Unless you've walked into a Mini showroom in the past five months and demanded to spec up a new JCW, you probably wouldn't have realised that the model has been off sale. Production of the 231hp hot hatch halted in July so it could be retested under the more stringent Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), which is here to stay following all of those nasty emissions scandals.
But now, fresh from its retesting on the continent, the Mini JCW is back - only now with more filters! Order books for the new WLTP-friendly JCW are due to reopen on the January 18th and first deliveries are set for March, when - like pretty much every other retested car on sale - these Minis will have a new particulate filter in their exhaust systems.
You might expect such a change to adversely affect the performance of the turbocharged 2.0-litre up front, yet Mini claims there's been no impact in whatsoever. The quickest variant, the JCW hatch, retains its 6.3-second 0-62mph time and is said to be equally as efficient as before the addition of the new clean up hardware. The story's the same with the convertible, which keeps its 6.6-second time.
Thing is, the WLTP test is quite a bit harder than NEDC. So even though Mini claims its hot hatch is no keener to puff out greenhouse gases, the JCW's listed CO2 output has risen from 150g/km to 167g/km, which - unlike that NEDC number - should be a better representative of what can actually be achieved in the real world. Don't fret if you're in the market for a JCW, however, as the increase is too insignificant to push the model into the next tax band.
Not wanting this update to all be about WLTP, Mini's also added some shiny new trim to its hottest model. The JCW gets Piano Black exterior and interior trim, dinamica leather-wrapped sports seats and new 17-inch wheels. This adds to the car's other standard fit features, such as LED lighting, automatic headlights and wipers and, of course, that rorty exhaust note.