Much of the focus on Mini’s newest products has focused on its new EV model, almost allowing its third-gen John Cooper Works GP to almost fly under the radar for its world premiere in Los Angeles.
The JCW GP is Mini’s fastest model. That’s not really changing with the newest model, powered by a 306 horsepower, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine that is mated to an 8-speed Steptronic sports transmission with integrated mechanical differential lock for the front wheels.
That powertrain pushes the JCW GP two-seater from 0 to 62 mph in just 5.2 seconds. It has a top speed of about 165 mph. It’s smaller and lighter than its contemporaries and predecessor, it is the fastest Mini ever produced.
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Not only does the new version go fast, it sounds fast. That happens courtesy of the straight pipe ducting of the exhaust system. It leads into a particularly large rear silencer with a specific interior design. From there, two tailpipes with matte brushed stainless-steel trim and a diameter of 90 millimeters each branch off centrally into the rear apron. Not only does the system sound great, it looks great and offers up impressive performance.
Having the “go” is great, but ensuring that go-kart-like handling that Mini is famous for is imperative and the new JCW GP doesn’t back off there.
“The model-specific connection of the engine, transmission and suspension along with an extremely rigid body structure ensure highly a spontaneous and precise response to steering maneuvers and accelerator pedal movements,” the company noted.
“The particularly outstanding features include an engine mount specially developed for the new Mini John Cooper Works GP. The tight connection of the engine and transmission to the body optimizes drive response.”
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Additionally, the tunnel bridge has been replaced by a solid support for the likewise modified rear axle member. The generously dimensioned, rectangular strut frame provides ideal conditions for a suspension set-up geared towards the very highest levels of lateral acceleration, i.e. hard turns or sudden swerving. At the front end, the suspension connection is optimized by a strut brace.
Part of the focus on the new model zeroes in on making it lighter while making it sporty. The flared wheel arch panels give it that race car look and are manufactured by means of a special process and with a material combination used for the first time by the BMW Group consisting of a thermoplastic substructure and an outer shell made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic — lighter and sporty.
In addition, the two seats and reduced acoustic insulation for the purpose of weight optimization also give the interior of the new JCW GP genuine sports car flair. Optional features for the new MINI John Cooper Works GP include automatic climate control, the Connected Navigation Plus package, which also includes telephony with wireless charging, and an alarm system.
The Connected Media system comes as standard: it displays model-specific information on the 6.5-inch screen in the central instrument panel.
The standard trim also includes a digital instrument cluster on the steering column.
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Earlier this year, Mini expanded its John Cooper Works line-up through the newly updated JCW Clubman and JCW Countryman, which were the most powerful Minis unleashed in 60 years. The JCW GP is expected to arrive midyear 2020 with a price take of $44,900, plus an $850 destination and handling fee. The company plans to produce just 3,000 units out of its plant in Oxford, England.