Hatchbacks

John Cooper Works Challenge is a Mini built for serious track duty

It's so serious, one of the cupholders has been replaced with a "track mode" button.

Mini

Here it is, doing clever track things with all its clever track equipment.

Mini

Mini's John Cooper Works is a fun, front-wheel-drive hot hatch. But BMW (Mini's parent company) has a very firm footing in creating vehicles that are truly at home on the track, rather than the street. Mix the two together, and you get the Mini John Cooper Works Challenge, a track-oriented beast with some serious equipment.

While the "normal" JCW has a stiffer, more aggressive ride, the Challenge takes it up a whole ladder rung. Standard equipment includes adjustable Nitron coilover suspension, a Quaife limited-slip differential, upgraded Brembo brakes and some of the stickiest tires built for road cars -- Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s. Lightweight wheels reduce unsprung mass by about 5 pounds per corner, which should bump handling up considerably.

The car is also loaded with a whole bunch of flashy parts, because that's what the kids want. However, the Challenge's upgraded aesthetics can be purchased for your own Mini, as they're all JCW accessories that are already available for the standard JCW hatch. The JCW exhaust's sound can be adjusted via a Bluetooth link, for a reason I can't figure out.

Inside the Challenge, you get plates with your car's build number, and a black cloth interior with splashes of brightwork in various areas. The car's only available in White Silver with a black roof, and you cannot change its standard equipment, which includes rear parking sensors and adaptive LED headlights.

Mini did not adjust power output between the JCW and the Challenge, so it remains at 231 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. Your sole transmission option is Mini's six-speed manual. 100 of these cars will be made available exclusively in the UK, at a price of £32,000 each ($45,411, directly converted).

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