The holidays are a time for stocking stuffers and BMW has given us one with a hint of what’s to come in the new year. On Monday, the car maker announced that it would present the new Mini John Cooper Works concept at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) 2014 in Detroit, running January 13 to 26. Since we’re getting just a taste of what is still a concept, there aren’t a lot of details and BMW is keen to talk more about style than engineering, but we do get a bit of an idea of what this track-oriented concept is about.
Based solidly on the new Mini line up, the Mini John Cooper Works concept has the same longer wheelbase and wider track, which BMW says makes it more agile and “punchy” to take advantage of the vehicle’s lighter weight. The race track touches of the John Cooper Works sub-brand are certainly evident, with BMW apparently seeing it as exemplifying the Mini’s “go-kart” feel mixed with everyday driving features and a dash of a track day from the John Cooper Works’ experience in motorsports.
This time around, the word “concept” isn’t so much mad as carefully tweaked. There’s a new paintjob in Bright Highways Grey with a hand-polished surface layer and a clear coat, which in the images provided by BMW suggest a bit of a brushed look to the paintwork decked out with MIni red color accents.
The bodywork is marked by bespoke aerodynamic features and 18-inch John Cooper Works light-alloy wheels. According to BMW, the design of the Mini John Cooper Works concept is meant to precisely link the ultra-high-performance powertrain and chassis with the body’s bespoke aerodynamics for better handling.
The face is surprisingly sedate, with the most notable features being the air intakes taking the place of the fog lights, though we did expect that BMW would do less with the go-faster stripes and a bit more with giving the concept a bit of aggression around the grille. Instead, the grille gets decked out with a bit of black and flanked with LED headlamps.
On the side, there are contoured skirts and in the back there’s a roof spoiler, which BMW says optimizes handling at high speed, though it will be interesting to see how it actually does on a lap. If the engine matches the massive tailpipes, it could be impressive.
We'll be sure to take a closer look at this one on the floor at NAIAS.