2015 MINI Cooper Research Click to hide
With the largest engine it has ever featured—a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder—under the hood of the just-debuted 2015 Mini Cooper S, how could Mini possibly follow up?
It stands to reason very easily, believe it or not. Rather than sourcing an engine from outside of BMW—the first Mini redux used a Chrysler engine, while the second had a Peugeot unit under the hood—Mini instead opted to use a 189-horsepower variant of the engine used in the BMW 320i and 328i. The 320i is rated at 180 horsepower, and the 328i is bumped up to 240.
We wouldn't be surprised to see the engine moved somewhere in the middle for this new Mini John Cooper Works, perhaps 220 horsepower, which follows in the hotted-up tradition of its predecessors. While Mini says this car is just a concept, it's not. This is a preview for the next high-performance Mini to follow the Cooper and Cooper S models.
Who It's For
Mini people are a pretty rabid group of enthusiasts. Mini has casually omitted the fact that the 2015 Mini Cooper is about four inches longer than the car it replaces, meaning it's not really all that Mini anymore. Still, it's Mini in spirit, attracting enthusiasts of the brand as well as people who want to get into a new BMW but don't quite want to splurge $40,000 or more for a car that's smaller than a Toyota Corolla.
The Mini John Cooper Works will feed the need that much more for enthusiasts and fans of fun, cute cars, alike.
So far, all we know is that the Mini John Cooper Works Concept has style in spades. Some of its details include:
- Lightweight five-spoke wheels that are evocative of past JCW designs.
- Contrasting Bright Highways Grey and Chili Red paint.
- A lowered suspension and more aggressive exhaust.
- All of the added style and technology from the just-debuted 2015 Mini Cooper.
What We Think
We have no doubt that Mini will hit a homerun with this car, at least from a dynamic standpoint. Does the car look like it might be trying too hard with making its dimensions stretch to fit a car that must now comply with stricter safety regulations?
Yes. Yes, it does.
But it also has a host of new technologies and features that ought to make it among the most fun front-drive cars out there, bar none. We're excited to see what this car can do and how. And we can't wait until BMW and Mini release official power and performance numbers for the production version of this car, numbers that ought to dwarf the current Mini Cooper JCW's.
Back to Auto Show Coverage: Detroit 2014