Since there were so many questions on our Factory JCW story published a few days ago, we thought it appropriate to break a few out and answer them in a separate post for an easier read. Each question was pulled from either the comments section of the original story or from emails sent in via the contact form.
So let’s get started…
Q: Any idea on pricing?
A: We believe pricing will be a bit higher than the previous factory JCW kit. However it’s important to note that this car will be marketed as a completely separate model called the John Cooper Works Cooper S (John Cooper Works Clubman for the R55) and will be more complete in its upgrades than the R53 JCW.
Q: However, no rear diffuser or front splitter? I thought that was going to be on the 09 JCW?
A: The Challenge diffuser may show up in the JCW catalog at some point but to my knowledge it was never intended for the factory JCW.
Q: I assume no revisions to exterior styling, any of the JCW interior goodies or JCW suspension?
A:Nothing more than is mentioned in the article and no the JCW suspension doesn’t come as standard. That will remain a dealer installed (and essential in our book) option for the near future.
Q: So Gabe, given the upgrades you mentioned, are you going to sell your JCW (Stage I) to move the factory JCW? I think it all sounds great but it is way too expensive
A: I bought my car knowing that this was coming and knowing that it was going to be pricey. Therefore I decided to spend money on a few other things, JCW suspension, JCW aero-kit, sticky tires and a really sweet interior including Nav etc. For my needs, the car I own is probably the better choice because I was able to get quite a few more options for what would have been similar money spent on the factory JCW. Of course this is just personal preference and I’m sure many will have very different wants/needs.
Q: Any rumors on whether we’ll be able to purchase these wheels for non-JCW cars (like with the current ones)?
A: I don’t have specific information on this but I wouldn’t be surprised if they are somewhat exclusive to the new factory JCW car. However there will be other JCW wheels coming in ’08.
Q: Be interesting to see how this is priced. Would have liked to have seen the suspension and rear diffuser included as wellÃ¢â‚¬â€œI’m still not sure this is a huge upgrade over the stage I. It’ll be interesting to see a comparison of the two on the track. When I see the output numbers, especially in comparison to the Stage I, I wonder if the MINI has kind of hit its maximum performance in it current configurationÃ¢â‚¬â€œyou probably can’t get too much more torque on this car and still have it be controllable.
A: I think that’s a valid point. However while the current dealer installed kit has almost all the torque of the factory car, it won’t have the power. And in the end it won’t be quite as complete a car in terms of upgrades. Of course that all changes when you consider suspension choices. Consider the fact that you could have an MCS with the Dealer installed JCW Engine Kit and the Suspension kit for probably less money than the base factory JCW car and the choice might become a little tougher for some potential owners. I would bet the car with the JCW Suspension kit would be the faster (and likely) more fun at most tracks.
Q: Does anyone have any info on the wheel weight?
A: They are reportedly around the weight of the GP wheel weight which was just under 19lbs. It’s also worth noting that MINI used the GP wheels on the test mule around the ‘Ring. I would consider that a good indication that they are around the same weight.
Q: Will the JCW aerokit/rear wing be included?
A: They will not but you can pick both up as an accessory.
Q: Although the brakes are looking fantastic on paper, is there any way to get air to them? I was hoping for air ducts to go along with the brakes, but I see fog lights on the picture.
A: Good eye and unfortunately there will be no brakes ducts like almost every BMW model has. If you want to see some working ducts, check out the JCW Challenge Race-car photos we recently ran on MF. I would guess the larger brakes will be more effective at reducing fade on the track rather than reducing stopping distance.
Q: It does confirm the topic that has been raised in the Woofcast and on the Motoringfile several times too. Many times there were questions about how they would deal with higher power and greater torque so seeing the upgraded clutch and transmission is a really good step.
A: It’s an essential step when you consider longevity of the components. MINI determined that the current transmission and clutch would not last 100,000 miles with extra power of the factory JCW modifications.
Q: torque only 200lbs? my r56 dynoed 237 lbs at the wheels with $1700 in mods (203hp atw). why are they so reserved?
A: MINI is very concerned about drivability and long-term (100K +) sustainability of each component so they didn’t push things as far as they conceivably could have. And keep in mind they’re using an upgraded transmission and clutch and they still didn’t want to push the torque much higher than 200ft lbs.
Q: So will the Factory JCW be available from the first R57’s. I want to know as I am ordering as soon as I can, but I want this JCW kit too.
A: We don’t know but we would assume there will be some type of delay until it’s available.
Q: Gabe, will getting factory JCW require any other options packages, as it did on the R53? The addition of the dubiously named “Sport” package took the effective price of the JCW factory option to nearly $8k, which was just silly on top of a $21k car, imo.
A: That will most likely be a decision each market makes. That said it would make more sense for MINI USA to require the sport package this time around for the JCW car due to the suspension upgrade it now has.
Q: Any word on the LSD, Gabe? Or about torque steer problems. With that much HP/Torque on tap, I’d imagine that might be a concern.
A: LSD will be an option on the new factory JCW to our knowledge. Torque steer will undoubtedly be something do deal with considering the torque.
Q: regarding the exhaust sound: think we’ll get the proper burble-pop, back? & maybe black bezel xenons?
A: The car will sound more aggressive but it’s unclear if the burble will be back. Black bezels – not going to happen with this car.
Q: So the factory JCW kit will not include any suspension or steering upgrades?
A: It will not. However MINI will surely will point would be customers to the JCW catalog for further refinement, the JCW Suspension being the key option there.
Q: I thought the JCW stage II was going to be aimed more toward performance overall, rather than just engineÃ¢â‚¬â€œwhat I was hoping for was a car that was pretty much ready for street or track with no modification. That’s not the case; while a great car (and I still may end up with oneÃ¢â‚¬â€œeither that or a 135i), its going to need a little moreÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
A: Originally we had heard MINI was considering this. However it appears what they’ve done is give the consumer more of a blank slate to modify how they seem fit. So that means if a consumer really wants the fastest MINI out there but due to commute, roads, bad back etc. must have a softer suspension, they can get it. Likewise for someone who doesn’t want to be forced to buy the sport suspension because they plan to upgrade to the JCW suspension (or something from the aftermarket), they can do that without being forced to buy something they don’t want.
I’d personally rather see it included (and force people to take the JCW for what it is) but in their defense this rational does seems customer focused.
Q: With that much HP/Torque on tap, I’d imagine torque steer might be a concern.
A: That’s certainly one of the reasons the torque figure hasn’t moved much from the dealer installed JCW engine kit.
Q: I bet JCW falls under the same faults as what the japanese mfgs do (STI, MUGEN, NISMO). BMW Germany owns JCW, and BMW Germany owns BMW NA, which has licensing rights to Mini USA, which uses the JCW name. Also, I’m sure BMW NA also claimed sole rights for the JCW name in North America. As an entity, they are all under one roof. But when it comes to the accounting, they are all separate entities. Therefore, everyone associated with the JCW name will have to pay licensing fees accordingly because everyone wants a piece of the pie. Mini will have to pay BMW NA a fee per JCW branded item, and BMW NA will have to pay BMW Germany fees as well.
A: This is not correct. BMW owns rights to the John Cooper Works brand worldwide as of January 2007 when they bought it from Mike Cooper.
Q: I sure hope we get this power in the R60! But, with a beefed up Automatic Tranny and F&R LSD.
A: This kit will not be available with the automatic transmission in the foreseeable future. We haven’t heard if MINI will offer it in the R60.
Q: okÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ im slightly confused, this is all factory stuffÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ but is it possible to get the factory components on a currently R56 (aka the one i own)??? for instanceÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ i want the most out of my miniÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ and i want to stay as factory oriented as possibleÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ can i get those parts on my mini????
A: None of the factory JCW components will be officially retro-fittable save for the new JCW brake kit due later this year. However we wouldn’t be surprised to see the new JCW cat-back exhaust find it’s way to stock MCS’s through some crafty owners.
Q: Is the JCW Mini coming to the US, or will it be a Euro-only model?
A: It’ll be available worldwide this summer.
Q: I wonder why the recaros aren’t available here. I don’t buy the airbag excuse as you can get them(or a reasonable copy) in the Honda Civic SI.
A: The Recaro’s that are used by MINI (and other manufacturers) don’t have the passenger side airbag sensor built into them that is mandatory for the US market. It has nothing to do with side airbags. Honda uses a different Recaro seat design that reportedly doesn’t work with the MINI. I’ve personally been on a quest to understand this issue for years and I now believe the fault (if you can call it that) is actually with the OE suppliers like Recaro for not designing the sensor into the passenger side seat years ago when they created this latest generation of seats. While it wasn’t technically needed then, the 2005 regulation should have been known about years in advance.
Q (sorta): If you compare the R53 JCW kit at $6000 for 40HP and brakes and LSD to R56 stage One – $2500 for 17hp this is a total bargain. 40-50hp, brakes, LSD, steering wheel, short shifter, upgraded clutch, 18″wheels, for $7000 k not to mention this thing will blow the doors off the GP I’d say they did it right.
A: Our opinion? Yes and no. First to clarify, the factory JCW car will not come with LSD or steering wheel. Now to the question, the JCW will offer around 25hp more then the dealer installed JCW engine kit for an estimated (and this is purely an estimate) $5000 more. Personally I’d rather spend that $5000 on the JCW suspension, JCW aero-kit and maybe that new JCW brake kit coming later this year. To me that would be a much more well-rounded track car than a bone stock factory JCW MCS.
Of course this reasoning doesn’t work for everyone since quite a few of us have different needs for our MINIs.
Q: If this will be a separate model, what will it be called?
A: John Cooper Works Cooper S and (for the Clubman) the John Cooper Works Clubman.