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Is BMW trying to make John Cooper Works, Mini’s version of M?


Many car companies today have performance divisions that modify and tune cars to a higher level than their more standard counterparts. Mercedes has its AMG division; Nissan has Nismo, and BMW, with arguably one of the most successful performance branded divisions, has its go-fast M performance automobile line.

With BMW enjoying unprecedented success in 2011 and its M sales growing by 14 percent in 2010, it appears that the Bavarian Motor Works company is trying to implant similar success towards its Mini subsidiary by offering a differentiated branding and performance upgrade to Mini models with its top-tier John Cooper Works line.

It should come as no surprise, though. Mini’s current head, Kay Segler, ran BMW’s M division prior to his new appointment as Mini chief and it makes sense he would want to mirror the success he previously enjoyed.

What will this new strategy mean for Mini in the short and long term? Well, currently Mini offers a JCW turbocharged 1.60-liter, 208 horsepower engine — labeling it “unique”, but as Segler implied to Car and Driver recently, it would appear that he has bigger plans for JCW. What those plans are exactly is unclear, but more than likely Mini will see future JCW models as standalone and tweaked performance versions in similar vain to BMW’s M tuned cars.

But it sounds as if Segler’s plans don’t stop there. According to Car and Driver, since demand in the U.S. continues to increase for many of Mini’s diesel powered cars, the company may make available to those of us in the U.S. these very diesel versions currently available in European markets only. This is in stark contrast to the lineup of new M branded diesels that BMW recently showed off, and coincidentally has no plans of bringing to the states. 

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