2015 Mini John Cooper Works

Mini fans have had plenty to chew on lately. In the past month alone, the Anglo-Saxon automaker revealed its quirky, one-off Paceman Adventure pickup and dazzled showgoers over the weekend at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este with the Superleggera Vision concept. But what enthusiasts (to say nothing of dealers) have been really waiting for since the debut of the new Mini hatchback late last year has been the new John Cooper Works performance model. And that's just what we have here.

Spied undergoing testing at the Nürburgring, this JCW prototype looks about ready for production, but is still keeping its front end under wraps. We can still discern the larger front intakes and bigger brakes with red calipers front and rear, and while the rear bumper is still stock, the wheels are definitely JCW: similar to those worn by the John Cooper Works Concept unveiled in Detroit a few months ago, they look more like five-spoke versions of the outgoing GP model's four-spoke units than the BBS-style alloys of the last John Cooper Works hatchback.

The new JCW is still probably a few months away from debut, but we're expecting around 230 horsepower under the hood when it does arrive.