The 230 HP 2016 JCW Takes Shape

The 2016 JCW was recently spotted by a reader undergoing hot weather testing in the US. Through his time hands-on with the car we were able to gather a few new details on the car. The test mule (which you’ll surely see photos of around the web soon) is almost identical to the NAIAS concept car we saw this past January. However there are a few key differences and interesting additions worth pointing out.

  • Gone are the fog lights and in place extra cooling. The right side is blank but the left side clearly leads to an additional radiator required by the 230hp four cylinder.
  • The test mule didn’t have the rear defuser. Could this be something MINI is saving for the full reveal or saving for another more extreme model?
  • Gone are the subtle plastic fender flaps that gave the concept a slightly more aggressive look. We’re hoping they reappear in production form.
  • The car is clearly lower with a seemingly wider track
  • The brakes look to be iterations of the previous JCW four piston design and not the brakes from the R56 GP
  • The production car has the prototypes flared side sills

Those are the new details. Now here’s a recap of what we know.

The Power

The 2015 JCW is currently undergoing hot-weather testing in Death Valley California. 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. Eventually derivatives will find they’re way almost all BMW products.

Has we’ve been reporting for seven months now, we expect around 230 hp and torque over 255 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 fall.

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.

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.

  • R56Splz

    Torque is going to be 258lb-ft per the 225i AT’s release. I can’t imagine they wouldn’t simply use that figure for the JCW, as the VW GTI, Audi A3, and Focus ST put out that number or more.

  • LSDmuyImportante

    I’m also hoping for an LSD as a standard feature. The JCW NEEDS one to even be competitve with the Golf R, GTI, Focus RS, and it’s other EU and JDM rivals.

    • r.burns

      It’s not the same size. The Fiesta ST which is, doesn’t have any lsd : it does not prevent Fiesta to be very effective…

      • LSDmuyImportante

        Yes, it is not the same size as the Focus RS, and Golf R, but it is gunning for the same owners. The major issue with the previous JCW’s were it’s lack of an LSD. Does a Fiesta ST put out anywhere close to 230HP or 258lb-ft, or cost $30,000 (in base form)? I don’t think so. The Cooper S is the Fiesta ST’s direct rival, and the Fiesta is a much better driver’s car. However, in it’s price range, there are also much better choices such as the GTI, Focus ST, and even the WRX. For the JCW to be taken seriously, it is going to need a lot more than just a boost in power, and slightly tweaked suspension like the last one. It definitiely needs the LSD to be competitive against it’s FWD and AWD rivals.

        • r.burns

          You judge a car that is not even born. Funny. Buy an intercooler to cool your brain…

        • CutTheBS

          Stop making ludicrous statements for once. You’re so obsessed you can’t even admit that there is a huge flaw in a FWD “performance” car that’s cost is extremely high, that doesn’t have an LSD.

        • Duh

          Stop making ridiculous statements. The JCW needs an LSD. Simple as that. Even a non-R GTI has one available, and a lowly Civic Si comes standard with one. A $30-40K JCW shouldn’t even come off the factory line without one standard.

        • r.burns

          Wrong, the GTI has an electro-hydraulic one The LSD is a just remedy, when suspensions show their limit. Number of sport cars ! have got very good sport suspensions, and don’t need any lsd (plus it weighs more…)

        • Duh

          It’s a locking differential. Not as simple as a typical Torsen or Viscous, but it does in principal work towards the same goal. It is much more than just a brake based system. It is a limited slip diff. These so called sports cars that don’t need an LSD, I would love to know of. Yes, certain RWD cars may not be as adversely affected by not having one, but name any ultimate front wheel drive car that doesn’t have one and wouldn’t benefit from one. Like usual, I’m sure you will be unable to.

        • r.burns

          The Mini John Cooper Works GP2

        • Duh

          “The optional (for Europe, likely for us, too) Performance package adds upgraded brakes sized similarly to those on the last-generation Golf R, 10 hp more (from revised engine controls), and of chief importance: an electronically controlled mechanical limited-slip differential. The Performance package gives the GTI otherworldly traction—think halfway between a regular front-wheel-drive car and an all-wheel-drive car—in the dry at least. It rockets out of corners with no drama, no wheelspin, and (here’s the most impressive part) no torque steer. None. And yet the steering stillmanages to have some feel. Wow.”

          • Road and Track, 2013
        • Duh

          ” A sport-oriented six-speed manual transmission sends power to a helical-type limited-slip differential (LSD). The LSD helps the Civic Si accelerate powerfully and confidently when exiting corners as both wheels can deliver more equal torque distribution to the road compared to a conventional open-type differential.”

          • Honda Motor Co. Official Press Release, 2012

          You really can’t argue that any true performance fwd car doesn’t need an LSD. It’s weight is in the single digit lbs. What it does to the traction, and overall dynamics of a car is beyond arguing about. It transforms your typical understeering, nose heavy fwd’er, into a machine that can pull itself into the inside line of an on ramp, track, or in slick conditions.

        • r.burns

          It weighs a lot more than you think. It costs a lot more when you have to replace clutch.

  • MarkC

    Any chance it won’t be what we see above? The design is so awful.

  • “Gone are the fog lights…” What fog lights?

    • The ones currently standard in the MCS

      • Thanks Gabe – thought you were referring to the pic above and that the test mule was different again…

  • Kevin Bartlett

    I don’t get it….. BMW group already has a 2.0 liter motor that makes 240 hp (not sure about torque numbers) can it not be adapted for FWD? Maybe this motor is more fuel efficient or lighter or well something. Hopefully Gabe can explain, there must be a reason. From what I’ve read the MCS motor runs very low boost so I am imagining some tuners out there are going to put together packages that eclipse the JCW power ratings, whether they will be very refined is a good question since all the reviews I’ve read are positive about one thing and that is the engine is a gem.

    • suchadissapointment

      The MCS probably needs revised internals to safely run high boost. According to BMS, the MCS can only safely run 11-12psi without a complete overhaul of stock parts. The B38 in the i8 uses 22psi. I would’ve much rather have seen the i8 spec B38 in the MCS than the low-pressure B48.

    • Years before the F56 was announced, BMW announced the design of a new common inline engine architecture across engines of varying cylinders. The 500cc per cylinder architecture would be applicable for longitudinal (RWD) or transversely (FWD) mounted applications. The shared parts and engineering costs will increase performance and efficiency. For example in the current BMW 3-series, the N55 straight six and the N20 four cylinder have little in common either in parts or engineering and were designed for longitudinal installations. Although the N20 has only seen the light of day for a few short years, it and the N55 are already slated to be replaced with latest new-generation platform:

      The new platform has officially spawned the B38 three cylinder petrol, B37 three cylinder diesel, B48 four cylinder petrol, B47 four cylinder diesel and soon to be announced B58 six-cylinder petrol as just reported on BimmerFile in addition to other online publications:

      You are correct that boost is relatively low and thus there is potential for greater tuning either in-house or by tuners. For example, the B38 three cylinder in the Cooper makes 134hp while the B38 in the BMW i8 makes nearly 100hp more at 228hp (more even than the four cylinder B48 in the Cooper S tune). A lot to get excited about!

  • Iain Brown

    Fog lights gone… Meh, don’t use them that much now so no loss there. 231HP. Check 260lb-ft Torque. Check.

    Wanted – Make the Speedo and Rev Counter separate, or change the focus of the current one to be the Rev Counter with the Speedo on the side. LSD would be nice, but make it an option. Lighter weight materials option. Real carbon fibre roof and bonnet option. MSC sport seats are a VAST improvement on the current R56/58 versions, but I’d like to see special, carbon fibre seats an option.

    That’s it for now. I am sure I’ll think of more.

  • Jordan

    You guys should link the spy shots!

  • oldsbear

    It would be nice to see some simple, powerful-yet-restrained elegance in the design, instead of the ridiculous running shoe glitz. Have the focus groups considered that approach?

  • KPP

    I’ve come to the very sad realization, after 2 years of saving up mondo sums of money for this car, and really really wanting a JCW since ’09, that I cannot not accept that front end. I convinced myself when I first saw it that It’ll take some time to get used to. That didn’t happen and the more I look at it, the more disgusted I get. It is sooooo bad.

    What a departure from the much more simplistic and elegant lines of the previous generations. I really would love to know who signed off on that garbage on the front. What a mess. The rest of the car is cool, sans red stickers. and I am over the lengthy overhang. The interiors of these new rides are nothing short of impressive and I’m sure this thing will be a little monster on the road, so it seems absurd to think that one piece of the entire design is keeping me from buying this thing, but that is how much it bothers me. Its so ugly now, so I cant imagine what it will look like in 5 or 10 years. It will definitely not age well as this is not a timeless design in the least.

    Thanks for letting me vent.

    • JordanDennis

      I am a lot like you, I’ve been saving for about 3 years for a JCW, i know its not the best use of my money but I need it. You’re Absolutely right, every other aspect of this car is fantastic. but when I fist saw that front end I was crushed. Its since grown on be but I’d be lying if I said I liked it as much as last year’s. I just hope some after market body kits might become available.

      Also, seeing them in real life was alot better than the photos, for me at least. if you havent check them out at a dealer, the front end doesnt seem to jet out as much in person.

      • r.burns

        It is one (of many) pernicious effects of the internet.

        Most of people tend to apprehend life, only through the prism of a screen.

        The feeling “in real life” is often very different…

        • KPP

          For me, the feeling in real life didn’t change, at least regarding the F56 Cooper S aesthetic. I agree, that it is marginally better in real life (referring to the front end again) but nowhere near enough for me to want to buy it. It looked ok in dark colors and at certain angles but still, that overdone front end is an inherently bad design for a MINI, regardless of viewing it in person or on a monitor. I have not seen the new JCW in the flesh as of yet, but I’m doubtful that I will feel differently when I do.

      • PleaseStopItMINI

        I felt like you guys. I was really hoping the F56 was going to be the cream of the crop when it came to the hot hatch arena, but instead we’ve gotten a lukewarm, bloated, disguisting looking roller skate on wheels, that doesn’t have much more performance cred than your average joe’s Corolla.

    • Bob E

      Front end is truly awful- incredibly busy. I will keep my 2010 JCW. The design department at MINI does not understand the elegant simplicity of the previous generations.

      • JeffH

        The ones who did the concept cars understood, but somehow it is drastically different on the production version, and no one can say why. Even the Rockman did not have a bad bumper design.

      • Ughhhhh…

        It’s like the used swiss cheese as the inspiration for the F5x design language. The gaping hole, swiss cheesish air inlets, and ridiculously oversized taillights just look ridiculous. I’m not happy with this at all.

    • rhawth99

      You can thank everyone who went gaga over the Rocketman as the R56 front-end borrows heavily from that one. Many of the front-end design features for the F56 look like they came from the Rocektman. I agree that the front-end bumper area and gaping fish mouth look bad even in the flesh.

      • nah

        i dont agree with this at all

  • Bob E

    Permit me to vent a bit in response to the general direction of Mini design and the JCW in particular (I own a 2010). What I am looking for in future JCW’s and apparently unlikely to receive is more of a driver’s car, with understated simplicity and more rugged and substantial features. No need to flaunt the car’s prowess with strange vents, flares, and visual overkill (in this regard, I should have kept my 2006 Mini). I also see an unfortunate shift to digital fluff in an era when leading designers are finally rediscovering the attraction of the analog. You can see this in watch design, bicycle design, and even in the recent infatuation with vinyl records and the appreciation of using traditional turntables. My ideal Mini would return to the simplicity of the instrumentation of the 2006 and previous years with no digital fluff, with instruments optimized for driving (new half-round tach leaves much to be desired). No need for amusement park animated light rings, or the dangerous distractions of the Mini “infotainment” system (when I drive my Mini, I prefer to get away from digital media for a while). Ergonomics (why such an uncomfortable design for the new shift knob?) and the enhancement of JCW Mini character (concentrate on steering and suspension) should be the main priorities, even at risk of losing some comfort.

  • AntiFishMouthDevice

    So, according to you (MF), and MINI, the longer schnoz is supposedly to create a safer car, but according to NHTSA, the new for 2014 F56 only received a 4-star in every category. Rollover used to be 5-star as well, and it’s not even including the new slight offset test. Pretty disappointing when the old car received 5-stars in most categories.

    • EU pedestrian impact standards, not crash standards.

    • In 2011, NHTSA revised it’s testing methods to be more stringent and the R56 Cooper or Cooper S was never tested with the new revised standards except for the rollover category. Therefore it is impossible to make this comparison. Regarding rollover stars, when looking at the more precise measurement of actual risk of rollover, the difference of chance of rolling over in a F56 versus R56 is merely 1% and without knowing specifications of the test cars (sports package versus not, summer versus all-season tires, etc) this is statistically nearly the same.

  • m8o

    About time. Too late for me. I got a V60 Polestar on order. Needed more space. Wanted more power with extreme handling. Would have loved a Paceman or new Clubman w/these specs. Trading in the ’09 JCW to help make it happen. If the Polestar doest live up to expectations great to see Mini may finally be able to give me the space + handling + power/weight I desire.

    • Love the Rebel Blue of the Polestars and the Öhlins shocks and suspension tuning should make an entertaining ride. Also I need not even mention those spectacular benchmark Volvo seats… Hope you like it, but if not maybe there will be an F5x JCW in the future for you.

  • GP2

    The B in the middle of the designation stands for rwd mounted gas engine.

  • jcw

    I know it will be lighter, but lets hope the performance is a lot better than the 6.6 seconds it takes the 2AT to get to 60 in with the same engine. At least would like an improvement over the current JCW since the current S offers no improvement across the range to a LCI R56.

  • Andy Newton

    I’m glad I bought the 2014 JCW Coupe. I’ll be interested to see how this bigger engine shakes out, but needing another radiator? That may not go over too well in Arizona lol.

    • BMW over-engineers their high performance turbos in a number of ways – one of them is cooling. The goal is allow an M car (or now new JCW) to spend all day at the track in extreme weather (i.e. Arizona) and not have any cooling issues. They have a history of adding one or sometimes two additional radiators to help to do this. Technically they don’t have to but given that so many people will track these cars they believe its a necessity.

      Given that the 1.6L was never a full BMW engine it never had this level of engineering and developed and thus didn’t see advancements like this.