BMW’S upcoming Mini Cabrio Mk3 will again include a JCW high-performance flagship when it arrives Down Under sometime next year.
Snapped undergoing a final cold-weather shakedown prior to a probable Frankfurt IAA (September) or Los Angeles Auto Show (November) global debut, the F57-series ragtop will join an expanding range of new-gen John Cooper Works variants, which kicked off this week with the $47,400 F56 three-door Hatch version.
Starting from 2016, expect to see the more aggressive JCW signature styling cues on go-faster iterations of the F55 five-door Hatch, F54 Clubman six-door wagon and – most intriguingly – the F58/9 hardtop/roadster twins touted for a 2018 debut.
The latter will be BMW’s second tilt at creating a Mazda MX-5 crusher after the failed outgoing R58/9 Coupe and Roadster two-seaters, and will most likely lean heavily on the controversial Mini Superleggera Vision Concept that stole last year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este event in Italy.
All will be based on the UKL front-wheel-drive platform underpinning upwards of a dozen new and future Mini and BMW-badged models (including the recently released 2 Series Active and Grand Tourers), though whether the JCW variants leverage the 2.0-litre direct-injection four-cylinder TwinPower turbo tearaway is unknown.
In the new F56 JCW, it delivers 170kW of power and 320Nm of torque (up from the preceding 1.6-litre Prince unit’s 155kW and 260Nm), for a 0-100km/h sprint-time of 6.3 seconds (down 0.3s) – or just 6.1s if you opt for the $49,950 six-speed torque-converter auto. Furthermore, the newcomer needs 5.6 seconds to skip from 80-120km/h, on the way to a 246 km/h v-max.
Conversely, the latest JCW Hatch is greener than ever, improving the average combined fuel consumption figure by three percent for the manual version (to 6.7L/100km) and 20 percent for the auto (5.7L/100km).
The new F57 JCW Cabrio may not be quite this energetic, however, as a weight difference of about 110kg existed between the previous Hatch and its ragtop sibling due to the extensive re-strengthening engineering necessary to compensate for the missing turret. Hence the freezing-weather testing seen here.
We’re also hoping the $3000 price cut that also came with the JCW Hatch translates to the Cabrio version, which currently begins at a hefty $58,500.
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