“While the supercharged version of the Mini, the Cooper S, is adequately powerful, it is far from the rip-snorter many expected. If 163 horsepower are available from the stock version, they must be ponies rather than thoroughbreds. BMW claims a 0-to-60 time in the low 7 seconds for the Cooper S, but I have never been able to duplicate it.

The John Cooper Works edition of the same car suffers no such paucity, even though the West Sussex-based tuning garage claims only a 37-hp increase from its extensive tuning kit and an equally modest 22 extra pound-feet of torque. Yet it feels like much more. Throw on the Work's flowed cylinder head, larger-capacity supercharger and freer-flowing exhaust system and the Cooper S is transformed. What was once a plaything is now a serious sports car. Acceleration that was once Camrylike is now more akin to that of Subaru's WRX. Michael Cooper claims 6.7 seconds for his car's 0-to-100-km/h (62.5 mph) time, but the difference between his version and the factory S feels livelier than the numbers may suggest.”

Wow – I can't believe the NY Times is calling the MCS “Camrylike” in it's acceleration. I'm sure this author's mailbox will be full of emails from irate MCS owners by the afternoon…

“Most apparent is the increase in low-end torque. Where the stock version needs 4,500 rpm before opening its eyes, the tuned version pulls from as low as 3,000 rpm. The Works edition produces more torque from 2,500 rpm all the way to 6,750 than the stock S does at 4,000 rpm. This means that unlike the original, which seems to run out of steam at the top of third gear, the Works edition still pulls hard in fifth; only the extra-tall sixth cog is able to blunt the invigorated 1.6-liter four's grunt.

In fact, the John Cooper Works Mini is one of those rare cars that has “enough” power. Any more might tax the chassis just a bit too much. As it is, the standard front 205/45R17 run-flat radial tires (Michelin or Dunlop) are working overtime trying to contain all that torque. And, because the Works edition arrives at corners carrying much more speed, any more power and the brakes would be overwhelmed.”

(NY Times)

Despite the MCS accerlation bashing overall it's a solid article that gives some great details about this package. You can find the entire article here. Official US pricing will be released next week at the NY Auto Show.