Behind that mess of mesh grilles is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot with 228bhp and 236lb ft, a 10% power hike and a 23% torque increase over the outgoing JCW.
Line the two cars up for a drag race and the new one will scorch its way from 0-100km/h in about 6 seconds, two tenths quicker than its predecessor. That’s with the standard six-speed manual ’box – speccing the optional six-speed ‘Steptronic’ auto sees the sprint time tumble to 6.1 seconds. Top speed is a hairy 152mph.
To help the JCW avoid torque-steering its way through the nearest hedge it gets altered suspension and steering settings compared with the Cooper S, together with all kinds of electronic programs with confusing acronyms; DTC, DSC, EDLC…
The latter is Electronic Differential Lock Control, which uses microchips to imitate the effect of a mechanical locking diff and help the Mini claw its way out of corners without smoking all that power away.
New four-piston Brembo brakes get it stopped, while electronically controlled dampers are an option.
The MINI John Cooper Works will make its appearance at the 2015 Detroit motor show in January before going on sale in April 2015.