Since 2008 we’ve heard rumblings of a higher performance JCW model (in the vein of the 2006 GP) that would close out the R56’s production cycle. The rumors have always centered around more power, better aero and the JCW suspension as standard. Then over a year ago a spy photographer working for Leftlanenews captured these images that seemed to correspond with what we knew of the car. The main feature being the enormous MINI Challenge-esque rear defuser.

Fast forward to today and we see new photos courtesy of Autoblog that appear to show the same formula in an updated prototype form. The key indicators that this is the real deal are:

– Redesigned and re-profiled front grille
– The lower JCW suspension seen in the smaller wheel/tire gap
– Huge rear diffuser clearly derived from the Challenge race car.
– The more subtle and functional spoiler
– Updated front splitter seemingly taken from the Coupe

So what does all this mean? We believe we’re seeing a special edition R56 JCW that will be a limited run sometime next year. We expect more power and torque along with better aero (less lift in the year) and perhaps even a reduction in weight (a la the GP). It’s also not that hard to fathom these tweaks being applied to other JCWs based on the R56 (R58 coupe for instance) and being sold as limited editions in the coming years.

Needless to say this is what we and many of you have been waiting for. Rest assured you’ll be hearing more on this car at MF in the coming weeks and months. Until then go check out the full gallery over at