Revised 2011 JCW: More Power & Unique Styling

The current JCW has been a disappointment for MINI in terms of sales. They won’t ever say it but it’s clear that the car hasn’t performed up to expectations. But that’s not to say it doesn’t posses all the ingredients for success. We’ve written about it quite a bit on MF (you can read out review here) and even put together an official MotoringFile point of view around what the JCW should be. We’ve even thrown it out to readers in a poll awhile back.

MINI JCW Challenge

It now looks like MINI has been listening. They know that the car needs one thing above all else; exclusivity. As it stands now the JCW looks on different from a bone stock Cooper S with the exception of a few very minor pieces of trim and a unique set of 17″ wheels. For 2011 MINI will be making an updated JCW aero-kit standard on the JCW in every market. That means installation of the kit will be done at the factory with all other assembly. But there is one massive update to the kit; a huge (functional) rear air diffuser that is lifted (mostly intact) from the JCW Challenge Race car (seen above).

We expect a unique exterior paint (potentially a roof color) option as well as a few unique trim choices as well. Also updated (across the entire MINI line) will be the interior center stack with a completely updated hard drive based Navigation system that will include MINI Connect.

Under the hood look for MINI’s addition of VALVETRONIC to filter into the JCW range and bump not only power (we expect a figure over 215 hp) but also efficiency. The stock MCS is up 8 hp and has 10% more efficiency.

The 2011 JCW will debut online with a public debut at the Paris autoshow. The car will start production around September 1st and reach dealers later that month. Any price increases should be in line with previous years.

You can see photos at Leftlanenews.

Written By: Gabe

  • BilboBaggins

    At great long last. Let’s hope that they are also listening about suspension changes. Stiffer springs and adjustable shocks and anti-sway bars as standard. Maybe even some wheel choices that weight under 15lbs/7Kg.

  • Alan Smithee

    Shame. No mention of JCW suspension or seats. Hideous body kit being sizzle rather than steak, catering to the poseurs instead of the true enthusiasts. BMW lost me a few years ago; thought there was hope for MINI.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andymadrid Andrew Madrid

    Sounds good, but honestly the aero kit is mainly cosmetic isn’t it? It doesn’t make the car faster or lend more rigidity to the ride does it? I say, add 40 more horses, make the strut brace standard, and lighten the car by adding some light weight rims.

  • JonPD

    Good move in the right direction, lets hope that they spend equal time addressing the suspension. End effect is that to be truly a sales hit I think they need a car that in performance and look that cannot be duplicated by tacking on bits and pieces from the JCW catalog. Just think how dismal /M cars would be if there were just slightly better than the stock offering in performance and handling, not to mention if they allowed a /M look alike to be put together with just a few bits and pieces from the company catalog.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Sounds good, but honestly the aero kit is mainly cosmetic isn’t it? It doesn’t make the car faster or lend more rigidity to the ride does it?

    The front of the kit reduces lift. If the defuser is identical to that on the Challenge car (it appears to be) then it also reduces lift. Doesn’t get much more functional than that on a $30,000 car.

  • Ketan

    Finally, I think poor sales may also be due to poor economy but I will definitely get the new JCW. It really needs to stand out from the stock S and they finally listened and added the aero kit. I really hope it’s not just cosmetic changes, I hope they also upgrade the suspension.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=814825706 Sideways Eh!

    The MINI Challenge car uses the M7 rear diffuser does it not? Does this mean that M7 has a contract to produce factory rear diffusers?

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    The MINI Challenge car uses the M7 rear diffuser does it not?

    It does not.

  • Kyle Batson

    A body kit will definitely help. Suspension needs to be addressed too.

    As a side note, could someone please tell me how to close the lightbox? Once it’s opened, I can’t figure out how to close it again.

  • bee1000

    I can’t imagine a JCW MINI ever being a big seller. Sure there will be some deep-pocket MINI buyers (cough mid-life crisis cough), but I think most MINI enthusiasts would rather spend less upfront and modify their own cars.

    For me, it’s easier to imagine spending $23,000 on a new MCS and then spending $5,000 modifying it than it is to spend all that at once on a JCW. Adding $5K to my own car just makes it more “mine.” Spending around $30,000 (or more!) on a factory MINI will always seem crazy to me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andymadrid Andrew Madrid

    I love GBV!!! And my JCW CAB.

  • JonPD

    Think it will sell well if MINI can avoid the luxury/sport trap that /M has gotten itself into. I have seen boat loads of 30k MINIs over the years and more than a few 40k.

    If they make this a serious performance car that I don’t have to drop 5-10k just to make it what it should have been from the factory (imo)I would use the same money taking the car to the next level.

  • http://flavors.me/needcaffeine needcaffeine

    most sport/race-spec models of vehicles are not big sellers; I don’t know why MINI thinks they should be any different?

  • goat

    This is the best MINI news in a while! The visual distinction from other models is important and the parts are functional and track-inspired, perfect and instant cred in my book. Now we just need to hear that the JCW suspension will be fitted as standard if they are committed to channeling the extra HP in a way befitting a great handling car which is the main point of a MINI (any MINI but especially a JCW model). Yes, seats should be upgraded too but I’ve given up hoping that we’ll get Recaro/Sparco JCW seats in Canada/USA anytime soon (that is why I’m just going to swap in the JCW-equivalent aftermarket seat into my JCW).

    Looking forward to seeing what the JCW coupe shapes up like!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=814825706 Sideways Eh!

    well it looks damn close to being one and the same…

  • lavardera

    There is just as much controversy over the trajectory of M cars, but granted the sentiment rings true with me too. I’d like to see the JCW car be a unique treatment as the Ms are to BMW. But beyond that I’d like to see JCW offer a stripped lightweight version non luxury version as M seems to occasionally offer. Keep the hard drive, nav, and carpet. Forget the sun roof and interior color options.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=52401286 JP Dunphy

    FINALLY!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!! too bad my MINIs faster than any JCW i’ve come across yet :P for good reason tho….

  • cze33r

    OK, my interest has been piqued.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=772149489 Jairo Soto

    I echo the comments about the JCW suspension. If MINI labels this car “JCW” and markets it as a performance oriented car, then it HAS to have the JCW suspension.

  • CraigE


    I expect the closest you will see to that is the R59, when it arrives next year. I expect that the R59 is also the most likely candidate to receive the GP treatment. IIRC it is already starting 200 lbs lighter than the R56.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=653192548 Aurel Savin

    looks great!

    LOL @ the fact that this was posted “after” the WC50 news.

  • Micah

    Yes, this is indeed a step in the right direction! Functional rear diffuser, hell yes! Would really like to see the return of a mechanical front diff, or at least a diff that functions like the ///M diff and does not eat brake pads. Will look forward to seeing the final spec.

  • Micah

    And for the hundredth time, MINI please spec some real sport seats! Now that there are so many models between the Coupe’, Roadster, this JCW Cooper S, and Countryman S in rally spec, the crash test / no airbag sensor argument simply holds no water.

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  • that.guy

    Really? A rear diffuser? Did we ask for a rear diffuser? No. We asked for real seats and a serious suspension. And I for one would also like a quicker steering ratio. How hard is that? Really?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=588611030 Jonathan Ikemura

    If you guys want a good suspension, just buy some aftermarket coilovers… I guarantee you that any suspension with the JCW logo on it will be over priced

  • Hugh Warden

    I think this 2011 JCW might be a Limited edition run like the Works GP since the r59 will be launched just after that.

  • jpd

    JCWs are languishing on dealer lots here in the Pacific Northwest with prices creeping well into BMW 1 series territory. MINIs effort to add some spark into the car is appreciated, but it may be too little. I appreciate the aero kit but I’m unsure about the diffuser. The extra bits need to be on the inside as well without driving the price north of $40k.

  • Don Hopings

    As a 2009 JCW owner, I like the diffuser. That looks pretty cool. However, I hope that they do NOT have any notion of using the GP wing. That’s fine for racing, but it looks like it is tacked on with no thought to integration…

  • Mark

    Quicker steering ratio?? Seriously? Have you compared a MINI to any other car on the road? I’d say concentrate on making it more like a GP if you want JCW to mean something. Lighter weight, exclusive options, and a power bump over what is available through the dealer. Don’t go nuts with the price either (keep it like a GP).

  • lavardera

    Really? I think the factory JCW should come with the challenge car spoiler, so long as you can still open the hatch with it.

    As others have said I think we should look to the M division to understand how to tier performance features. Unique body kit including spoiler – yes. I’d go as far to say that the factory JCW suspension should be higher performance than the dealer installed JCW suspension. Something that would accommodate wider wheels, and would include as part of the body kit wider flared wheel trim to cover those wider wheels and tires. And of course that would all find a home on the Challenge cars as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000080157298 Justin Octavi

    Ever since the update in 07, the JCW went from a true performance sports car to a re-badged S model. It does have more h.p. but with no real suspension to back it up and the h.p increase is negated by the heavy wheels and horrific torque steer. Adding an aero kit is just MINI’s way of getting some unused accessory inventory off the shelves and unloading it on dealers and customers at a premium (see “Laurel Edition”)

    They need to strip it down, put in a real suspension, lighter wheels, up the h.p. to around 250 and all AWD to make it competitive in this price point. The STI will eat a JCW for lunch and has better reliability as well.

  • Mark

    Some may disagree with the reliability statment with the STi. I know a guy with a 2009 STi on his third motor! Yes it’s fast, but I don’t know that having to replace the stock motor multiple times is a desired effect. It’s a different car and it appeals to a different buyer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1046757782 Peter Braun

    Cripes! That rear diffuser is so high up in the air, I don’t see how it can diffuse anything but very dirty air. Now, if there was a flat bottom on the car, which there is not, and the diffuser was closer to the outflow of air from there, and the ground, it would surely function closer to the intended purpose as opposed to a dorky looking bolt on “speed” piece.

  • onefish2

    I am a 2009 JCW owner. I came from BMW land. I do not want an the ugly 135i. I love my car the way it is. I made the improvements. I added the JCW aero kit and JCW suspension as well as the JCW steerign wheel and many of the JCW CF bits. I do not want sport seats. I like my comfy lounge leather seats.

    I feel well qualified to speak to what a future JCW NEEDS. Most of you guys posting that the car needs this feature and the car need that feature have no intent on purchasing a 2011 JCW. Why bother saying the car need this or the car needs that? You dream up all these requirements for no reason. You are not going to buy it anyway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000080157298 Justin Octavi

    @ Mark – I have friends with STI, R8, GTR, 800 hp EVO’s etc… I respectfully disagree, all of my friends (whether they drive $100,000 super cars or $30,000 STI appreciate the MIN for what it is and would be potential MINI owners if the car offered more.

    The JCW buyer is the same as any other performance car buyer. We all want exclusivity and a car that is at the top of whatever that brand has to offer. This is what we pay for. At this price point, 35k plus for a nicely equipped JCW, the car simply does not live up to its racing heritage nor is it competitive in the performance car market.

    As a die-hard car guy and MINI enthusiast, I think that MINI missed the mark with their current version and I’m pretty sure that is reflected in the sales take rates on the JCW per dealer.

    I love the MINI but want more JCW for my money. just my .02 (adjusted for inflation)

  • http://www.facebook.com/andymadrid Andrew Madrid

    @Justin, Don’t assume we all want the same thing because I for one want great gas mileage. I considered a sti and a 135 but went with the jcw because it offered a combination of performance and economy. I’m pretty sure this combination will be less rare in the future but for now I could only find it in a mini jcw.

  • Brian

    It’s a move in the right direction, but it’s not complete without the suspension. Hopefully it will be there at the end.

    GO JCW

  • that.guy

    @Mark Yes, seriously. The steering ratio is a notch slower (~14.1:1 vs 13.2:1) with more assist in the R56 versus the R53. It feels a bit dead and… average… to me. I want it taken back to something equal to or better than the R53. At least for the JCW.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=529305914 Haemish Edgerton
    If you guys want a good suspension, just buy some aftermarket coilovers… I guarantee you that any suspension with the JCW logo on it will be over priced

    Sorry, but Gabe (and I) disagree with you. JCW Suspension One Month Review

    Cripes! That rear diffuser is so high up in the air, I don’t see how it can diffuse anything but very dirty air. Now, if there was a flat bottom on the car, which there is not, and the diffuser was closer to the outflow of air from there, and the ground, it would surely function closer to the intended purpose as opposed to a dorky looking bolt on “speed” piece.

    Actually, as I understand it, every R56 that came with a factory-fitted aero kit also came with underbody panels, just like the GP has. So the bottom of these cars probably will be flattened too (at least much more than your average non-factory-aero-kit R56).

  • Minipuma

    That matte black Gigamot paint job is pretty cool in the photo.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1003965445 Harry Dill

    As far as I’m concerned, this is another half-baked attempt by MINI to stimulate sales. I am very doubtful that the “boy racer” cosmetic embellishments will be applauded by die-hard enthusiasts.

    There is no substitute for unmistakable, authentic, and functionally effective body work modifications. This attempt to capture the imaginations of performance “poseurs” fails to deliver the goods!

    If there is, in fact, a viable market for a truly distinctive, limited-edition, high-end iteration it is conceivable that a large enough faction would be willing to cough up $50 grand, but spending $35 – $40k for something this far off target will undoubtedly require some masterful media hype to successfully pull off another unenviable and unconvincing charade.

  • JonPD

    Lets not bash their efforts on the performance side guys until we hear more about what they are doing with the suspension and engine. I am also hoping that all the rancor the MINI has got over the current JCW that they realize its not only being unique but having a solid performance car.

    I still am dying hoping against all reason to finally get the JCW Recaro’s. I also hope they just don’t throw the JCW suspension on the car, since the last thing I would want is that every other MINI can bolt on the same suspension. Once again just like /M the car needs to not only look different but to also have strong performance mechanical changes under the body work.

  • cct1

    Yes, the GP and the R56 have factory installed underpanels (the R56 panels can be modified to fit the R53). So that rear diffuser is functional–it’s not “boy racer” parts.

    They are moving in the right direction. The “S” will still be for the masses, but if the JCW isn’t going to sell well, then push it more toward it’s heritage–lighten it up, continue to improve performance so that is an order of magnitude better in these regards than a standard S, limit production to something reasonable, and you’ve hit gold.

    Right now there just isn’t enough to seperate the S from the JCW from a performance standpoint. Not since decent aftermarket tunes for the S became available….

  • that.guy

    @JonPD You can get the JCW Recaros now, if you can “live” (no pun intended) without the side airbags. The seat is the Recaro Sportster CS, available through any US dealer for ~$1300 a piece, plus mounting hardware.

  • goat

    @ Jonathan Ikemura – Haemish (and Gabe) are quite right. JCW suspension transforms an R56 and turns it into a serious corner carver. Would coils be even more hard core? Quite possibly. But quality coils will cost fairly close to JCW suspension, install is just as involved, a coil kit does not automatically come with front and rear sways like the JCW kit does, and while ride height is theoretically adjustable, vast majority of owners “set it – get an alignment – and forget it”. I am not a huge R56 fan, but I know from first-hand experience that the JCW suspension MAKES the R56 and is not overpriced relative to quality aftermarket kits, it is quite seriously tuned (MINI even ships one of several spring rates to best match the specific build weight of your vehicle based on its VIN) and don’t forget it is warranted by MINI and in most cases will add rather than take away from resale or trade-in value.

    @that.guy – as a matter of fact, I actually am seriously planning an aftermarket sport seat swap for my R53 JCW and any info before I order a seat and get to work is appreciated. Do you go by same handle on NAM so we can chat?

  • Augie05

    I agree on the jcw suspension. Totally transformed my car while not killing the ride. Should be standard on the most performance minded car that shares the same name. JCW

  • that.guy

    @goat NAM?

  • Gerarddm

    I’ve said this before: JCW needs carbon fiber body panels to lose weight, and a distinct engine package to jack the horsepower. Aero mods by themselves are poseur.

  • that.guy

    sorry, cf panels are not going to happen. aluminum maybe.

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