[click above pic for larger, desktop wallpaper version]

The current generation MINI is getting a last hurrah in the form of the MINI GP, essentially a MINI Cooper S with the aftermarket John Cooper Works GP Kit installed at the factory. The fastest production MINI ever produced will greet the public at Geneva for the first time. With 218 hp and 180 ft-lbs. of torque, the MINI GP will claw and gnash its way to 60 in under 6.5 seconds and reach an impressive top speed of 146 mph.

Only 444 examples of this mad MINI will be sold for a price around £22,000 ($38,286 US). In addition to the power put out by the JCW kit, the MINI GP also benefits from a diet that shed 88 lbs. from its already supermodel slim weight. Gone, for instance, is the entire backseat, which has been replaced by a beefy strut brace. The sound deadening material is also history and some suspension bits were recast in aluminum, as well.

The MINI GP’s handsome looks come from special 18-inch light-alloy rims and a Thunder Blue/Pure Silver/Chili Red paint scheme (it’s the only one available). Aero tweaks can also be found that not only create a more urgent appearance, but also improve the car’s drag coefficient and downforce.

Tons more pics after the jump and BMW/MINI’s full press release.


'MINI GP' at Geneva Motor Show

02/21/2006
    
    The MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works (JCW) GP Kit will make its first public viewing at the Geneva Motor Show. The fastest, most powerful production MINI ever will reach 62mph in under 6.5 seconds and achieve a top speed of 146mph. The GP has a power output of 218bhp, a stunning 136bhp per litre, and a maximum torque of 245Nm.

Only 2000 of this special production model will be built and 444 are bound for the UK from July onwards. The guide price is £22,000 which includes £10,000 worth of additional equipment if specified on a standard MINI Cooper S. Almost three-quarters of the UK allocation have already been ordered by MINI enthusiasts six months ahead of launch.

In the interests of power to weight ratio, the car weighs approximately 40 kilos less than a standard MINI Cooper S. This has been achieved by modifications to the chassis and engineering tweaks. The longitudinal control arms on the rear axle are now made of aluminium and the sound-deadening material has been taken out.

The entire rear seat bench has been removed. In its place is a very neat flat loading area that can be folded up in a Z-arrangement for easy access to two additional storage boxes.

Standard equipment includes: limited slip differential, Dynamic Stability Control, Recaro sports seats in Panther Black leather, single CD, air-conditioning and a multi-function steering wheel. The car also features JCW sports brakes, JCW sports suspension and exclusive low-profile tyres and 18-inch light-alloy rims.

The special edition will only be available in exclusive metallic paintwork called Thunder Blue combined with a Pure Silver roof and Chili Red door mirrors.

A new aerodynamics package has been added that significantly improves the car’s drag coefficient and downforce on both front and rear axles, enhancing the driving experience at high speeds. New highlights are the front and rear air dams, the extra low side-sills, and the underfloor cover, as well as a wing-shaped rear spoiler.

The ‘MINI GP’ will join the existing JCW range of aftermarket and production option kits. The first engine tuning kit was launched in 2003 as an aftermarket option, and over 10,000 have been sold worldwide since that date. From the end of 2005, the kit became available as an Oxford production line fit and a new aftermarket version was launched for the MINI Cooper S with automatic transmission.