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Article :: Mini's £32k John Cooper Works Challenge

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Concerned the Mini JCW isn’t hardcore enough for you? Let this new John Cooper Works Challenge ease your fretting.

It’s a 100-off limited edition, and it’s been designed and developed in the UK, and it’s only for us lot to buy.

Much like the Renault Clio RS16, it’s been put together by a small team of engineers rather than being a product of mainstream development, and it’s designed to deliver “maximum track ability and on-road driving thrills”.

As such, there’s some specialist stuff on its spec sheet. There’s adjustable Nitron suspension, bigger Mintex brakes, a Quaife limited-slip differential and lightweight alloy wheels by Team Dynamics. These are all names familiar from motorsport and high-end performance cars, as well as the Mini Challenge race car.

The suspension is particularly noteworthy, as it can be tweaked for bump, rebound, ride height and even camber. Given some find the standard JCW unremittingly tough on rough roads, such adjustability holds quite a lot of promise.

The front wheels continue to be driven by a 228bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine, and the Challenge’s 6.3-second 0-62mph time and 153mph top speed are unchanged over the standard JCW.

Disappointing if you want to shout about where your £32,000 has gone in the pub, then, especially given the Challenge is nearly £9,000 more than a standard JCW. But luckily the exterior does all of the shouting for you, with an unsubtle ‘JCW Pro Aerokit’ standard fit. Spoilers, splitters and diffusers are all much more aggressive than before, while the whole thing comes in a silver and carbon colour scheme that can’t be tweaked.

In fact, the whole specification is rigidly fixed. You can only have a six-speed manual gearbox, and you can’t add any option, though fancy things like parking sensors and auto lights are fitted, somewhat belying the hardcore nature of everything else.

The JCW Challenge launches at Goodwood next week, though is on sale now. Like it? Or is £32k simply bonkers for a Mini?

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