BMW’s just released the most powerful production model ever produced by its MINI brand.
The new MINI John Cooper Works Edition is the latest in the line of high performance models to carry the John Cooper Works moniker. Although, it’s not the “MINI we’ve all been waiting for” — that honour goes to gorgeous Superleggera Vision — the John Cooper is the high-performance flagship model the MINI brand could really use.
The new John Cooper edition will feature an upgraded 2.0 liter BMW twinpower turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine. This time around, horsepower has been boosted by 20, to 228 — making it the most powerful Mini Cooper yet. The result is a fun runabout capable of making the dash to 60 mph in a quick 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 153 mph. That’s puts the hot MINI squarely in the wheel house of the segment dominating Volkswagen GTI.
The new MINI had better be able to perform. The car’s namesake — John Cooper — is a legendary automotive entrepreneur and racer. He is credited with the some of the most innovative race cars of the past century — including the Formula One Championship-winning Cooper-Climax racers of the early 1950s.
The John Cooper Works MINI will also feature upgraded brakes and re-tuned suspension to boost handling capability around the twisty bits of the road. A new sports exhaust will surely added to the auditory pleasures of the driving experience.
With 49,500 cars sold through November, MINI sales are down 17.4% compared to last year. Hopefully a new flagship performance model help spur the sales. However it will have many obstacles to contend with. VW’s new Golf GTI looks very good.
That’s in addition to already strong offerings from Ford — the Focus and Fiesta ST — and Fiat’s 500 Abarth. MINI will also have to work on improving the build quality of its products, as well, after finishing dead last in JD Powers‘ 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study.
However, the ultimate goal for any high performance MINI is to recreate the magic of Monte Carlo rally-winning MINI Coopers that dominated the sport in the mid 1960s. Whether the new John Cooper Works edition can successfully evoke that performance and level of fun remains to be seen.
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