Mini is set to offer a genuine competitor to the likes of the Volkswagen Golf R and Honda Civic Type R.
The British brand is making a move to become part of the hot hatch elite with what could be the fastest car the brand has ever produced - a high performance version of its three-door hatchback.
Mini showed its hand with the GP Concept from the 2017 Frankfurt motor show, a model with aggressive wings and spoilers designed to improve its aerodynamic performance.
However, Mini is also planning to unleash something special beneath the skin with a future hot hatch.
“It’s a kind of dream car … let’s see what the reaction is,” says Sebastian Mackensen, senior vice president of the Mini brand.
“John Cooper Works is essential for the Mini brand … it’s one part of where we came from.
“We could envision to maybe even dream a bit further, that’s why we do the concept vehicle exercise.”
Mackensen suggests Mini is gearing up to take the next step in performance.
“Do you want to completely put everything on the table to win the card game where horsepower counts or the 0-100[km/h]? That’s not what we have done so far.
“I think we have created really nice cars, but maybe not in the ultimate horsepower evening discussion … maybe in emotion or overall fit of the car you can.
“There could be something on top of that, let’s call it this way.”
Currently the John Cooper Works models have been fast but not in the upper echelon of hot hatches, especially when compared with the pinnacle of the hot hatch bridge; the Mercedes-AMG A45 and Ford Focus RS.
But that could be about to change.
“Is there a potential for a very steep positioning with a more powerful car?” says Mackensen. “There probably is and that’s why we kick around ideas.”
Insiders have kicked around power output figures north of 200kW.
While that’s well shy of the 280kW produced by the segment busting Mercedes-AMG A45 it’s a fair bit more than Mini has dished up previously.
As for achieving those outputs, expect a suitably pumped four-cylinder turbo.
While Mini is investing in electric technology – even committing to a full electric version of its three-door by 2019 - there are no plans for a hybrid JCW just yet.
Mackensen is also not sold on the idea of an all-wheel drive hot hatch, suggesting targets could be achieved driving only the front wheels.
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