The MINI John Cooper Works and MINI John Cooper Works Clubman have arrived in New Zealand.
Their 1.6 litre 4-cylinder engine (based on the current MINI Cooper S’s engine) with twin-scroll turbocharger and petrol direct injection delivers 155 kW/211 bhp and develops its maximum torque of 260Nm between 1,850 and 5,700 rpm — by means of overboost the torque can actually be increased to 280 Nm. The MINI John Cooper Works gets to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds while the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman is just 0.3 seconds behind. Many modifications have been made to the engine, not least the incorporation of revised air intake and outlet due to the turbo.
The turbo 4-cylinder is fitted with petrol direction injection according to the common rail principle and gives an output of 132bhp per litre. Injection valves positioned laterally in the cylinder head feed the fuel in precise doses under a pressure of 120 bar from the tank directly into the combustion chamber. This means that in every situation on the road, precise fuel supply is guaranteed which is adapted to the given load requirements. The average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle is at an unusually low level for vehicles of this output category. The MINI John Cooper Works makes do with 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres, the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman requires 7.1 litres. The respective CO2 figures are 165 and 169 grams per kilometre.
In keeping with the historic Cooper name, both models are fitted with extensive motor racing technology as standard: exclusive light alloy rims with especially light and extremely high-performance brakes, a new exhaust system and the modified 6-speed manual transmission.
As is characteristic of MINI, the engine powers the front wheels. The MINI John Cooper Works and MINI John Cooper Works Clubman are fitted with a 6-speed manual transmission whose components have been adapted to the higher level of torque of this new engine. In addition to the sophisticated chassis technology with McPherson struts at the front axle and the central control arm rear axle, which is itself unique in the small car segment, the electromechanical EPAS (Electrical Power Assisted Steering) also assists in reliable and precise handling.
The steering system EPAS allows various settings to be programmed. The basic set-up guarantees balanced steering support depending on road speed. With the sports button, which is positioned as standard next to the gearshift lever in the centre console in the MINI John Cooper Works and MINI John Cooper Works Clubman, it is possible to activate a perceptibly more dynamic characteristic curve with higher steering torque and increased steering precision. In keeping with this, pressing the sports button also changes the accelerator pedal to a much sportier characteristic setting.
The cars are fitted with sporty suspension settings as standard. An alternative sports suspension set-up is available with harder damper characteristics and stronger stabilisers for the front and rear axle. For a more extreme racing orientation, there is also a John Cooper Works suspension set-up available in the accessory range for the MINI John Cooper Works. It includes a lowering of the suspension by 10 millimetres, even harder damper characteristics and stabilisers with a diameter which is larger than those of the sports chassis.
If the brakes are anything like those on the Cooper S, which we reviewed here, they will be excellent. Weighing less than 10 kilos, the 17-inch light alloy wheels are the lightest standard wheels within the competitive environment of the MINI John Cooper Works and MINI John Cooper Works Clubman. The high-speed tyres in 205/45 W 17 format have runflat properties, and both models are equipped with a tyre damage display function.
In addition to sporty suspension settings and powerful brakes, the MINI John Cooper Works and MINI John Cooper Works Clubman also have ABS, EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), CBC (Cornering Brake Control) and DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) including hill-start assistance and DTC (Dynamic Traction Control).
DTC is a sub-function of DSC which is available here for the first time in a vehicle with front wheel drive. It enables the response threshold levels of driving stability regulation to be increased so as to allow controllable slip on the drive wheels. In this way, the models MINI John Cooper Works and MINI John Cooper Works Clubman can be controlled on snow-covered surfaces or loose sand with slightly spinning front wheels, or taken more intensively to the physical limits in highly dynamic driving situations. When the threshold range is reached, the stabilising intervention of DSC is also guaranteed in DTC mode.
Pricing for the MINI John Cooper Works hatch starts at $54,900. Pricing for the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman starts at $59,900. The MINI John Cooper Works and MINI John Cooper Works Clubman go on sale in New Zealand dealerships from October 2008.