Tue, 27 May 2014 14:15:00 EST
Mini fans have had plenty to chew on lately. In the past month alone, the Anglo-Saxon automaker revealed its quirky, one-off Paceman Adventure pickup and dazzled showgoers over the weekend at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este with the Superleggera Vision concept. But what enthusiasts (to say nothing of dealers) have been really waiting for since the debut of the new Mini hatchback late last year has been the new John Cooper Works performance model. And that's just what we have here.
Wed, 16 Oct 2013 18:33:00 EST
Spied undergoing testing at the Nürburgring, this JCW prototype looks about ready for production, but is still keeping its front end under wraps. We can still discern the larger front intakes and bigger brakes with red calipers front and rear, and while the rear bumper is still stock, the wheels are definitely JCW: similar to those worn by the John Cooper Works Concept unveiled in Detroit a few months ago, they look more like five-spoke versions of the outgoing GP model's four-spoke units than the BBS-style alloys of the last John Cooper Works hatchback.
The new JCW is still probably a few months away from debut, but we're expecting around 230 horsepower under the hood when it does arrive.
Mini is certainly no stranger to a special edition, as unique option and styling packs have been a staple of the Mini line since its return to the US market, but it's next special trim is quite a big departure from previous cars. It's based on the Countryman, and is called the Black Knight Edition.
Wed, 03 Sep 2014 17:00:00 EST
As you cans see from the image up top, it'll sport a sinister, matte-black paint scheme, making this Mini not unlike BMW's range of Frozen Edition cars. First reported on by those Mini-obsessed folks at MotoringFile, the Black Knight Edition Countryman will be limited to 60 units, and will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis, making this car quite a bit different from previous special editions, which generally stuck around for a full model year.
According to MF, the matte finish will only be available on the Cooper S Countryman, although oddly, one of the teaser images shows a John Cooper Works badge. BKE models should be coming nearly loaded, which means that there's not a lot of customization done and the price tag is probably going to be exorbitant for a Mini. Buyers will, though, have the choice of front- or all-wheel drive and a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
Mini is continuing to update its models onto its latest UKL front-wheel-drive platform that it shares with parent BMW. Here, our spies caught an early glimpse of the next-gen Countryman testing on the new chassis.
Like the rest of the updated Mini lineup, the latest Countryman doesn't exactly show a huge shift in styling from the current version. The front end appears to be slightly more blunt, and the headlights have a redesigned shape. However, behind the A-pillar the differences seem to be pretty subtle. At the rear, the new Countryman also looks to adopt the brand's rounded rectangle taillights protruding into the hatch like on the standard Cooper Hardtop range. While not shown here, our spies claim that Mini is also aiming for a roomier interior for the upcoming crossover so that it can be more competitive in its class.
At least for now, the Countryman is going to be the largest vehicle in the Mini range, according to an earlier statement from chief designer Anders Warming. The CUV is rumored to debut around 2016 with some assembly possibly done at Mini's plant in the Netherlands. Until then, have a look at these spy shots and tell us what you think.