Pricing for the third-generation MINI John Cooper Works Hatch has been announced for the Australian market, commencing with the $47,400 six-speed manual variant. The six-speed automatic variant will begin at $49,950.

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Under the iconic bonnet scoop sits a 170kW/320Nm version of the turbocharged four-cylinder petrol unit already seen in the MINI Cooper S. It is the most powerful engine ever to be fitted to a production MINI and with peak torque available from only 1250rpm it promises a wide power band. That peak is maintained through to 4800rpm, with the power peak held from 5200-6000rpm.

The 2015 MINI John Cooper Works can reach 100km/h from zero in 6.3sec with the manual transmission, or only 6.1sec with the automatic variant. Importantly, flexibility has also been improved with 80-120km/h taking 5.6sec, an improvement of 10 per cent over its predecessor. Fuel economy is rated as 5.7L/100km on the Euro test cycle for the auto version. The manual achieves 6.7L/100km.

It’s not all doom and gloom for the manual, however. The gearbox incorporates a sensor that enables ‘active engine speed adaptation’, and can adjust engine speed to the input shaft to ensure super-smooth shifts.

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Dynamic damper control is included in the standard equipment list, though a fixed ‘sports’ option comprising firmer springs and dampers will also be available. A single-joint spring strut front axle suspension is employed with a multi-link providing rear location.

Dynamic traction control and an electronic differential lock are both standard on the MINI John Cooper Works, while torque steer compensation alters drive torque to limit power understeer.

Brembo has been called in to develop a new brake package for the MINI John Cooper Works. It features fixed calipers and is said to maintain braking power even during intensive track use. It rides on specific 18-inch John Cooper Works Cup wheels.

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MINI Driving Modes alter throttle, steering and engine through MID, SPORT and GREEN modes to deliver on the driver’s mood.

Inside model-specific sports seats trimmed in a Dinamica and cloth mix hug occupants, and the addition of an 8.8-inch touch screen brings satellite navigation and park assist.

Expect to see the MINI John Cooper Works in showrooms from mid-2015.

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