Mini has gradually turned John Cooper Works into its own version of BMW's M, a badge that indicates a serious performance car for buyers interested in that sort of thing. All previous JCW-branded Minis have been gas-powered, but that is about to change. In a conversation with Motor1, Mini executives Mike Peyton and Christian Wehner confirmed that the brand is preparing to bring that badge to its electric offerings, too.
With Mini focusing on both electric and gas power for its newest generation of flagship hatchback, offering a performance variant of the EV is a natural choice. The brand's corporate partners at BMW have already integrated their M performance branding into the i4 and i7 lines, just as Mercedes has done with AMG-branded EQ models and Hyundai has done with N-branded Ioniq cars.
Last generation, the most serious variant of the flagship Mini was the all-out John Cooper Works GP. That car packed over 300 hp into the subcompact, then accentuated it with massive fender flares and a rear wing mounted behind the car's roof line. While the brand could certainly replicate the immense power of the JCW GP in an EV relatively easily, Wehner says the problem is more complex. Instead of focusing simply on acceleration, he wants to bring "go-kart fun" that goes beyond typical EV strengths to maintain "the weight of the car, the steering of the car, how it feels to sit inside the car" for an electric performance model.
The promise of an electric performance model does not mean that Mini is out of the gas-powered hot hatchback market any time soon. In the same interview, Peyton says that "the demand is still there" for an internal combustion JCW variant. Just do not hold out your hope for a manual, as the brand did not offer the JCW GP with a third pedal in 2019 and is moving away from the transmission option entirely in the future.
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