Vital Stats

Engine:
1.6L Turbo I4
Power:
211 HP / 207 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Manual
0-60 Time:
6.2 Seconds (62 MPH)
Top Speed:
150 MPH
Drivetrain:
Front-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
2,750 LBS
Seating:
2
MPG:
NA
About three weeks prior to this brief yet balls-to-the-wall drive on the Spanish island of Mallorca, I saw that Mini USA announced pricing for the keenly anticipated Mini John Copper Works GP. And that number would be – *a-hem* – $39,950 for starters.

I am always intent upon finding the pinnacle of what a certain car promises me, and almost at any cost. Almost. When I think "steaming hatchback," I think of something exactly like this Mini GP, and the steep price doesn't squelch my pleasure. They're only building 2,000 of them anyway, and the units coming to the US will start arriving in owners' hands on March 16 of next year. These buyers will be extremely happy and remorse-free.

Five scorched laps at the very Mini-perfect Circuito Mallorca RennArena showed me all.

Driving Notes
  • To me, the previous Mini JCW GP edition (the one I'm driving here is referred to by the development team as the "Mk II") came off as one of those well-meant but less-than-satisfying brand exercises – too soft and not separated enough from the stock JCW hatch.
  • The 211 horsepower from the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder are just three horses better than the $30,800 standard Mini John Cooper Works, and the 207 pound-feet of overboost torque between 2,000 and 5,100 rpm remains the same.
  • The claimed 165 pounds shaved off, adjustable coil-over competition-grade dampers, 17-inch high performance (and not run-flat) Kumho Ecsta tires on lighter dedicated alloys, sturdy cross-brace where the rear seats used to be, sport brake system and GP aero pieces all have their desired effect on the hottest Mini two-door.
  • Acceleration is now estimated at 6.3 seconds to 62 mph (i.e. 100 kmh) and top speed is let out to 150 mph.
  • I talked in the pit area prior to my laps with Mini GP head of development Jörg Weidinger and asked him point blank if this GP was a soft porker like the first one. He assured me that, no, this one was the real deal. He says the adjustable suspension is extraordinary on this edition and both wheel camber and toe-in front and rear have been radically adjusted to improve turn-in response and straight-line thrust.
  • Latched in to the GP's cabin, I felt right at home and eagerly awaited my laps. Mini chose to have the laps policed by one of their champion Mini Challenge drivers from Germany in his own Challenge car, and it was just me and Racer Boy out there.
  • I obediently performed Lap One at about eight-tenths and did the responsible display to one and all that safety comes first and I was not out there to race. I was already reminded again why I love this six-speed Getrag manual shifter so damned much.
  • Laps Two through Four turned into a downright Mini Challenge race weekend. The boy in front of me was good and I was sure he wasn't giving it his absolute all, but we were certifiably rocketing along. In some ways, I can see that dynamically the GP street car is better than even the Challenge car. This setup is killer.
  • Each time we passed the main straight and headed into two speed-shaving hairpins that fed us into a fantastic long and drawn-out descending right-hander at full throttle, nothing I felt made me think Mini could have done better than this.
  • All of the chassis notes engineer Weidinger shared with me in the pits came true under pressure: There is a near total lack of understeer, and the hook-up and Velcro-like adherence of the Kumho tires is incredibly liberating. Losing the run-flats makes a huge difference.
  • Heel-and-toeing is the order of the day and Mini knows about pedal placement. The coil-overs, too, are remarkable. I was cutting apexes immediately and with greater gusto on each successive lap. Coming down off the apex and back onto tarmac caused no jitter, no slide, and I didn't need to let up at all.
  • The braking sections was where I got severe sphincter-pucker behind my German pal in the Challenge car, but the damned things kept on successfully reeling in all my straight-line enthusiasm.
  • It's always difficult for me to tell whether or not all the aero dolling-up is actually helping me with downforce into curves or with neutral resistance on the straights. Some of the treatment seems a bit cosmetic.
My conclusion after this brief spin? We finally have a proper Mini GP car, kids. All of the tweaks do a soon-to-be-famous Mini make. It's no longer just a mild brand exercise.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 101 Comments
      Du K
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wouldn't it be awesome if the mini cooper was rwd? That would be one hell of a pocket rocket.
      The Wasp
      • 2 Years Ago
      I know horsepower isn't the only thing that matters but when you're paying an extra $9,000 I feel like a 3hp increase is kind of a slap in the face.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Mazdaspeed6
        • 2 Years Ago
        What does this have to do with Obama you dumb b*%tch. Mini's have been overpriced since Day 1.
        peaceinmiddleeast
        • 2 Years Ago
        1) "Age that Obama inherited from George Bush, who erased a gigantic surplus" is more accurate. 2) Leave politics out of here b*%tch. LMAO
          Monkaroo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @peaceinmiddleeast
          Both you guys need to cool your jets. Why are liberals so angry. BTW inflation is on the rise. You can blame who you want, but it is affecting us ALL.
      projekt7
      • 2 Years Ago
      I traded in a Cooper S JCW for a E90 335i M sport. Sure, the BMW is much more powerful and will do faster laptimes, but doesn't even come close in terms of the tactile, gokart-like sensations the MINI delivers. This GP is undoubtedly expensive, but those who simply look as price vs laptime are missing the point of this car.
        MacProMan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @projekt7
        amen, lots of morons posting here that have no idea what they are talking about and guessing the majority have never even driven a MINI... Classic idiots
        Gorgenapper
        • 2 Years Ago
        @projekt7
        You sound like the sort of sucker Mini needs to stay in business.
          thequebecerinfrance
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Gorgenapper
          You sound the like people who needs horsepower to compensate for something. Not everything is about horsepower.
      Ernie Mccracken
      • 2 Years Ago
      For 40 grand you could get an old Ferrari, which would fall apart just as often as this.
        thequebecerinfrance
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ernie Mccracken
        Yeah but the parts on the Ferrari would make you sell your house. Minis are unreliable? I don't know anyone who has one.
          Shiftright
          • 2 Years Ago
          @thequebecerinfrance
          Not unreliable per se, but not exactly trouble free, and their interiors are flimsy from what I've seen
        Indubitably
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ernie Mccracken
        Ernie, that really made me LOL. Thumbs up for you.
      Joe Yau
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't understand why there are so many negative comments about the GP? Obviously this car is not for everyone. That is why Mini is only making 2000 of it. Only people who appreciate it will buy it. This same notion can apply on why people buy a 458 for 300K that only seats two with trunk space for a brief case. Why people buy a Porsche GT3 for 115K when it is absolutely impractical, only seat 2 and ride like a rock and yet both brand new 458 and GT3 are all sold out. I agree the price is steep but consider all the engineering/testing that has gone into making the GP the price might start to make sense. Any one can but a cheap car and start throwing after market parts on it but it the final product tested in a wind tunnel and run laps on the Ring to fine tune the chassis? Its all "I think it will work" for those who throw parts on to their car.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Joe Yau
        [blocked]
          thequebecerinfrance
          • 2 Years Ago
          Faster does not mean more fun. Lighter cars are more fun. But most people don't get this.
          Joe Yau
          • 2 Years Ago
          running 18 secs faster on the Ring then the previous GP with no significant power boost speaks volume. which other car with a 1.6L engine can do better? there is a lot of engineering that goes into making that lap time. a bigger engine and awd is the easy way out. mini decided to go the hard way.
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
      Arthur Serer
      • 2 Years Ago
      Or I can buy a used Cayman S
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Arthur Serer
        [blocked]
      Gorgenapper
      • 2 Years Ago
      Mini apologists are hilarious in their blind devotion to the brand. This much is evident when reading through the comments on this article, and on previous articles featuring this car. It's not hard to understand why this car gets so much negative feedback. It's a small FWD car with a history of being unreliable, and it is decked out in a body kit, plastered with stickers and has only 211hp under the hood. There wouldn't be nearly as much 'wow WTF' moments if it had been priced closer to $34k ~ $35k. I get that it's a limited edition, but what does that really say about the Mini and its buyers if they're willing to drop $40k on this thing? Are they more conscious of its prestige and image value rather than actual performance? This seems to be the case as you can get far more powerful and better handling cars - with more reliability and practicality - for less than $40k.
      twofingersneak
      • 2 Years Ago
      so who thinks that $26k for an FR-S or BRZ with only 200hp is wayyyyy too expensive now?
        The Wasp
        • 2 Years Ago
        @twofingersneak
        I still think those are overpriced -- not when compared with this car, though.
        Ernie Mccracken
        • 2 Years Ago
        @twofingersneak
        Nobody. Where did you get the idea that people think those cars are overpriced?
          Nemebean
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ernie Mccracken
          How about every Autoblog comments section for every FR-S/BRZ article. :-)
          Matthew Davis
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ernie Mccracken
          And then some of those people actually drive the FR-S or BRZ on the proper roads for them and they understand that $26k is not too much for a modest sales-volume car like these.
        johnbravo6
        • 2 Years Ago
        @twofingersneak
        Well, when they release a turbocharged version, and make fewer than 2000 of them, that will be a relevant comment. Until then, the MCS is actually cheaper than BRZ/FRS
      A M
      • 2 Years Ago
      Meh. Our 2003 Subaru WRX will smoke it 0-60, take you snowboarding and cost half as much. I have no time for the Mini, it's for poseurs.
      analogjesse
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yeah. I'll stick with my '07 M Coupe over this overpriced FWD teenager car.
      k.naz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Mini, y u so expensive?!
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