Exclusive: 2015 JCW Power Output Revealed

For the past few years we’ve been told by insiders that the next generation JCW power plant would be shared with a BMW. First we thought that might be the i8 with it’s 225 hp three cylinder. Then we were tipped off it would instead be based on a 2.0L four cylinder making more power than today’s car. Finally a few months ago we got a code-name for the new engine: B48B20O0. And after some digging we discovered it matched a code-name used for the (at the time) soon to be released BMW 225i Active Tourer – also based on the MINI platform of course. Finally with the release of the new BMW 225i we finally saw a power figure for that engine.

That figure is 170 kW/231 hp. As luck would have it, that number matches what our sources have been telling us in terms of output, giving us confidence that it’s indeed an excellent indication of where the JCW will be. But this number also makes sense if we just do the math. Historically JCW power plants have had around 20% more power than the Cooper S equivalent at the time.


Naturally MINI and even JCW has never been about power and the rest of the car and as expected the 2015 JCW will come with updated four piston front brakes (it retains the standard items in the rear) and a revised suspension. But with plenty of high performance $30K cars on the market, MINI had to up the HP game considerably to remain relevant in that market. Going from 208 (US spec) to around 230 hp will go a long way in doing that. Furthermore this power figure represents an almost 20% power increase over the new F56 Cooper S. A car that I can attest to as having R56 JCW levels of on-road performance.

Performance figures should be impressive of not at the level of all-wheel-drive rivals. Expect 0-60 times below six seconds and a top speed likely around 150 mph. More importantly it should be a little monster on the track and between the cones.


The Look

What you see above in the JCW concept is what you’ll get. Minus the stickers and the extra coat of paint on the wheels. Look for 17″ wheels standard with 18s optional from the factory. The areo-kit will be a tweaked version of the JCW aero-kit due on the JCW Exterior Pack option expected late this summer – also seen above. Changed 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.

The 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.

We’ll have much more on the 2015 JCW in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime expect plenty of cold-weather testing photos of the new car to crop-up. However don’t be fooled by the lack of the final body-kit. The current mules being tested make due with just the front of the new JCW (minus the MCS grille) and are using standard Cooper S pieces elsewhere.

  • lawrothegreat

    This is very welcome news. MINI isn’t about outright power, but ~230hp will be plenty given the F56’s weight. I’m hoping that there will be an official JCW power kit for the standard S to increase power to around 200-205hp. At this level there will still be plenty of differentiation between the S and the full blown JCW. Of course for those of us who have owned MINIs and have had them rolling roaded stock, know that MINI horses are healthy horses.

    • John

      I’m hoping for a JCW tuning kit for the Cooper, now that would be great.

      • lawrothegreat

        A well specified Cooper 1.5 with a boost is a very tempting proposition but I think MINI want to differentiate the Cooper and Cooper S models, not bridge the gap. The same argument could be applied to the Cooper S and the JCW, but I’m not waiting for the JCW.

      • Resurrecting the JCW Soundkit (Cooper) would be great too. Exhaust, intake and ECU tuning. The best $1k I’ve ever spent on a car.

        • MarkO

          I agree 100%! My 2006 Cooper with the sound kit has been the most fun MINI I’ve had. Prior to that was a 2005 MCS, and a worked 2002 MCS. I’m currently at 110k miles and loving it still.

    • Chilly

      “MINI horses are healthy horses.” 🙂

  • disapointed

    why so less hp? Is the engine not capable of producing high hp safely? Disapointed, 2.0Liter should at least be up with the audi TTS teritory or the VW Scirocco/ Golf GTI numbers. come on mini. WHY? is there an explanation why? more hp doesnt hurt does it?

    • Matt

      Why weeping? The JCW has the same output as the Audi S1 or VW Golf GTI, both with 2.0L.

    • lawrothegreat

      The MINI weighs significantly less than the other cars you quote so it doesn’t necessarily need it. Feeding more power through the front wheels won’t lead to directly proportional accelerative improvements. It doesn’t matter how much power you throw at a FWD, with today’s engineering abilities you’ll struggle to get a FWD car to accelerate from 0-60mph faster than 5.5s.

  • Matt

    Gabe, with an output of 231 hp I expect a top speed around 155 mph.

    • They limit it based on tires…. or nature might limit it based on aero. But yes 155 would be great.

  • Matt

    Is it possible to get the JCW without the red war paint on bumpers? Can I get the JCW in all the colors of the Cooper S ?

    • r.burns

      Of course (it’s already been said here)

  • piper

    Even if it had 350hp it wouldn’t get my vote. The F56 whether in JCW guise or S it’s still fat and ugly looking — even worse than R56! The paint job is perhaps the only attractive feature of the exterior styling and the interior is very nice looking.

    • Matt

      Without the war paint I would definitely prefer the F56 JCW to the R56 JCW.

    • JohnBLZ

      Not tired of beating that dead horse yet eh?

      • carcrazed

        seriously, so many haters, full bandwagon… pitifull, they will be eating serious crow when they lay eyes on it in person and drive it of course

      • Jason

        I’ve determined these must be the same people that complained so badly when the R56 was launched. They must just get off on complaining about anything that isn’t one of their precious R53s.

  • lawrothegreat

    Gabel, it would be great to know the technical differences between the B48 Cooper S and the B48 JCW engines, i.e. mapping or more substantial? I’m assuming that detail will come with time!

    • lawrothegreat

      Sorry did mean to type Gabe!

    • slap_slap

      And what is the difference between the 2L engine used in the other BMWs, like the 328i, and the 2L used in the MINI Cooper S?

      • Completely different engine and architecture meant to drive different ends of the car.

  • Captain

    Nice, that is a very respectable amount of power given the size of a JCW. I have been nicking the output/power on JCWs for too long, I will let it rest. Now… let’s talk about the next GP…

  • Bubbleboy76

    Thanks for this website, I love it! Do you know if the JCW Exterior Package with the JCW Aero Kit will come to the 5-door hatch (F55) as well? I certainly hope so.

  • KPP

    This car is gonna rule. For the complainers crying that 231 hp isn’t enough. Get over yourself! It’s enough horsepower for the size and weight of a fwd car. I suspect the value proposition of this new car will be far better than currently offered. We’re already seeing it with the cooper and cooper s. I’m more interested in the new suspension and torque figures.

    On the list at my local dealership to buy one of these suckers.

  • JonPD

    Not a bad move though I will wait until the news is official from MINI, a quicker MINI is a good thing though.

  • Mihai

    350 Nm torque from 1250rpm is the 225i active tourer. JCW with that much torques = monster of a car and i like it a lot already

  • Mihai

    350 Nm torque from 1250rpm is the 225i active tourer. JCW with that much torques = monster of a car and i like it a lot already.

    makes me wonder though about the facelift in 3 years or so. I am betting the S and JCW will get the 3 cylinder engine which in my opinion is a lot more suitable for the F56 cooper s and JCW than a 4 cylinder 2 litre engine. this said I am in a dilemma – get a diesel 1 series and wait for the facelift to get the proper JCW setup with the 1.5l – 3 cylinder or stop all the logic thinking and get the current f56 JCW :).

    • Matt

      Mihai, get the upcoming F56 JCW.2.0L. Why do you think the three cylinder is a lot more suitable for a proper JCW? Sorry, but I can not understand your position.

      • Mihai

        Well…just my opinion and my aspectations i guess…I strongly believed before the launch that all the MINI hatch family F5x will get the 1.5 3 cylinder from the MINI one to the JCW and for me that made a lot of sense – small car, small engine, fewer cylinders than most of equivalent class cars and so on…kind of goes with the Minimalism theme that MINI is all about also. I know that probably the torque will be less than the 4 cylinder B48 but power would have been there… Also everyone who does not know a lot about MINIs ask me what kind of engine the car has (R56 JCW) and when I tell them its a 1.6 engine they can not believe how fast the car goes with a small engine like that – this for me is one of the charm a MINI has and sadly , for me , the 2 litre engine spoils that. I imagine people asking me how much power the F56 JCW makes and then asking me what capacity the engine is (in case it was a 1.5 3 cyl) and when they find out, watching their expression would make me very proud I am a MINI owner :). Don’t get me wrong, I still love the JCW and all F56 family , but not having the 1.5 engine just got a bit less special for me.. If I remember well, the MINIs where the first small cars with an engine smaller than 2 litres that made power more than most rivals 2 litres engines..Also rumors say that the next 5 series BMW will get a 1.5 3 cylinder engine(it may be the diesel one but I also think it will be a petrol one at least also). I don’t imagine a 5 series BMW with any kind of engine not being a very good car. Anyway, if the facelift F56 JCW or S model will get the 1.5 3 cyl it will make my day :D.

        • Mihai

          Also the next BMW M2 will get a 4 cylinder 2 litre engine. M2 will definitely get more than 350 HP and will use CFRP making it light weight. Having a JCW with the same engine displacement like the 2 series high performance M car makes you wonder why the JCW doesn’t make more HP…. I for one can not accept that very easily. If you guys watched the Autocar.co.uk comparo between the M135i and Paceman JCW; them, costing the same money doesn’t advantage the MINI at all and in the end buying a Paceman JCW over an equivalent priced M135i is kind of stupid even if you are a MINI hardcore fan. I know its about money in the auto car comparo, but for me, the M2 would make more sense over a JCW F56 even though it costs 30 to 40% more…

        • Matt

          Why doesnt the JCW make more HP? I think more than 231 hp and 350 Nm for a FWD JCW doesnt make sense. It is another thing for the RWD BMW or a 4WD JCW.

        • Mihai

          Matt If you install a proper mechanical LSD, the front wheels can manage about 300HP these days. The thing is that i do not want 300 hp on a JCW because 230 is enough, but i would have preferred a three cylinder 1.5 more than a 4 cylinder – 2 litre, just because it would have been more special and it would have fit the MINI character a lot more. It would have been more special and unique.

          Look at the BMW i8. When you read about it that it has a 3 cylinder 1.5 litre and an electric motor that make 340 or so horse power, isn’t that more special than saying it has a 4 cylinder 2 litre engine and an electric motor like a few other hybrid cars have?

        • There’s a story there that we’ll talk a bit about next week.

        • Mihai

          just saw the 3 cylinder i8 engine is making 231 HP and 320 Nm torque. Combined with it being lighter than a 2 litre B48 and more efficient, the JCW would have been the real deal with this engine. I really hope the facelift will add this engine to the JCW

        • Matt

          Mihai, the B48 tuned in the same way would deliver 308 HP and 426 Nm torque, on par with a Porsche………….

        • Mihai

          I agree the B48 is a very good engine, but in my opinion is not the best choice for the MINI.

        • Matt

          Mihai, I understand your position. But for me the 2.0L JCW is the car I would like to buy. It has enough output, torque and perhaps 155 mph. On the other side for a 3 cyl. JCW with the same output you need a much bigger turbo and a bigger turbo means more delay which I hate……..

        • Mihai

          As I said, after a test drive I will probably end up by buying the JCW F56 also, but the dilemma will still be there about the 3 cylinder :).

          In terms of looks I love the car and there is nothing except for laser blue paint that I would add to it :).

        • Matt

          I hope they will get rid of the protrusion in the bumpers and gain a better drag coefficient as well. Regarding this the MC is much better (0,28) than the MCS (0,31). Then 155 mph should be possible.

        • Mihai

          I agree. The drag coeficient is pretty bad for the MCS JCW but 155 should be possible as Gabriel said

    • lawrothegreat

      The 3-cylinder can be tuned to give high-end horsepower, but I’d question its ability to deliver strong low-end torque at the same time, i.e. 220hp and 350Nm from 1250rpm. The Mercedes A45 AMG 2.0 (355hp) produces less torque per litre than the 1.5 would need to if it was to offer 350Nm. With the BMW i8 the 1.5 litre engine is complemented by the electric motor which provides additional torque from a standstill.

      • Torque is, in general, a product of piston travel (stroke), firing order, cylinder configuration and cam timing more so than how many cylinders you’ve got. But even then it tends to run opposite to what you’ve just described. Fewer cylinders tend toward more low-end torque, where more cylinders provides smoother power delivery and more top end horsepower. There are a lot of great examples in motorcycles. A 650cc single cylinder “thumper” makes massive torque basically from idle on up, but with more buzz in the higher revs and a lower redline. The same displacement in a twin will smooth out quite a bit, depending on its firing order (360 vs 180 or 270) but still make lots if torque down low and throughout midrange. A 650cc four cylinder will run really, really smooth and make most of its torque starting above 4,000 rpm or so, with spectacular redline numbers, but often little power or torque below 4,000. A 650cc triple, when properly counter-balanced, will provide 85% of the smoothness of the four cylinder, but regain most of the twin’s low end torque. Sometimes, like in the Triumph Daytona/Street Triple, it can also mean spectacular power and redline pushing 15k. So for something like a MINI, a 3-cylinder makes a lot of sense. Especially when you cam it correctly and mate it to a modern twin-scroll turbo. Best of all, a triple is easily full of character and growl because it’s less inherently smooth than a four or a six yet smoother than a twin tends to be.

        • Matt

          Nathaniel, very interesting. But you compare different cylinder settings and a fixed displacement of 650cc. That means a variable displacement/cylinder. In the Mini the situation is different. You have a fixed displacement of 500cc/cylinder and either a 1.5L three cylinder or a 2.0L four cylinder. The most important factor for torque is displacement. Due to the higher torque the new 2.0L MCS has nearly the same performance as the old 1.6L JCW. For a new JCW I would always prefer a 2.0L to a 1.5L engine.

        • lawrothegreat

          Thanks. I can’t argue with any of that. 🙂 My post was more about the reduction in displacement (2.0 litres to 1.5) as a possible move for future S and JCW variants. From what you’re saying a 1.5 3 cylinder could in theory achieve a higher specific output (in terms of torque) than a 2.0 4 cylinder. The 1.5 litre in the i8 achieves maximum torque just under 4,000rpm (according to the wiki entry) – I’m assuming that this is due to how the turbocharger has been configured rather than the engine being restricted so as not to overcome grip on take off. A few years ago this would have been considered as low-down grunt, it’s funny how things have moved on. It would be great to produce the 1.5 litre 3 cylinder as a twin turbo option in order to get the maximum torque from tickover + 230hp or so at the top end. I’m hoping to get my F56 S at the end of next month (fingers crossed), but I still think that the Cooper 1.5 is probably the pick of the range.

        • Dr Obnxs

          This is because larger cylinders can house bigger valves and you get more flow into the cylinder at lower RPM. Another thing that fights large piston high RPM use is part mass. Larger pistons, valves and the like are more massive. To get them to move at the same high RPM adds stress to the engine with the square of the mass ratio…. That means a part 40% heavier produces force loads (on the con rod, oil films etc) that are 2x as high. Soooo…

          Smaller parts tend to spin faster (look at the piston diameter of a litre sport bike or an F1 car) where as large pistons are heavy and spin slow (think marine diesel and the like…)

          You CAN make a large piston spin fast, but it’s expensive: Very expensive alloys and the like… So no one does it! You really design the torque profile for a specific engine with cam and timing (and maybe boost), and the architecture is designed to support the range of uses that you want for the engine family.

  • Erik06MCS

    The JCW Rear bumper seems to look a bit better than the regular S model but still the front lower bumper section just looks cancerous. Almost like a double chin that actually protrudes further than the actual chin. yuck.

    • Matt

      +1 The Cooper is the best example how to make the openings in the level of the bumper without any protrusion. And that is benificial for the Drag Coefficient as well. The Cooper has one of 0,28, the Cooper S one of 0,31. That is an increase of 10%. I hope they will get rid of the protrusion in the final version.

  • Owning a R55 JCW for over 2 years now from new. More power is good on the F56 But I want better suspension hence why I am getting KW V2 Coilovers put on. The brakes do get a little spongy after prolonged abuse on track. I hope there is an option for an upgraded sport suspension or some sort of track pack. Pleas let there be a mechanical slip diff option which was an option on the R56 but was dropped due to poor uptake

  • Kurtster

    Damn. This is a beast. I can’t give up my JCW Coupe but the story on this new JCW keeps getting better and better. Financially it just wouldn’t make sense for me but I really like what I’m seeing! Maybe I just need to find ways to get my coupe up around that much HP without hurting longevity.

  • BP

    I was really hoping that Mini would release this car around the same time as the other F56 models. Waiting til March 2015 is not going to be an option for me. I have a lease terminating in June 2014, so looks like this will have to be off the list. Have they listed the weight for the F56 JCW yet? 231hp is not bad, if they can keep the weight down. I was really hoping for a power to weight ratio of around 11lbs per HP. This would put it in the range of older EVO/ STI territory. In order to do that the Mini would need to be about 2750lbs/242hp (definitely achievable with some tuning)

    For me the benchmark for a fast car is 10lbs per HP, anything more would be considered a quick car. My current car is 6.4 lbs per HP, so it’s very fast. I really love the Mini, but I need to be able to get closer to that magic 10lbs per HP figure in order to satisfy my needs.

    • Specs won’t be released until Detroit – January 2015.

  • writewright

    Rocketman where are you?

    • Kurtster

      ^^^what he said.

    • ulrichd

      Unfortunately there is no chassis to put it on.

  • robble

    Having had a modified JCW with much more power than this I can say it’ll easily handle quite a bit more.

  • Dr Obnxs

    Some other random thoughts on engine design trends…. Not really MINI specific but a lot of this is relevant…..

    So, the current trends in engine design are three-fold, I think. And they all are driven by increased demand for efficiency (don’t get your panties in a wad on this one… More efficiency means more of the chemical energy in the gas is used to move the car…. Use the same gas, and you go faster (power tuning), or use less gas to go just as fast as before….)

    1) Displacement reduction. If you have large displacement and aren’t running at full power. then you have horrible volumetric efficiency for the motor. This means high pumping losses and a lot of wasted energy, so it’s more efficient to a smaller engine at higher load (up to a point) than a huge engine just ticking over and not trying very hard.

    2) RPM reduction. This one doesn’t make sense at first, but bare with me…. So, for any given engine, as you clime the RPM range the gas efficiency starts to climb, but then it tanks as you get to peak power and beyond to redline. This shows up not so much in what you see when you drive, but rather in transmission design and tuning. 8 speed autos let the motor spend more time around it’s sweet spot, and you save a lot of gas by limiting the high RPM excursions past the highest efficiency point. But don’t get confused here, this doesn’t mean lower red-lines. It means that the drivetrain is designed to spend most of it’s time at or near the engine sweet spot, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t wind it out till you hit the rev limiter!

    3) Boost. And this is to counter the two implications of the above trends. If you give up both displacement and RPM, you loose a lot of power AND torque. So you throw in a turbo (displacement on demand) or a blower. Now, you have the power of the larger engine when you need it, but you don’t have the waste, friction and general poor use case of a high displacement, high power engine just wasting gas at low load low RPM use states.

    If we look at MINI, we can see the displacement game a bit (1.6 to 1.5), boost is there for sure (S and JCWs), ands eventually we’ll see a more modern auto in the car (8 speed anyone?) to get the RPM reductions (at least for the auto versions of the cars).

    A lot of the other stuff around the MINI mills has less to do with engineering than it does with corporate economics. BMW/MINI isn’t that big of a player in term of units sold, so they have to re-use engineering and multi-task product, otherwise they are at a larger competitive disadvantage. That’s why BMW did the 500cc/cyl design to make 1.5, 2 and 3? L engine displacements. Cylinder volume was probably decided because one could make all versions of motors (and motor uses) that one would need with this displacement, even if it’s not a perfect number for all engine applications. It’s close enough and it’s just too damned expensive to not make a scalable engine architecture if you are BMW.

    Sorry if this isn’t as MINI specific, but these are the current engineering trends in engine design and now all can see how MINI is moving, as is the whole industry.

    • Mihai

      Don’t you think the 1.5 engine in the i8 would have been best suited for the JCW instead of the B48 2 litre? Asking you this based on your thoughts above… I am sure the B48 JCW will be more efficient and from the stats in this article more performant, but BMW should differentiate the MINI cars from the BMW ones more than just looks.

  • bk_R56

    I’m really excited for this car. I finally drove the F56 Cooper S today. Wow what a difference from my R56. The biggest things I noticed right away were the improved road feel, and how whisper quiet the car is.

    Unfortunately I think the car is really too quiet. I’m hoping the JCW has a much more aggressive sound to it.

    I might just have to buy one of these cars. It should be a track monster. I’m hoping it gets a good brake set up!

  • Patrick Hasburgh

    I just got my first Mini — Countryman Cooper S. I have driven other Minis but I got the Countryman for the longer wheelbase as much as for the four doors and extra room; the car points much better, isn’t as twitchy… That said, I’m ordering a 2015 JCW Paceman, for me… the wife can drive the four door.