Mini Cooper JCW hot hatch to return with petrol and electric power

9 months, 1 week ago - 4 September 2023, autocar
Mini Cooper JCW hot hatch to return with petrol and electric power
John Cooper Works hot hatch lands in 2024 with petrol power, with an EV following in 2025

The new Mini Cooper electric hatch and its forthcoming combustion-engined sibling will both gain hot John Cooper Works variants by 2025.

While visually identical, the new Cooper EV, revealed ahead of the Munich motor show, sits on a different platform from the upcoming combustion-engined version – but the firm has developed them to offer similar handling and performance.

The electric Cooper will launch with S and S E models, but Stefan Floeck, Mini’s product line boss, has confirmed that a performance JCW version will be launched in 2025. That will come after the JCW version of the petrol Cooper. There are no performance details for either version yet.

“We will come out with a John Cooper Works for the combustion-engine car next year, and at the beginning of 2025 we will come out with the John Cooper Works E,” said Floeck.

While the two JCW models will be technically unrelated, Floeck added that they would be engineered to offer similar performance. “You will see the differences when you drive a combustion-engined car and an electric car,” he said. “Normally, the combustion cars have a slightly higher maximum velocity, but in terms of acceleration, they are not as good.

“But I’ve already driven both cars, and the driving dynamic and feeling, even though it’s a different feeling when it comes to the go-kart feeling, it’s pretty similar. It’s amazing.”

Asked more generally about the challenge of producing an EV with a true hot hatch driving dynamic, Floeck said: “The most important thing when it’s a front-driven car is that on one side you have a big benefit, because the centre of gravity is lower because you have the battery in the bottom.

You also have a good balance with the weight balance in the front and back of the cars. So the genes – a low centre of gravity and 50/50 weight balance – is better for driving dynamics. On the other side you have a bit higher weight. So to deal with the higher weight it’s a question of tyres for driving dynamics, so we will put different tyres on the car to handle this, which are a bigger diameter.

“The rest is just developing the go-kart feeling, as we do for the combustion cars. It’s just a question of space and geometry. This is something right now we are handling and looking into if there is enough customer demand and the possibility. I would love to do that.”

Floeck confirmed that the new Cooper electric platform can accept twin-motor powertrains but said it was not confirmed if the JCW would be all-wheel drive.

The new Countryman, revealed alongside the Cooper, will launch with an all-wheel-drive JCW version, and Floeck has confirmed that it will also gain a JCW EV version in 2025.

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