Amid the fog-laden, punk-rock band presentation at the 2014 North American International Auto Show this afternoon, MINI unveiled the 2014 Cooper Hardtop along with a concept entitled the MINI John Cooper Works, a racy interpretation of the Hardtop’s form factor. The concept draws on MINI’s racing heritage, especially rallying, which BMW board member Peter Schwarzenbauer emphasized during his introduction.
Schwarzenbauer also highlighted the recent and unexpected success of the MINI brand, stating that the 66,000 units sold in the U.S. last year would have been “unthinkable” for the brand twenty years ago. MINI set a global sales record as well, with over 305,000 vehicles sold around the world. Schwarzenbauer assured the audience of imminent growth of the Chinese market for even larger sales figures in the future.
The new Cooper Hardtop will offer a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine with 134 horsepower and a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 189 horsepower. Both engines will be mated with six-speed manual transmissions as standard and a six-speed automatic as an option. Styling will be familiar to MINI loyalists, but is modern enough to be easily differentiated. Revised front and rear fascias, rounder headlamps, larger proportions, and a revised interior are the key points of difference for the new model.
As an official release states, “The John Cooper Works Concept is based on the latest-generation MINI.” While it bears resemblance to the production Cooper Hardtop, the concept shows off its racing pedigree with 18-inch alloy wheels, a more aggressive brake package, red racing stripes, and a sports exhaust system that matches the bold styling with a barking engine note. A hood scoop, LED headlights, larger front fascia, and splashes of red paint around the otherwise silver concept makes the John Cooper Works very eye-catching indeed.
No performance figures were disclosed, but the JCW version of the Cooper Hardtop can be expected to have significantly more power than the top-of-the-line 189 horsepower of the Cooper S. Add the handling upgrades and the John Cooper Works should easily continue the legacy of performance excellence that its predecessors and its namesake have created.
Image Source: BMWBLOG