hp
  • 250 Nm peak torque between 1,500 and 5,000 rpm. With Overboost deployed, peak torque is increased to 270 Nm between 1,750 and 4,500 rpm.
  • 0-62 mph in 6.8 seconds

2006 MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit

UK sales: 454 (Limited production of 2,000 models for worldwide sale)

Technical specification

  • Limited Slip Differential
  • ASC+T
  • EBD
  • DSC as a no-cost option
  • Rear seat bench removed to accommodate a polished reinforcement tube connecting the spring strut domes on the rear axle
  • 16-inch John Cooper Works disc brakes
  • Thunder Blue/Pure Silver paintwork with red caps on the exterior mirrors
  • Adapted air filter
  • Modified outlet ducts
  • Modified injection nozzles and spark plugs
  • Sports exhaust system with chrome finish tailpipes
  • Modified engine control unit
  • 18 inch light alloy wheels with low profile tyres
  • John Cooper Works GP Aerodynamic Kit
  • Recaro leather seats in Panther Black
  • Bose audio system with CD player
  • John Cooper Works GP badges

Performance data

  • 1.6 litre supercharged engine
  • 218hp
  • 250 Nm peak torque at 4,600 rpm
  • 149 mph top speed
  • 0-62 mph in 6.5 seconds

2005-06 Sound Kit for MINI Cooper (Performance equal to standard MINI Cooper)

UK sales: 525

Technical specification

  • Air filter system
  • Stainless steel sports exhaust
  • Modified engine control unit
  • Engine cover finished in silver with John Cooper Works emblem
  • John Cooper Works badges
  • John Cooper Works certificate of authenticity

2004-06 John Cooper Works 210 hp Tuning Kit for MINI Cooper S

UK sales: 1209

Technical specification

As 2003-04 John Cooper Works 200hp Tuning Kit for MINI Cooper S, but with: * JCW upgrade kit to increase power output, consisting of a complete JCW air filter system, injection nozzles with increased throughput and modified engine control unit

Performance data

  • 210 hp
  • 245 Nm peak torque at 4,500 rpm
  • 143 mph top speed
  • 0-62 mph in 6.6 seconds

2003-04 John Cooper Works 200 hp Tuning Kit for MINI Cooper S

UK sales: 1197

Technical Specification

  • Complete John Cooper Works air filter system
  • Modified cylinder head including valve drive and gaskets
  • Sport rear silencer in stainless steel
  • Modified supercharger
  • Injection nozzles with increased throughput
  • High power spark plugs
  • Modified engine control unit
  • John Cooper Works badges
  • Engine cover finished in silver, including a John Cooper Works emblem
  • John Cooper Works certificate of authenticity

Performance data

  • 200 hp
  • 245 Nm peak torque at 4,500 rpm
  • 143 mph top speed
  • 0-62 mph in 6.6 seconds
  • Drill

    Great info Gabe, thanks! When do you suppose we can update the info above to include the Stage 1 Clubman kit?? :-)

  • nuvolari

    Hmmm. So, this seems incorrect to me.

    From what I know, the original 03-04 dealer-installed kit did NOT include an upgraded air filter or larger injectors. Just an new SC (with then upgraded rotors), ported cylinder head, plugs, exhaust and ECU update.

    The kit was enhanced in 7/04 (US) to include the air intake and larger injectors, along with a new tune to take advantage of these. That is where the 10hp difference came from. This upgrade to 7/04 specs was available to purchasers of the v1 kit at a surprisingly reasonable price from the dealer.

    This later kit became the factory option available for 05-06, with the exception of the exhaust being welded in place at the factory and including a restrictive crimp so that it would be compatible with the Cabrio’s rear end.

  • Edge

    I concur with nuvolari above.

    Also, the list is missing one small but still very significant kit:

    The JCW Tuning Kit for the MINI Cooper

    (Note: This was for the R50 Cooper, not the Cooper S… and it pre-dates the JCW Tuning Kit for the R53. It’s also distinctly different than the JCW Sound Kit for the MINI Cooper that was listed above)

  • nuvolari

    Edge, maybe we should start a Mini site. These hacks obviously don’t know what they’re doing. :)


    The 200 PS kit was announced in April 2003 but the kits didn’t reach US dealers until June.

    The 210 PS and Upgrade kits were announced in October 2004.

  • greg

    Nuvolari. I never heard of a “restrictive crimp” in the JCW cabrio exhaust. Any idea how it can be “uncrimpted”?

  • Charlie

    Greg, It can’t and still fit under the cabrio. The crimp is there to allow the exhaust pipe to fit next to a cabrio-only body-stiffening brace.

    JCW Coupes, even the GP came with the crimp–even though it wasn’t needed to fit–because MINI didn’t want to offer two separate JCW exhausts.

    You can have a muffler ship remove the crimp and weld in another section of exhaust pipe.


    The torque listed for the 200 PS kit should be:

    • 240 Nm peak torque at 4,000 rpm
  • Jon

    Nice to see this all laid out, good work Gabe.

    JCW has always been a point of interest with me.

    Though I have to say this story pretty much has me wondering about Mini’s future.

    “A larger Mini platform by 2015”

    Looks like the ever growing size of the Mini is still underway.

  • nuvolari
    Nuvolari. I never heard of a “restrictive crimp” in the JCW cabrio exhaust. Any idea how it can be “uncrimpted”?</blockquote I don’t believe it can be, if you have a cabrio. If you have a coupe, it probably could be through some creative torch work. My preference is a pre-cabrio dealer-installed JCW exhaust with the front resonator section replaced with a straight pipe (MyMini offers a nice piece). With that you achieve a true “rorty” exhaust note. :)
  • nuvolari
    The 210 PS and Upgrade kits were announced in October 2004.

    My bad on the date, thanks.

  • C4

    I remember driving a dealer installed 200HP JCW R53 S back in the summer of 2003 and that car put a huge grin in my face. To me that car felt “right” like any other factory R53 should have felt and driven (This was before the 2005 “Facelift”) from the get go. To me the bone stock pre-2005 R53 S felt a little lethargic from the get go and the original JCW kit addressed some of the annoying acceleration issues the stock Cooper S of the time had.

    Believe it or not, I have never driven a 2005+ JCW R53 S, dealer or factory but I just can’t even begin to imagine how sweet those cars must be in comparison to the original pre-2005 200HP JCW cars.

    I still think 1st gen R53 JCW cars (Including the GP of course) will be very sought after vehicles in years to come and the factory versions will command premium prices in the used car market.

  • James

    2003-04 John Cooper Works 126 hp Tuning Kit for MINI Cooper

    UK sales: ?

    Technical Specification

    * Machined cylinder head
    * "Cat-back" sport exhaust system
    * Improved-flow air filter
    * Cover injection tube
    * Modified engine control unit
    * Engine cover finished in silver, including a John Cooper Works emblem
    * John Cooper Works rear and side vent badges
    * John Cooper Works certificate of authenticity

    Performance data

    * 126 hp
    * 155 Nm peak torque at 4,750 rpm
    * 126 mph top speed
    * 0-62 mph in 8.9 seconds
  • Brian

    I just bought a used 2003 Mini Cooper S from a Mazda Dealership in Oregon. I was surprised to find a complete JCW tune kit installed. There was no mention of this in the advertising. How much would it have cost to put this in. Thanks

  • Greg


    At the time (circa 2003), the dealership where I sold MINI charged $5,400 to install the kit. I live in OH, and it is important to note that prices vary greatly from coast to coast. If you’d like a more current price, simply pick a dealer from, call the service/parts dept. and pose as a 2003 MCS owner who wants to install one.

  • mini cooper tuning

    Believe it or not, I have never driven a 2005+ JCW R53 S JCW has always been a point of interest with me.

  • Wallace

    I hope this site is still active, because I have just the question for you guys. I am looking to purchase a used 2005 R53 in the US. The photos show an engine cover with the JCW engine cover and tag that says JCW tuning kit #xxx, and there are JCW emblems everywhere including the brake calipers. When I checked the VIn with the local MINI dealer, however, they told me the VIN did not correspond to a JCW vehicle, just an R53. How is this possible? Please reply to my email if possible. Thanks so much,