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Almost exactly a year ago, the MINI John Cooper Works concept was previewed prior to its debut at the 2014 Detroit motor show. Fast forward to the end of 2014 and we now have official photos and details of the production version, which is set for an unveiling at the 2015 edition of the same motor show.

In keeping with tradition, the new MINI John Cooper Works (JCW) promises increased performance via a series of engine, suspension and brake upgrades. For starters, the new model possesses the “most powerful engine ever fitted in a serial production [MINI] model.”

Power figures from the turbocharged, 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine are 231 hp at 6,000 rpm and 320 Nm of torque between 1,250 and 4,800 rpm. A six-speed manual is available as standard with the option of a six-speed Steptronic auto being offered – both layouts transfer power to the front wheels.

As expected, the manual transmission clocks in a slower 0-100 km/h time of 6.3 seconds while the automatic option hits the century mark in 6.1 seconds. Top speed is officially rated at 246 km/h – no matter which gearbox option one chooses.

Helping with retardation are specially-developed Brembo brakes, with the calipers finished in a distinctive shade of red. A reworked suspension setup includes a single-joint spring strut axle in front and a multilink layout at the rear.

A raft of electronic safety aids come as standard on the MINI JCW with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) and Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC). Dynamic Damper Control (DDC) is available as an option.

On the outside, the new MINI JCW ensures that no one but the most inattentive of all would mistake it for the vanilla variant. The most obvious change comes in the form of a reworked front apron with massive air intakes in place of where the fog lights would usually be found.

The JCW badge plastered onto the front grille and above the front fenders serve as another reminder of the car’s potential. New 17-inch John Cooper Works Race Spoke light alloy wheels (18-inch designs are optional), a different side sill design plus a rear spoiler and bumper design complete the look.

Step inside and it’s pretty much a black-and-red affair with rather aggressive sport seats taking centre stage. Finished in a mixture of Dinamica fabric and topped off with red accents, the seats are also available with leather to cater to those of a less hardcore disposition.

Other standard equipments to be found inside include an exclusively-designed steering wheel, stainless steel pedals, anthracite roof liner and a generous helping of JCW badges scattered throughout the interior. The infotainment system includes the usual USB, iPod and Aux connectivity.

The MINI Connected in-car infotainment platform allows for Intelligent Emergency Call and MINI TeleServices via a permanently installed SIM card. Further toys via smartphone integration come in the form of social media accessibility and entertainment features such as Spotify, Audible and TuneIn.