Mini’s UK-based engineers are playing an increasing role in the development of new generation models, not least the latest John Cooper Works which has just gone on sale in major European markets.

Traditionally, most of the research and development work on new Minis has been conducted in Munich, the home of parent company BMW, but engineering and production teams from the UK are now being involved much earlier in the process. Most of Mini’s best selling models are built in the UK at the former Morris plant outside Oxford which celebrated its centenary in 2014.

“We are now working a lot closer with Munich,” said Nathan James, of the plant integration team. “While the early computer design and engineering work and software programming is still done in Munich, we are getting cars much earlier which helps us with things like build quality and NVH, and also means we can put our own touches on cars.”

“Twenty-five per cent of all JCW sales are in the the UK, and the new car was set up on UK roads,” added Nicolas Griebner, the head of product management in the UK. Public roads in Wales and the Millbrook proving ground in Bedfordshire were used to finalise the car’s settings, and finishing touches were added at the Miramas vehicle testing centre in the south of France.

James said there is a single set-up for the JCW for all global markets, with “only minor adjustments to the software for things like fuel etc”.

The new JCW is the most powerful series production Mini ever with a two litre turbocharged petrol engine (up from 1.6 litres in the previous model) developing 231hp and 320Nm of torque.

The engine is based on that in the Mini Cooper S but has been extensively modified for the JCW. It is available with a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed Aisin torque converter automatic rather than a double-clutch transmission similar to those favoured by some rivals. There are no plans to offer a diesel-powered JCW, said Griebner.

After the UK, America and Germany and the leading markets for Mini JCW models. Together, these three countries account for more than 70% of sales. But Asia, led by Japan and China, is becoming an increasingly important region.