Mini introduces its John Cooper Works range in Malaysia

A white Mini John Cooper Works Countryman. — Picture by YS Khong
A white Mini John Cooper Works Countryman. — Picture by YS Khong

KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 — John Cooper Works, or JCW for short, is to Mini, what M Power is to BMW — the JCW range is the top-of-the-range variant for MINI, traditionally offering more power, improved handling and more sporty features.

Today, Mini Malaysia introduced the new Mini John Cooper Works Clubman and Mini John Cooper Works Countryman, the two most powerful and exclusive Mini models ever built by the premium British brand. The new Mini vehicles were unveiled at the Mini Track Days 2017 held at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC).

In introducing the new Mini John Cooper Works models, Managing Director and CEO of BMW Group Malaysia Han Sang Yun said: “In the summer of 1959, Sir Alex Issigonis presented the Mini, his idea of a small car complete with ample space and exciting driving capabilities to the world. The humble classic Mini was then transformed by racing legend John Cooper into a world touring and rally champion, winning the Monte Carlo Rally back-to-back in 1964 and 1965.

“Today, as we celebrate John Cooper’s 94th birthday, we are pleased to introduce two new Mini John Cooper Works models which carry the legendary high-performance DNA set by John Cooper as well as the reputation of premium sophistication that Mini is known for.”

“Mini has seen a very positive growth in the Malaysian compact segment. In 2016, we delivered over 900 vehicles and recorded a 19 per cent growth in comparison to the brand’s performance in 2015,” added Head of Mini Kidd Yam.  

“In the first half of 2017, Mini delivered over 460 vehicles, charting a 9 per cent increase since the same period last year. As the third largest brand in the Malaysian premium segment, we hope to maintain this progress in the industry as we introduce newer variants from the Mini family.”

The interior of the Mini John Cooper Works Countryman. — Picture by YS Khong
The interior of the Mini John Cooper Works Countryman. — Picture by YS Khong

The JCW range, which covers the Hatch, Clubman and Countryman run a 2.0 litre gasoline turbocharged engine of similar design as the 2.0 litre engine found in the BMW 3 Series, and also in the X1 and 2 Series. In actuality, the JCW engines are closer to the X1 by virtue of the fact that they are also mounted transversely. The rated output is 231 horsepower and 350Nm of torque and the slight differences in power output is due to the differences in engine peripherals, including the exhaust flow and construction. All variants of the JCW range, including the JCW hatch feature All-Wheel Drive through an 8-speed automatic transmission.

The Mini John Cooper Works Clubman hits 100km/h in just 6.3 seconds while the Mini John Cooper Works Countryman does so in just 6.5 seconds. Fuel consumption for the Mini John Cooper Works Clubman is rated as 7.2 litres per 100 kilometres (combined cycle) while the Mini John Cooper Works Countryman is rated at 7.4 litres per 100 kilometres (combined cycle).

The complete JCW range as I see it now covers the 3-Door Hatch, the 5-Door Clubman, and the Countryman. In essence, for every Mini Cooper Variant, there is a top-of- the-heap JCW variant.

However, upon closer scrutiny, one will note that even all are under the Mini brand, these three vehicles are very different, and are actually built on three separate and different platforms.

The JCW Hatch is built on a smaller platform — being compact and weighing in at only 1,295kg, it is naturally the fastest of the lot, and at our test drive session at the SIC today, that was proven beyond any doubt. The next size up is the JCW Clubman, which weighs in at 1,565kg and still has ample power, but is a mite slower — its advantage would be a bigger car, and has five doors.

Note the roof rails of the Mini John Cooper Works. — Picture by YS Khong
Note the roof rails of the Mini John Cooper Works. — Picture by YS Khong

The rear door opens out in two halves. To share a not so well kept secret, the Clubman shares the same platform as the BMW 2 Series, but is laced with its own Mini identity.

The largest and heaviest of the range would be the JCW Countryman — essentially an X1 under the skin, the Countryman offers yet more space — mechanically and size-wise, it is actually a very close sibling of the BMW X1.

Key exterior highlights of the Mini John Cooper Works Clubman and Mini John Cooper Works Countryman include the John Cooper Works Aerodynamic Bodykit, 19-inch John Cooper Works Course Spoke wheels in Burnish Black, John Cooper Works grille, Chilli Red roof and mirror caps, Chilli Red body stickers, rear spoiler, stainless steel tailpipes, as well as John Cooper Works Side Scuttles and John Cooper Works Door Sill. These all add to a touch of exclusivity everywhere and every time.

The interior of the new John Cooper Works variants carry more sports elements — the John Cooper Works sports seats with Dinamica Leather upholstery in Carbon Black and Red Stripes are designed to give the driver full control by providing extra lateral support for the driver. The steering wheel is leather-wrapped, with pedal shifters mounted within finger-tip reach.

Elsewhere, the JCW presence is maximised with special materials and JCW colours to make the variant as exclusive as possible.

Mini Driving Modes enable a vehicle set-up geared towards both the situation of the road and the driver’s individual preferences. Through a rotary switch at the base of the gear or selector lever, the driver can activate the settings of SPORT, MID and GREEN. This influences the characteristic curves of the accelerator pedal and steering, the engine acoustics, and the shift characteristics of the 8-speed Steptronic sports transmission and specifically on the Mini John Cooper Works Countryman, its Dynamic Damper Control set-up.

The characteristics of the electronically controlled dampers on the Mini John Cooper Works Countryman are geared for a dynamic driving style in SPORT mode and support a more comfort-oriented style in the other two modes. GREEN mode is designed for comfortable yet efficiency-optimised driving, which includes a “coasting” function that helps to save fuel.

Naturally, the brakes on the JCW variants are boosted by bigger 4-pot Brembo callipers.

The Dynamic Stability Control system also ensures optimum traction on sprints, agility on bends and safe deceleration. Its functions include Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC) — which acts as an electronic locking function for the front axle differential. The ALL4 (All-wheel Drive) features electronically controlled torque distribution between the front and rear wheels to allow for maximum traction at all times. The system is similar to the BMW X-Drive system.

3D navigation to lead the way can be operated via an 8.8-inch screen, where a split-screen function is made available to display two map views at the same time. For the first time, the screen can be operated using the Touchscreen technology or alternatively, via the Mini Touch Controller on the centre console. Some of the features include Mini Connected, a Bluetooth Connectivity, 20GB of storage for music, as well as an LED ring around the centre instrument.

The Mini John Cooper Works range features a 2.0 litre gasoline turbocharged engine. — Picture by YS Khong
The Mini John Cooper Works range features a 2.0 litre gasoline turbocharged engine. — Picture by YS Khong

Another new functionality for the Mini John Cooper Works models is the Mini Find Mate, which can help keep track of anything the driver wants. It comes with two Bluetooth tags that can be applied to for example luggage or keys, allowing the vehicle to track whether these tagged items are in the vehicle or not. If not, an audible signal will be sent and the location of the item will be sent to the driver’s smartphone. If the item is out of range, the car will navigate the driver back to its last known location.

In terms of enhanced entertainment, the Harman Kardon sound system has been designed and fitted to suit the car’s interior. With a generous 410-watt output, the sound system results in an outstanding listening experience. The system includes 4 mid-range speakers in the front doors and rear doors as well as two central bass speakers tucked away beneath the front seats.

The Mini John Cooper Works models also feature the Parking Assist function which automatically steers the Mini into parallel parking spaces. Meanwhile, ease of reversing into and out of tight spaces is made possible with the Rear View Camera, a standard feature in both the Mini John Cooper Works Clubman and Countryman ALL4 variants.

Both Mini John Cooper Works models are made available in the exterior colours of Rebel Green and Midnight Black. The White Silver is available exclusively for the Mini John Cooper Works Clubman while the Light White is for the Mini John Cooper Works Countryman.

The Mini John Cooper Works Clubman and Countryman are also covered by Mini Malaysia’s newest 5 Years Roadside Assistance programme, available for all new Mini vehicles with a comprehensive list of services that include a 24-Hour, 365-days- a-year Accident and Help on the Phone and On the Spot Hotline, Free Towing Services and when needed (over 200km from residential home), Replacement Vehicle, Accommodation, Mobility Services Solutions as well as Repatriation services.

The Mini John Cooper Works models arrive with the Mini 4 Years Unlimited Mileage Warranty with Free Scheduled Service as well. The estimated retail prices (on the road for personal registration, without insurance) are:

Mini John Cooper Works Clubman: RM328,888

Mini John Cooper Works Countryman: RM348,888 

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