Small, but perfectly formed. MINI isn’t short on punchy versions in its history books, but even then the new 2020 MINI John Cooper Works GP stands out of the crowd. Offering the most powerful engine in a MINI to-date, the 306 horsepower two-door doesn’t hide its unique nature.
In fact it positively shouts its, thanks to a distinctive body kid. MINI starts with the 3-door hatchback, and then adds a number of functional aero details. There’s a big roof spoiler, for example, with double wing contour, plus a new front apron surround and front spoiler lip. They help cut down on lift.
Larger air intakes are on the front, and there are carbon fiber-reinforced plastic arch trim flares. They mean MINI could use larger wheels – 18-inches shod in 225/35 R 18 tires – as well as optimize the air ducting on the sides. It’s actually a first for BMW Group, which takes recycled CFRP fleece material from the production of the BMW i3 and i8, and then reworks it into body parts for the John Cooper Works GP. They get a matte CFRP coating, too, and are individually numbered.
Racing Grey Metallic paint sits alongside Melting Silver for the roof and side mirror caps. There’s high-gloss Chili Red highlighting on the grille, the lower air intakes, and inside the roof spoiler, while the badging is in metallic matte Rosso Red. The headlamps and Union Jack taillamp clusters are dark-tinted.
The changes aren’t just skin-deep, mind. Compared to the regular car, MINI has added a new engine mount, a solid support for the changed rear axle member, and a strut brace for the front suspension, all to improve stiffness. There’s a mechanical differential lock in the 8-speed Steptronic transmission, which can be locked by up to 31-percent and improve traction in cornering.
As for the engine, that’s something special too. The 4-cylinder 2.0-liter twin-turbo engine delivers 306 horsepower – 75 hp more than in the MINI John Cooper Works – and 332 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 mph arrives in 5.2 seconds, and the top speed is an unrestricted 165 mph.
MINI throws in a model-specific engine oil sump, capable of holding up in even more aggressive cornering. The sports brake system has 4-piston fixed-caliper ventilated-disc brakes on the front wheels and single-piston floating-caliper brakes on the rear. The car is lowered by 10mm versus the standard John Cooper Works model.
Inside, there are two seats with Dinamica/leather trim and red belts. A special John Cooper Works steering wheel has 3D printed detailing and is leather-wrapped, and there are 3D printed metal shift paddles. Automatic climate control is optional, as is an infotainment system with navigation; the Connected Media system – with a 6.5-inch screen – is standard, and there’s a digital instrument cluster on the steering column. That 5-inch color LCD shows things like speed and other metrics.
Now for the sad news. MINI will only be making 3,000 of the John Cooper Works GP model when production kicks off in March 2020, and that number will have to be shared with would-be drivers around the world. Pricing will be confirmed closer to release, but it’s fair to say that this stands a good chance of becoming a modern MINI classic.