Sporty Mini has 'max' factor
The new limited-edition Mini John Cooper Works GP brings an authentic race car feel to everyday driving
A limited-edition road car with race track-developed technology, the Mini John Cooper Works GP, the sportiest and fastest production model ever built under the nameplate of the premium brand, will make its world debut at the Paris Motor Show at the end of the month.
Production of a limited edition of just 2,000 units will start later this year.
Extensively equipped with John Cooper Works motor sport technology, this two- seater boasts outstanding performance to match its distinctive looks.
An extensively modified four-cylinder turbo engine capable of developing 160 kW/ 218 hp, adjustable coilover suspension, an extra- powerful sports brake system and model-specific alloy wheels and sports tyres all add up to superb handling and outstanding driving enjoyment.
The standard-fitted high-traction sports tyres offer cornering grip, assured braking response and impressive performance. And with an unladen weight of 1,160 kilograms, the car is one of the lightest sports cars in its class.
The balance between the engine, the suspension and the aerodynamics was fine-tuned during intensive testing on the Nürburgring North Loop (the old grand prix circuit), where it clocked up a best lap time of 8:23 minutes – streets ahead of many big-name sports cars from higher segments.
With a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint time of 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 242 km/h (150 mph), the GP brings an authentic race car feel to everyday driving.
The Mini John Cooper Works GP is the latest incarnation of a racing heritage that dates back more than 50 years, to when the legendary sports car designer John Cooper developed a version of the classic Mini that was to become the ultimate fun-to-drive road machine.
This car also carved out a highly successful career in motor sport, where it was three-times winner of the Monte Carlo Rally.
The modern-day Mini has continued this tradition: the John Cooper Works products and models, with their close links to the British-built premium small car, continue to be a byword for top-class motor sport engineering.
The most impressive incarnation to date of this shared passion for motor sport was the 2006 Mini Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Tuning Kit. That model, too, was built in a limited edition of 2,000 units, and soon became a coveted collector’s item.
The Mini John Cooper Works GP is another stunning example of the time-tested principle of taking the natural sporty DNA of the Mini to a new level by combining it with a whole string of features taken straight from the race track.
With this elite sporting machine, the John Cooper Works brand, now a sub-brand of Mini, has raised the stakes yet again – the new model has shaved a whole 18 seconds off its predecessor’s best lap time during testing on the Nürburgring North Loop.
The responsive power and excellent revving ability of the car's 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine are reflected in dazzling performance figures.
The powerplant responds instantly to throttle commands and delivers maximum torque of 260 Newton metres from just 1,750 rpm. For extra punch when accelerating, peak torque can be increased for short periods to 280 Nm from 2,000 rpm, thanks to the overboost function.
Maximum power of 160 kW/218 hp is delivered at 6,000 rpm. It is transferred to the wheels via a six- speed manual transmission, which is precisely matched to the performance characteristics of the engine.
The torque gives the car a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) time of 6.3 seconds. Mid-range acceleration is impressive too, with an 80 to 120 km/h (50–75 mph) time in fifth gear of just 5.9 seconds. Top speed is 242 km/h (150 mph).
The turbocharged engine also delivers outstanding efficiency. This is further enhanced by Minimalism features which keep the average EU test cycle consumption of the car down to 7.1 litres/100 km (39.8 mpg imp), corresponding to CO2 emissions of 165 grams per kilometre.
The car's exclusive suspension technology, too, relies heavily on motor sport. For the first time on a Mini, it features an individually adjustable coilover suspension, which allows ride height to be lowered by up to 20 millimetres. Among other things, this means the suspension set-up can be fine-tuned to different circuit conditions whenever the Mini goes out onto the track.
The front camber has been increased compared with the regular Mini, so that the performance potential of the sports tyres – which differ significantly from road tyres – can be used to full effect, without the penalties of early understeer, inevitably leading to increased tyre wear.
Outstanding braking performance is provided by the racing-derived sports brake system, featuring six-piston fixed-calliper disc brakes, vented at the front. The low-weight 17-inch alloy wheels, again exclusive to the Mini John Cooper Works GP, run on high- traction 215/40 R17 sports tyres.
Optionally, standard-size 205/45 R17 tyres are available on the same wheels, offering a good sporty balance between performance and good handling in wet or low- temperature conditions.
The 7.5 x 17 H2 ET45 wheels, which were specially developed for the car, are derived from the Mini Challenge race car, and feature lightweight contours on flow-formed rims.
With its conspicuous and distinctive appearance, the MINI John Cooper Works GP is upfront about its performance credentials right from the word go. The body is painted in the exclusive colour Thunder Grey metallic, with red for the edging round the bonnet opening as well as for the exterior mirror caps and the side air intakes in the front apron.
John Cooper Works insignia appear on the lower air intake and the tailgate. The final proof of identity is provided by 'GP'-badged side stripes running between the front and rear wheel arches.
Standard specification includes xenon headlights in black shells, foglamps, sun protection glazing, air conditioning, DSC with special GP mode, and a Sport button.
The aerodynamic body parts like the large front and rear aprons, striking side sills and model-specific roof spoiler not only add to the eye-catching appearance but also play an important part in controlling air flow.
A six per cent reduction in drag is reflected in improved fuel economy and a higher top speed.
The exciting race car feel is raised a further notch by an interior ambience which, partly due to the absence of a rear seat bench, is focused entirely on the needs of the driver and “co-driver”, both of whom can savour the performance of the Mini John Cooper Works GP to the full thanks to Recaro sports seats with special GP stitching. Pricing for the car has yet to be confirmed.