Updated: We just had someone leak us a bit of info that indicates that MINI may have changed their mind regarding the JCW Engine kit on the 2011 MCS. We will have full details soon.
In the summer of 2007 MINI introduced the first drivetrain upgrade for the R56 – the JCW Engine Kit. The kit consisted of a free flowing exhaust, a JCW air intake and more aggressive engine software. The result was 192bhp and 200 ft lbs of torque on overboost. At the time it was arguably as fast as the previous 208 hp JCW factory car (thanks to that torque figure of course). But remember those figures for a second. They appropriately split the difference rather well from the 175 hp MCS and the factory JCW car with 211 bhp (released in 2008).
Now fast forward to 2011 and MINI has upgraded the MCS engine to include variable valve timing and a host of other improvements that add up to 181 hp. So MINI was faced with a decision. Do they upgrade the JCW Engine Kit or simplify the product offering and kill it. And according to sources MINI has made the decision and will not be upgrading the engine kit for the refreshed MCS (2011 onward).
The key to this choice was that the JCW engine wasn’t upgraded with variable valve timing and thus is still at 208 hp / 211 bhp. With the the new 1.6L MCS engine at 181hp it’s not hard to imagine a new JCW Engine Kit getting dangerously close to the performance of the rather pricey factory JCW.