The Mini Cooper is known for being complimented as a go-kart for the road. Even though it is a lot bigger than the original version as seen in the film Bourne Identity. The Cooper offers a spirited driving experience with its taut chassis, responsive steering and peppy engine. It’s not one to battle the stupidly quick modern sportscars but it allows you to drive on the edge while having fun. This new extreme version is the most fun for a track day, meet the latest generation of the Mini John Cooper Works GP.
The 2019 Mini GP is strictly a two-seater model built upon the 3-door variant of the regular Mini Cooper. Its reworked twin-turbo 2.0-litre engine, same as the BMW M135i, is tuned to produce 302bhp and 450Nm. Mini claims the lightweight GP can do 0-100kph in 5.2 seconds and max out at 265kph. The most powerful Mini engine to date uses an 8-speed sports transmission with a mechanical diff-lock for the front wheels and is operated by a model-specific electronic gear selector switch. This performance focussed special edition Mini GP also gets its own exhaust system for its racey soundtrack from the twin-tailpipes in the centre.
It also has its own suspension setup that amplifies the Mini Cooper’s go-kart feeling and was tested intensively at the Nürburgring Nordschliefe where it set a sub-8 minute lap time. The Mini GP is notable wider with a wider track, the body sits lower with optimised single-joint spring strut for the front wheels and multilink rear axle. The camber has been increased on both the front and rear wheels for transmitting lateral forces while cornering fast. Mini has also added a GP mode for the DSC and fitted this hardcore model with better brakes too.
The production-spec Mini John Cooper Works GP looks a lot like the concept model with all the aerodynamic enhancements. It gets the large roof spoiler with double wing contours, bigger vents in the sports front bumper with a front lip spoiler as well to reduce lift. The GP’s flared wheel arches feature optimised air ducting and use a mix of cool materials – a thermoplastic substructure with an outer shell made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic. These arches house the 18-inch alloys that weigh less than 9kg each. There are plenty of GP logos integrated into various parts of the external design.
The cabin of the Mini GP is also littered with red accents and GP logos. The rear seats are replaced by a cross-brace behind the sports seats up front which also acts as a shield to prevent any luggage from sliding forwards when you’re on the road to the track. It also has 3D-printed aluminium paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. While the media system with the 6.5-inch display in the central instrument panel is standard fit, the Connected Navigation Plus package is an optional extra. Auto AC is also an extra on the Mini GP. Meanwhile, the GP’s 5-inch digital instrument cluster is shared with the Mini Electric.
Only 3000 units of this third-gen Mini John Cooper Works GP will be built with deliveries to start in 2020. Would you pick one of these over the Honda Civic Type R or the Mercedes AMG A45S? Share your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to The Auto Loons for more cool updates from the car world.