It’s new car season alright, meet the new Mini John Cooper Works GP, the fastest MINI ever produced for road use.
Featuring a modified version of the engine already used in the JCW model, power is up to 302bhp and 332lb ft from the boosted four-pot. Changes to the engine include a reinforced crankshaft with enlarged main bearing diameter, upgraded pistons, bushless connecting rods and a newly developed turbo, which is integrated into the exhaust manifold and fitted with a divert-air valve that MINI says optimises response. MINI also ditched the five-door model in favour of a three-door and subsequently removed the rear seats, too, so now this is a proper two-seater hot-hatch weapon.
The biggest thing MINI is shouting about is the ‘Ring time, which was rumoured to have been printed onto the dash, but thankfully press shots confirm this isn’t the case on the production car. It completed it in under 8 minutes, which is some 30 seconds faster than its predecessor.
MINI has thought about its use on track and introduced a new oil sump with increased volume and distinctive geometry, something it says ensures reliable oil supply even during the most extreme driving.
The figures: 0-62mph is done in 5.2 seconds and it’ll go on to reach 164mph. The removal of the back seats and some sound deadening, as well as lighter parts used elsewhere including lightweight forged wheels means the kerbweight is down to 1255kg, 85kg down on the regular JCW. What’s confusing though is that you can still opt for heated seats, sat-nav and wireless phone charging, which seems unusual for a model that’s designed for track use.
You might notice those exterior changes, too. Now the body features wheel-arch extenders, a new front apron, double-wing contours and a huge rear-wing. These parts are made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) recycled from the production process of the BMW i3 an i8.
Elsewhere, a new exhaust “inspired by motor racing” should produce plenty of pops, and new sports brakes will help you stop better. Those wheels are 18inch and come in 225/35 tyre sizes and the suspension was honed in on the Nurburgring with a mechanical locking differential up front.
This all sounds great, right? Now the downside. It’s an automatic. And ONLY an automatic. You get an 8-speed steptronic transmission meaning you get paddles on the steering wheel but no clutch pedal.
MINI has said that 3000 models will be built in the Oxford plant, but only 575 destined for the UK; prices start at £33,895.