Mini’s John Cooper Works GP models have always been a ridiculous caricature of a race-inspired hot hatch. The first GP was perfection, which explains their equally ridiculous resale prices these days. It takes just the right person to appreciate the JCW GP, but those who do hold them tight and treat them dearly. Only 3,000 will be made for worldwide consumption.
This new one is likely to be more of the same, but with one major change; paddle shifts instead of three-pedals. If the GP’s job is to ape modern motorsports for the street, the paddles make sense.
Its over-the-top aerodynamic treatments definitely don’t make sense, but that just makes it all the more ridiculous. Which is good, natch.
Big wing. Oh man, it has a big wing. And I love it.
The aerodynamic pieces of this car are the most ridiculous possible, with massive fender flares at each of its four wheel openings. From this image below, you can see the flares actually extend out into something of a finned barge board or exaggerated wing endplate. It’s crazy, but oh so cool.
On to the specs. It’ll be quick enough with 306 horsepower—75 more than the non-GP John Cooper Works—and a tremendous 332 lb-ft of torque. This power is shifted through an eight-speed Steptronic transmission with a mechanical locking differential. All of that conspires to propel the tiny two-seater to a 5.2-second 0-60 mph time.
The back seats are gone from this lightweight front-wheel-drive sports car. Replaced instead by a strut tower brace, as was the case with the two previous JCW GP generations.
That special engine gets has a revised TwinPower Turbo and double VANOS variable camshafts for more boost and earlier power delivery. Max torque arrives at just 1,750 RPM, while the full 306 horses are available at 5,000 RPM. It also has GP-specific oil sump with more volume for “extremely sporty driving” allowing reliable oil supply even in high-G cornering and braking.
To help this car grip, the wheels are 18x8" lightweight—a little under 20 pounds—units fitted with sticky 225/35 Hankook tires at all four corners. That hides a massive set of 360mm brake discs at the front with four-piston calipers.
No word yet on how much this little machine will cost, but don’t expect it to be inexpensive. The “regular” John Cooper Works three-door starts at $33,400. Others are reporting starting prices between $44,900 and $45,750, so figure on about ten grand more than a Honda Civic Type R.
You buy a hatchback for practicality, but the JCW GP pulls all of that practicality out of the equation. It’s ridiculous to look at, ridiculous to pay for, and probably equally ridiculous to drive. But if you’re the kind of ridiculous person to buy one of these, you’ll probably freakin’ love it. Get in line quick, you raving lunatic, because they’re likely to go quick.
I might just join you in line...