- mini will unveil the production version of its john cooper works gp at the los angeles auto show.
- the gp will be the most powerful production mini, with a 302-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter engine.
- production will be limited to 3000 units. deliveries will start in march 2020.
mini has been teasing the reveal of its third-generation gp for months, first showing us its huge wing, then boasting about its sub-eight-minute nürburgring lap, and finally announcing its $45,750 price alongside barely camouflaged photos. today, we saw the john cooper works gp in the flesh at thermal raceway in california.
in addition to letting us ride in its newest go-kart, mini has announced more details about the gp, which will be available to 3000 lucky buyers starting in march 2020 (though mini says half of the limited run is already spoken for). a twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine will provide 302 horsepower, putting the gp in honda civic type r territory. that engine will pair with front-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission with an integrated mechanical differential lock. mini says the combination is good for a 5.0-second zero-to-60-mph time and a top speed of 165 mph.
coaxing 74 extra horsepower out of this engine, which powers the non-gp john cooper works model in detuned form, meant employing a new turbocharger to allow for a reduced compression ratio, enlarging the intake duct, and modifying the intake ducts to support higher fuel-injection pressure. the gp also has a unique thermal management system with extra and enlarged coolant tanks and a separate cooling system for the transmission. the gp also has several chassis modifications that make it more rigid than the rest of the mini clan. it's also 0.4 inch lower than the jcw mini.
during the thermal raceway event, the gp's chassis-development engineer treated us to a few hot laps in the new car. trying to make driving impressions from the passenger seat is a fool's errand, but during our limited time in the car it felt quick and smooth, and it boasted a meaner-sounding exhaust than anything else with a mini badge.
the design is bolder than anything else in this family, too. there's a red stripe running along the doorsill on each side. the mini badges, usually chrome and white, are solid black. the gp's big rear wing is attention-grabbing but par for the course for a hot hatch. much more unusual is the carbon-fiber-reinforced wheel arch trim, which juts out above each wheel. the driver's front wheel is marked in the show models with a 2020 to match the model year, but in customer cars it will be marked with a number between one and 3000, according to the order in which the car was built.
the gp looks special enough to be mini's halo car. we look forward to the chance to drive the car ourselves to find out whether its performance and driving characteristics match its looks.