Mini JCW Coupe

The engineers at Mini are hard at work on the upcoming Roadster, including the John Cooper Works edition you see here in development phase. A prototype of the performance droptop has been lapping the Nürburgring at a furious pace, and our stealthy spy photographers managed to set their lenses on the machine.

The photos show all of the hardware we've come to expect from the JCW line, including a few aero tweaks as well as some serious brakes, large alloy wheels and what it is undoubtedly some very sticky rubber. There's a 208 horsepower forced-induction four-pot behind those black-housing headlights mated to a six-speed manual transmission, too. Expect to see the Roadster touch down sometime in 2012.

The Mini Coupe, on which the Roadster is based, recently banged doors with the rest of the field at the 24 Hours of N ürburgring. Mini even allowed a handful of journos to take the wheel of a few pre-production models ahead of the vehicle's public offering. You can check out our initial thoughts on the tiny hardtop here.