The 2015 MINI JCW – What We Know

The Timeline

Lets start with the basics – timeline. MINI is planning to debut the 2015 JCW on the internet in December of 2014. This means we should see a production debut at the 2015 Detroit Autoshow in early January of 2015. Production should start in March of 2015 with the first cars hitting dealers in April throughout Europe and May in the US.

Read on for the details on power and design.


The Power

The 2015 JCW is currently undergoing cold-weather testing in the arctic circle. More specifically MINI is testing the new 2.0L JCW power plant and how well the new front aero cools it. The 2.0L (internally known as the B48B20O0) will be the same engine that BMW will install in the 225i AT – aka the higher-end front wheel drive BMW due in 2015. Given what we know about that car and what we can read between the lines about JCW’s future we expect at least 220 hp with torque over 210 ft lbs. With weight around 2,800 lbs this would give the 2015 JCW the best power to weight ratio of any MINI ever – by healthy margin.


The Look

What you see above is what you’ll get. Minus some stickers and the extra coat of paint on the wheels. Look for 17″ wheels standard with 18s optional. The areo-kit will be a tweaked version of the JCW aero-kit due on the JCW Exterior Pack option expected late this summer. Tweaks will include an additional lip spoiler (on the wing itself) and subtle fender flares that cover the JCW’s wider track.

Speaking of that wider track we expect the JCW to come with a more aggressive sport suspension lowering the car further than the Cooper S.

Finally expect a GP-esque diffuser standard.

We’ll have much more on the 2015 JCW in the coming weeks and months.

  • Kev50027

    “this would give the 2015 JCW the best power to weight ratio of any MINI ever – by healthy margin.” of any production MINI…

  • John

    Could you tell if the brakes are the same 6 pot as the GP? Any word on interior cues that will differentiate it from the other models? I.e. the dark gray tach and speedo backings are not on all of the models so will there be newer options?

  • ulrichd

    Wonder how this will compare in price to the new Golf R?

  • carcrazed

    Very exciting! I wish it wasn’t a year away… I hope the difference between the S and the JCW will truly warrant their cost increase as I find the current cars are lacking in value somewhat… More differentiation and a larger performance increase will help in this value perception I believe.

  • JonPD

    Meanwhile from EVO Magazine at the Frankfurt Autoshow. The new VW Golf R mk 7 at 296 hp and 4WD. Its going to be more expensive that the JCW but have to say that since VW dominates car sales I trust that their marketing shows the price point is viable. Sorry but the JCW sub brand is still weak sauce to me.

  • lawrothegreat

    I get the rationale behind the Cooper S having 192 hp and 300Nm of torque, as the car will focus on feel and efficiency with getting the power down. I am surprised that the JCW is not offering a little more at the top end particularly with rivals such as the VW Polo R with 4WD and 250hp being announced. If the new equal length shafts help reduce torque steer, isn’t it time for a MINI which can break the 0-60mph in 6.0s barrier? Even at this level there is a safe margin from BMW’s M cars.

  • JonPD

    Also have to say that the Golf R is a much much better design. While I like the general shape of the MINI brand have to say outside of the Cooper the Cooper S and JCW feel terrible fussy and overworked. I have been looking for a small car and have to say the Golf R is so much better looking its sad. Lets see, four very usable seats and a 4 door, with 4wd and optional manual or dual clutch gearbox with a 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds. I would love for the Whiteroofradio guys to discuss how they feel about how the Golf R stacks up against the JCW brand. Also yes its coming to the US.

    • ulrichd

      Question is, will it be 4-door only for the US?

    • We’l try to get our hands on one once the JCW is out. Gabe did a GTI review forever ago and really liked it. Thing is though, this isn’t a zero sum game. The new JCW and the Golf R can both be great cars with different things to offer different people. For me, if I’m going to spend that much money, it’s not going to be on whichever car can shave 1/4 of a second of the other’s 0-60 time. I’m going to buy whichever car I like better. Period. That’s super subjective in the end and I wish that was a more consistent part of the car buying conversation. People get so caught up on “better” in terms of specs and such but never really talk about the simple fact of how for them, one car is simply more interesting than the other. Maybe for you that’s the Golf, but for somebody else it’s the JCW. It’s not really a contest. At least I don’t think about it that way. There’s room enough for both.

      • JonPD

        JCW will doubtfull get below a 6 second run vs a 4.9 which is a tad more than a 1/4 second ;). EVO is raving about the quality of its interior so have to say that peaked my interest. The front end of the Cooper S and JCW is a mess and along with the clown like taillights I have great hestitations about the new car, meanwhile I think the Golf looks pretty decent and understated. Plenty of room for both cars but MINI trying to pander off the JCW sub brand really needs to up its game. I feel that MINI is trapped though as BMW does not want a sporty compact from the MINI brand that can out accelerate their overweight lead sleds. Have not read if the US is 4 door only yet, though that would likely not change my view of it.

        • It’s the same interior as the new Golf (with a couple bits and pieces added). Having seen and sat in both I think the new F56 compares favorably in regards to quality of interior materials.

          Gabriel Bridger | | | |

        • JonPD

          I agree the images of the interior F56 look promising, however challenged by the exterior treatment. Think the Golf R has a lead on looks personally.

        • r.burns

          Enough !! Buy your Golf and goodbye !

        • ulrichd

          Are you the moderator, or what? I think it’s perfectly fine to discuss competitors to the JCW as part of a general discussion of the model. Since the design of the new MINI is proving to be somewhat controversial people are looking at other options.

        • Agreed.

        • r.burns

          Excuse me but my feeling is not that it’s a general and constructive discussion but an explicit advertising about a particular car For sure we all understood all the advantages of this magnificient Golf, thank you ! The only excuse you have, you Americans, is you don’t know the Golf VII, while in Europe this Golf VII is sold from November 2012… not a really new car, and the engine is just the one on the S3, sold from November 2013 (oh I forgot, you Americans don’t have that car either) FYI Much much prettier and classy than the sad Golf R, but still not a fun car to drive

        • asdfas

          show me someone who finds 300 hp and tq and 0-60 in 5 seconds “not a fun car to drive” and ill show you a woman who cant tell the difference between that or a corolla

        • r.burns

          Obviously this is an exaggeration but I advise you to try before becoming ecstatic about some numbers, you might be disappointed by the result, steering wheel in hands The sensations are not just a question of numbers, it would be too simple 😉

        • JonPD

          Good advice on trying before buying, However numbers alone can be telling too.

  • asdfas

    idk why im just noticing this now but the weird gap in front of the headlights on the bonnet/hood really bothers me why didnt they just leave it flat?!

    also vw is just sh**ing on mini right now lol

  • Henry Wu

    “220 hp with torque over 210 ft lbs” doesn’t seem like it’s going to cut it for me. With how everyone is pumping out 2.0L turbo engines pushing numbers way past that, I think it’s time to forgo the balance of MPG and just push out more power to still stay competitive.

    • I agree Henry. I think the issue is mental. I expect [at least incremental] progress.

      With .4L more displacement, in-house development by BMW and theoretically more technology, I expect much larger increase than 12hp and 20lb/ft of torque. In some ways it almost seems like a step backwards to get a 6% increase in power from a 25% increase in displacement of a true BMW-shared power plant.

      Most competitors have been upping the power and efficiency out of every new generation of 2.0L T I4. Mercedes gets 355hp from 2.0L and today we hear reports VW is planning a 370hp 2.0L I4. I had no expectation of power figures that high, but the mental game is that it becomes harder to justify the base cost of a stripped factory JCW which will assumedly start over $30k given the competition.

      Although I also feel like I shouldn’t be surprised. While BMW has always made fine engines, the base N54/N55 has been stuck at 300hp for seven years now and many competitors seem to be pushing the performance envelope further faster across the board. The JCW will still be more “fun” than a GTI, GTI R or WRX, but the performance increases from the R56 JCW seem to be an incremental rather than the revolution leap one would expect with a modern shared chassis and powertrain from BMW. I hope that the F56 factory JCW does include more standard performance features like aero kit, sports suspension, etc to help justify the price.

      It will be interesting to see what the total package looks like and I remind myself that MINIs have always been greater than the sum of their parts. Look at the new GP which has not more power than a standard JCW but is a such a joy to drive and so well reviewed. So I’ll try to keep an open mind, but small things like the unexpectedly minor bump in power and narrow 205 section tires on the show car aren’t helping to paint a competitive picture. One of the things the factory R56 JCW lacked that the LCI improved was a feeling of being special, hopefully the F56 JCW will manage to find some of that.

      • lawrothegrear

        I think nowadays one needs to separate power, torque, emissions and economy from engine displacement. The size of the engine is not important (unless you’re after particular acoustic characteristics). Yes, a 1.6 litre can produce 200hp easily, so on first appearances 200hp from a 2.0 doesn’t seem so impressive. But if the 2.0 is more efficient, driveable and reliable then that is a real world boon. If you’re not popping the hood/opening the bonnet (whichever side of the pond you are!) and measuring the cylinders then displacement doesn’t matter. At all.

      • BMW M and it would seem JCW as well seem to be following a different ethos of lightweight, precision and purity rather than all out power. The previous M3 had the least amount of power in its class yet was consistently chosen as the winner in comparisons.

        What will the final JCW power output be? We don’t know. We can only assume based on sources and other data that it’ll be over 220hp. In my mind the bigger question is, will the JCW be more rewarding to drive than the competition.

        Btw having extensively driven the last three generations of the GTI, I can confidently say the Cooper S has always been clearly a more rewarding drive. Adding more power and all wheel drive to the GTI in the form of the Golf R hasn’t historically made it more fun either.

        • lawrothegreat

          All very fair points.

        • Henry Wu

          I agree with many of your points where the MINI is more rewarding to drive.I’ve always said the MINI sells itself if you can get the consumer behind the steering wheel.

          But in a business sense and frankly for many new prospects, the first impression is the numbers on a website or an article – and first impressions are important. It’s like the phrase “eating with your eyes.”

          IMO – There’s nothing wrong with sacrificing a little bit of MPG for performance – like the BMW M class which is what the JCW is suppose to be. If MINI wants people to respect the JCW division much like the M, raising HP/TQ performance is going to be a big leap towards that direction.

          A sense of great balance and rewarding drivability makes sense in the S. But I think there’s always a yearning for more power when people shop in the JCW category. I personally believe that’s a huge reason why there’s so much success in the market of aftermarket upgrades for MINIs.

  • Karl

    Well, I love my 2009, and will be getting the new one when it’s released. I’ve had 5 MINIs and the last one is the fJCW. It’s fast enough for me, and adding the GP suspension makes it handle great. Drove in a couple of VWs in the last six months and they are nice cars, but I’m stuck on the MINI brand and think the new JCW will be great. My wife is going to get a 428 convertible this summer to round out the stable.

  • Chris

    HP can be added with a simple tune. FYI for someone that has had actual (track time) seat time in a MK6 Golf R (APR Stage 2+) an R53 with pulley, injectors, and software is just as fast. Thats maybe 180 at the wheels for the MINI.

  • TheBigNewt

    The JCW looks like a great looking Mini, maybe a little less front end scoop holes. At 2800 lbs it’s heavier than the R56 (2600), but lighter than the Golf. 220 HP in a Mini is fast enought for all but the most skilled drivers on a track. If the cornering can handle that power it’ll be great. As for the Golf, it looks like……..a Golf. They still remind me of the Volkwagen Rabbit for some reason.

    • That would be because it IS a Rabbit. Just a big Habbit. A Hare, if you will.

    • ulrichd

      If only. My 84 Rabbit GTi was one of the most fun cars I ever owned. Ever since then, the GTi has grown in size and weight, and VW has been trying to convince every one that each new generation is like the original. It’s like the BMW E30 crowd and our own R50/53 gang (I am a member).

      Give it one more generation and MINI will start to go back to its “roots”.

      • lawrothegreat

        My first car, a ’91 VW Polo ‘squareback’, produced a wholesome 42 hp mated to a four speed manual.

        • I’ve got a 40 year-old motorcycle that makes about 42 hp. 5-speed. 😉

  • BK_R56

    Any news on what the limited slip diff will be? The 2015 GTi is going to have a really cool haldex/borg warner front diff that is supposed to be amazing according to auto journos. For this car here is to hoping they don’t saddle it with some lame e-diff that will suck at the track.