MINI’s Top Secret 300 HP All Wheel Drive Plans

The next generation Clubman and Countryman are due in 2015 and 2017 respectively, will represent major milestones for the brand. Designed to right the wrongs of previous larger MINIs, they will address concerns ranging from design to performance. Unlike the previous versions of these cars, MINI won’t be tackling these problems alone.

The genius of BMW shared UKL platform and engine strategy is becoming more evident as the months pass since the introduction of the F56. The first wave of component sharing spans everything imaginable:

  • The UKL chassis itself – a stronger and lighter chassis than what preceded it in the R56 (which itself was a modified version of the R50)
  • Advanced electronics – this has allowed the F56 to leap-frog the competition with advanced options and the industry’s best infotainment system
  • Powertrain – at launch this means a range of highly efficient 3 and 4 cylinder engines that are meant to help mini better compete with rivals. However it’s what happens after launch that is particularly interesting.

All good you say but why is MINI only getting 189hp out of a 2.0 four cylinder? The interesting thing about BMW is that they are an organization that obsessively looks at the full picture. Every metric matters – sometimes to the detriment of power figures (look at the new M4 vs its competition). However they also design and engineer for the future..

Based on sources, here’s what we know. MINI is planning several new versions of the B48 2 liter found in the current Cooper S.

In late 2014 BMW will release a 231 hp version destined for a number of products including the 2015 MINI JCW – this engine is known internally as the B48A20O0. Expect the JCW F56 to arrive to showrooms sometime in the spring of 2015.


Enter the High Output Version of the B48

Beyond the B48A20O0, we believe BMW and MINI are working on a much higher performance variant of the B48 with a target output as high as 300 hp. The engine is rumored to be destined for use in the BMW high spec versions of the X1, X2 and future FWD versions of the 1 and 2 series hitting dealers later this decade.

MINI also has plans for this engine In its larger all wheel drive UKL based vehicles – the next generation F54 Clubman and the F60 Countryman. We believe that this engine will form a the basis of a high output all-wheel drive JCW variant of both cars released as early as 2017.

While nothing has been confirmed at this time, this approach would make a lot of sense from a product and marketing perspective. MINIs are increasingly cross shopped with larger more expensive alternatives on one end. On the other are an increasingly impressive list of rivals with products designed to encroach on MINIs market.

If we see such a high performance MINI how will it be marketed? There’s no question in our mind that this would be a JCW product through and through. Having different power plants to solve for difference JCW cars makes sense when you look at how BMW M approaches its models. But then of course that begs the question, why not throw the high output 2.0L in the smallest car you have – the F56 hatch? We expect BMW and MINI won’t want to put that much power through the front wheels only and they’ve already commented to us several times that the F56 will not be available in AWD. Yet it remains an attractive idea. Even if the engine is detuned a bit it could make for one hell of a JCW model. Perhaps a GP? Keep in mind we’ve heard no rumblings of that happening but as always, watch this space.

  • Jo

    Man. Doesn’t the idea of a 300 hp f56 with AWD sound amazing? Is the next gen clubman supposed to be just a four door?

    • oldsbear

      Base price $50K?

      • mr.moneybags

        probably start in the mid thirties then after you add black headlight surrounds, heated seats, a metallic color, anthracite headliner, and auto transmission you’re pushing the higher 40s with minis atrocious ala carte price model

    • Yes. The issue is power and balance. BMW engineers aren’t keen on putting a ton of power through the front wheels. Therefore it would seem that the Clubman and Countryman are the two vehicles that will get this engine. At least for the foreseeable future.

  • Christopher Herzog

    Looking forward to more details behind the F56 JCW. I like my JCW Coupe but I’m needing more practicality.

    • Hemisedan

      I, like you are looking for more information on what the next JCW will be like too. This is nice to see that BMW is working with this motor with much higher horsepower, and with reliability, which if they are going to put in theirs, and our Mini cars, is a must. They have to live with warrantees remember. Also, with this article, it opens the door to much higher either, aftermarket or thru Mini, much greater power than the 231 that the next JCW will have. It will be interesting to see what happens, starting in March when the next factory JCW begins.

  • r.burns

    “the industry’s best infotainment system” Not really…. Carplay ? Mirrorlink ? well, maybe next generation 😆

  • Magnus

    When can we expect higher output versions of the 1.5 3 cyl petrol?

    • Head Honcho

      Could be just like the subaru WRX where the lighter smaller 2.0 turbo handled better than the larger 2.5.

      • barry

        Ya, “bigger is better’ hardly applies to MINI.

        • MINI’sR’US

          RIGHT!!!! I would much rather have had a N18 in the F56 than the B48. It just doesn’t have the same pep, sound, or even city fuel economy. I’m really glad I didn’t wait for the F56 S or else I would’ve been crushed with disappointment for not getting my 2012 S Hatch 6MT.

        • Pete Mitchell

          How can you talk like that about an F56 when you own an R56? Have you done more than test drive one or have you not made it past the rant about how ugly the car is when talking with your motoring advisor? Your critisizm of the car is not constructive and just like your comment below, you will get torn apart by the experts at every opportunity. You are “that guy”.

        • BeHonest

          You’re one that pre-ordered without driving. You have 0 credibility.

        • Mete Pitchell

          it’s spelled criticism, boss

  • MINI’sR’US

    I really wish they would just give us the i8’s tune of the B38 for the S – it could be slightly detuned, but at least 200hp. The lighter weight, sound, and uniquness alone make the B48 seem old. Then, once they have the powertrain figured out, they have got to work on the look of the new face of MINI. They DO NOT need to have a corporate face that incorporates the fishmouth and black plastic trim across the front on every model. Lexus has shown that a bad design on one car is a bad design on any car. PLEASE MINI, get rid of the fishmouth, go back to the classy, timeless look of the R5x’s and bring back the driver-centric nature. We don’t want “MINI-BMW’s”, we want MINI’s!

    • r.burns

      Please say “I” instead of “we”, as a Mini fan i think about the opposite of what you think

      • percentile

        yeah but you are in the minority

        • fishbert

          Don’t confuse loud with majority.

        • This. 100% this.

        • loudvoice

          people decide to voice their unhappiness when things aren’t going the way they like. when people are happy, they dont take to the internet to talk about it .

          so tell me, did the r56 or r53 ever have such complaints about the design?? I know the r56 got some backlash but it was nowhere near this bad.

          louder than ever complaints = someone messed up somewhere and someone messed up bad

        • Actually, the R56 got lots of backlash. More, actually, and from more people. A handful of consistent commenters here (many posting multiple times under different names) have made a lot of noise about the F56, but the sheer volume of backlash for the R56 was much larger. The Clubman also got a very vitriolic reaction when it was even first teased. So did the Countryman. So did the Paceman. Every time MINI does something new, there’s a chorus of hand-wringing — a choir of outrage all singing the same, tired old song.

        • BeHonest

          You are kidding me! Have you checked the mini owner forums! This is a super small, Pro-BMW publication read by .0025% of MINI owners in the US. THE OVERALL PERCEPTION HAS BEEN OVERWHELMINGLY NEGATIVE.

        • I’m referring to comments here on MotoringFile, which is what the original comment was asking about. There’s been negative comments on message boards? Weird. Message boards are typically so positive.

        • nam

          on northamericanmotoring there is already a 4 page long thread about the reliability or lack thereof of the f56. maybe you should check out the worlds largest mini forum sometime in between your time of moderating comments here.

        • BeHonest

          I’m talking about in the entire world where opinions actually matter. Nobody really liked the new look. All of the American magazines have been disappointed in the handling, power delivery, sound, and totally uncompetitive nature of the F56. If the F56 was truly fabulous, it would’ve smoked it’s Fiesta ST, Civic Si, GTI, or Focus ST rivals. You can’t tell me in the US those 4 vehicles are not competition for one another. I have yet to see one comparison test that the F56 has won

        • This comment section has become filled with you using different names while expressing the exact same thing. We’ve warned you about this in the past and specifically said that your comments will be deleted if you do this. We’re keeping this comment and the other one with the same name. All others are now deleted.

          If you want to express a single opinion over and over and over again, do it with one name or perhaps try not hiding behind the internet and use your real name.

        • BeHonest

          Y’all are tripping. A lot of people use the name field as a title to their post – since they are guest users – duh. You get so upset that not everyone is drinking the BMW kool-aid.

        • Nope – just you.

      • MINI’sR’US

        so, you don’t want a MINI you want a BMW? Then why not go buy a BMW and leave the MINI’s for the ones that want a great, fun, loud, firm, fun, exciting, handsome vehicle.

    • It’sChulle

      200hp JCW Cooper? I’m in.

      • carcrazed

        oh, dear, you are late to the party, check out the articles here and you would know it’s expected to have 230hp, the S has almost 200 already, silly goose

    • Mills

      I’d like that too. A 200hp 3cyl JCW, maybe call it a JCW Junior, like the old Alfa Romeo GT Juniors that had the smaller engine compared to the regular GTV. A bit slower, a bit louder, but with more personality than a regular S or JCW.

  • oldsbear

    “It’s” means “it is.” It’s okay to be grammatically correct.

  • fishbert

    “Error establishing a database connection”

    You guys ever going to fix that for good?

  • Jon

    I will be shopping for a new car soon. Need something bigger than my R53, and that has 4 doors. I’m sorry, but the new 4-door F56 is just really ugly. I am interested in the upcoming Clubman, especially with AWD and a powerful engine, but really can’t wait to see what it looks like without all that swirly vinyl camo all over it. Hope you guys can leak a few images out to us soon, or I may have to jump ship to another brand…

    • Hemisedan

      I’m in the same boat as you, but I have a 2013 roadster JCW. I need a bit more space, but no 4-doors, they just don’t appeal to me. I’ve seen and driven the new F56 and it drives nice, seems very much like my 2010 JCW hatch, except for power. AWD would be nice, if it didn’t add about 500 lbs to it, that kind of defeats the purpose in performance. I kind of wish that they’d do some availability of the 3 cylinder, and put that 231 hp there. But, that’s probably close to the max on that motor.

      As for the JCW coming, I’d like to see more pictures of that without all the red tape. I’m with some about the fake scoops and vents. If you’re going to have an extra vent for the radiator or brakes, do it on both sides. I never had an idea what the rear stuff around the rear fog lights was for on the JCW packages either.

  • CarCrazed

    I have always wanted a high performance AWD vehicle and have a 13 Paceman S ALL4 manual that I enjoy but wish it had the newer interior and upgraded motor/transmission, so I can’t wait for the future re-designs. I think the Clubman may eat into A4 and 3 Series wagon sales if it looks as good as the rendering and offers similar performance, I would certainly cross shop them. The next gen Paceman/Countryman will be unstoppable I bet, go MINI, just hurry!

    • JIIN

      Absolutely agree. MINI should do the same thing as Mercedes is doing with its AMG brand, add it to most models to draw in affluent users from different segments of the market. Currently the JCW brand is seriously neglected!! In planning for that though, MINI needs to add much more “sport seriousness” in to the JCW models – and hopefully leave some of the “design for the sake of design” behind. If you want to add cooling vents in the design, then you add it because it should be there to serve a purpose. Fake vents is something MINI should raise above (because that is basically what “low market” producers like KIA, Hyundai+++ make use of) which serves no purpose in driving dynamics and is just pointless. More power for the capable 4 wd chassis cars (Paceman, Countryman and the new Clubman), (much) higher interior build quality (and again – pls scrap the interior fakes!!!!!). If you want to display carbon inlays somewhere – offer it as an option (but offer the true stuff!!!!), higher quality dynamics components available (again as option if not standard, but at least somewhere) like brake upgrades, high quality wheels to reduce unsprung weight, driver seat alternatives (incl. driver seats with more adjustments) etc. It is just too bad that Mercedes with the AMG brand (a brilliant strategic move by Mercedes!!, and will most likely sell like …..) is way ahead of the rest of the bunch.