Mini JCW Challenge: complete guide

June 15, 2016 by

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The Mini Cooper JCW Challenge will be one of the rarest and most hardcore hot hatches money can buy. We take a look at what’s new…

Mini has revealed the John Cooper Works Challenge – the most extreme road-legal Mini money can buy. Just 100 examples of this UK-exclusive model will be built. To find out more about the car on which the Challenge is based, take a look at our Mini Hatchback JCW review, where you’ll find detailed info. Check out its rivals in our list of the best hot hatches on sale.

Mini JCW Challenge styling and interior

Externally, the Challenge remains similar to the regular Mini John Cooper Works. It sports the JCW Pro Aerokit – an optional extra for the standard JCW – which consists of a deeper front splitter, an enlarged rear spoiler and a rear diffuser. The air intake and wing mirrors are finished in carbon fibre and the body is finished in ‘White Silver’ paint, with contrasting black roof and stripes. The cabin is largely similar to the regular John Cooper Works, though the Challenge is distinguished by the limited-run build number stuck on the passenger side of the dashboard. The seats are trimmed in a mix of a black suede-effect material and cloth.

Mini JCW Challenge engine

The Challenge features an engine with an identical spec to the existing JCW. That means 228hp from a 2.0-litre turbocharged unit – enough for a 0-62mph time of 6.3 seconds and a 153mph top speed. A sports exhaust with carbon fibre tips adds a little extra noise, and its volume can be adjusted courtesy of ‘Sport’ and ‘Track’ sound levels. Power is transferred to the road via a six-speed manual gearbox, and a limited-slip differential helps drive to be applied with minimal wheelspin.

Mini JCW Challenge driving

The biggest changes lie in the Challenge’s suspension setup. Produced by UK-based Nitron, the fully adjustable spring and damper units – directly related to those used by the Mini Challenge race car – allow drivers to fine-tune various settings to their own tastes. The 17-inch alloy wheels are made by Team Dynamics and, combined with grippy Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, weigh 2.5kg less per corner compared to the regular items. Brake discs measuring 330mm in diameter are gripped by Brembo calipers and Mintex pads for enhanced stopping performance.

Mini JCW Challenge prices and release date

The exclusivity of the JCW Challenge doesn’t come cheap. At £32,000, it’s £8,950 more expensive than the current JCW. The new model will make its public debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed from 23-26 June 2016.