franchise is finally facing some stiff competition in the compact performance segment, particularly abroad where buyers can now get their retrotastic kicks in the 180-hp Fiat
Punto Abarth SS
or the Clio Renaultsport 197. It's been simply a matter of time before MINI let loose the John Cooper Works
team again on the new R56 Cooper S
, and the fruits of their underground labors have been caught on the Nurburgring
in the form of a Stage II version of the R56 Cooper S JCW package
Sporting a set of 18-inch rollers pilfered from the JCW GP Limited Edition Cooper S, this test mule also receives a set of upgraded brakes, a JCW-spec sports suspension package and a restyled aero kit. A proper tune of the turbo'd 1.6-liter mill, coupled with a new JCW exhaust, is expected to bring output up from to around 215 horsepower.
Expect the JCW-massaged version of the Cooper S to debut in Geneva next year, with sales beginning later in '08.
[Source: World Car Fans]