Rumor: 300 HP JCW to Be Automatic Only

The highly anticipated 300 hp JCW, MINI’s most powerful vehicle ever, might be automatic only. This news comes from a single but well trusted source familiar with MINI’s future product plans – so file this under rumor for now. Why automatic only and when will it hit dealer lots? Read on.

In 2014 we reported on MINI’s plans for a 300 hp JCW Clubman. It looks like that plan is about to be realized.

We’ve been reporting (for almost for years) about MINI (and BMW) working on a B48 four cylinder with a dramatic power increase. 300 hp is the output we expect to see from the BMW X1 35i and the X2 35i in late 2018. Based on sources we expect that engine to be offered in either a JCW Clubman and/or Countryman sometime during 2019.

While parts sharing with BMW has allowed MINI to offering higher quality components it also can restrict what’s on the table for MINI to offer. In this case it would seem that BMW cannot make the case for a manual in their own cars and MINI’s proposed manual take-rate wouldn’t overcome that.

Our sources told us three years ago this engine was coming and MINI would see a version of it. Now we’re hearing that the track testing program has begun and we’ll be seeing much more of this hot Clubman at the Ring all next year. The end result will be an engine capable of WELL OVER 300 hp but likely pegged to that figure. Sources tell us that the plan launch this new engine in conjunction with a higher performance JCW line offered in both Clubman and Countryman models. With power and torque dramatically increased, the aim is for these to be the first MINIs to hit 60 mph in under 5 second.

This coupled with rumored 248 hp versions of the F56 JCW Hatch will further enhance the sub brands performance credibility.

We likely won’t see this hot version of the Clubman and Countryman (or revised JCW hatch) for another 12 to 18 months based on what we know. This should coincide with the LCI for both models which means 2018 to early 2019.

  • Jan Wojcik

    It would be logical to use the same powertrain in both the X1 and the JCW to save development and certification costs. Similar process that ruled out a manual transmission in the TT-RS… 8-(

  • dez

    That video sure does sound like a manual… maybe there is still hope?

    • I thought that too originally but then there’s that first shift.

      • dez

        yeah, you’re right that one did sound more auto. I’m still crossing my fingers.

  • mike

    Seriously? Talk about losing street cred among enthusiasts.. But then again, Mini hasn’t thought about enthusiasts in a few years. Yet another reason not to buy a new Mini.

    Thats ok, I just picked up my 6th R53. This one is a 30k mile JCW R53 in absolutely showroom, mint condition. Yes, they’re still out there.. and every year they get cheaper and cheaper. This one was only $8k.

    If I hear one more millennial tell me that autos are faster I’m going to lose my mind. Faster does not equal more fun. If a manual was only offered in base Mini trim and JCW was auto, I would gladly take the base, hypothetically speaking.

    • Kevin Bartlett

      Wow, your a better shopper than I am. I picked up an 80k JCW that needs some love recently, I paid less but will pay more getting it into proper shape again. You’ll have to share your shopping tips!

      • mike

        I just did that last year.. I went the cheap route (saved a couple thousand) for a JCW R52 with higher miles.. I ended up replacing the clutch and about a twenty other rubber bushings for around $2500. I could never get it to handle right and it was aging poorly. I sold it for about what I bought it for a year later and found this gem.

        I’m kind of a nut when it comes to car buying. I search the usual places: (sign up for updates),, Autotrader, craigslist, eBay, and A really great resource is it searches craigslist nationwide as well as, ebay, etc.. You have to be willing to travel it seems, unless you get very lucky. Get creative with search terms (sidewalk, JCW, checkmate, last of the supercharged, etc..)

        Best bet is to buy from a Mini dealership. They only sell well cared for R53s, and go through them thoroughly before selling. There is zero risk. This allows you to buy one over the phone. You most likely will have to fly and drive it back. They fedex you paperwork, its very easy. I highly recommend Mall of Mini in Georgia btw. Great folks!

  • Kevin Bartlett

    This is not surprising…..I don’t know if there will be manual cars to look forward to soon. I do, however, have to say that an Automatic box is better paired with today’s turbo power cars. But even as that is the case I’d rather drive a car with a clutch operated by my left foot.


    That awd jcw with 300 hp will be a good competitor to golf r I bet. Almost same exact size

  • LibertyIsBetter

    I would be cautious. BMW seems to detune the same engines used by Mini. BMW being the premium brand they use lower hp tuning for the cheaper brand. They should do it given the pricing of Mini’s. The larger X1 frame and weight of the Clubmans and Countryman’s can handle 300hp. The JCW models should warrant the hp.

  • recursiveiterator

    I can now confirm the F54 JCW and F60 JCW moving to the same powertrain as X2 M35i (to be unveiled in a few months) for 2020 model year. The rumor about the transmission is true: a sport automatic is the only thing BMW will pair the 300hp B48 with.