A new generation of the signature Mini Cooper hatch is set to debut later this year as a 2025 model, and a prototype for its John Cooper Works performance grade has been spotted testing.
However, this particular JCW prototype doesn't feature a gas engine. Instead, it packs an electric powertrain that Mini has been developing since at least 2020.
Clear giveaways are the sealed-off grille and lack of exhaust tips.
The new Cooper will be offered with the choice of gas or electric powertrains. While the gas version will use an updated version of the current generation's platform, the electric version will use a dedicated EV platform developed in China by Spotlight Automotive, a joint venture between Mini's BMW Group parent and Chinese automaker Great Wall Motors.
Production of the electric version will also be handled in China, while the gas version will be built in the U.K.
2025 Mini Cooper
2025 Mini Cooper
Mini in May confirmed Cooper E and Cooper SE grades for the electric version. The Cooper E will pack a 40.7-kwh battery and a single electric motor rated at 181 hp. The Cooper SE will feature a 54.2-kwh battery pack and a single electric motor rated at 215 hp.
The electric JCW will likely combine the 54.2-kwh battery pack with an electric motor rated at 300 hp or more. The 2.0-liter turbo-4 in the current JCW hatch generates 228 hp in standard guise and 301 hp in the limited-edition JCW GP.
We should know more as we approach the electric JCW's launch that will likely take place toward the end of 2024.
Even with the introduction of an electric JCW, Mini isn't likely to abandon gas engines for its high-performance offerings just yet. A JCW version of the redesigned 2025 Countryman will likely stick with an internal-combustion engine, although the new Countryman will also offer electric powertrains.
One thing that isn't likely to stick around is the manual transmission. The limited-edition 2024 JCW 1to6 Edition launched in May is rumored to be the last new Mini to feature the third pedal.