Mini’s of today seem nothing like what they were back in the swinging 60’s. They are refined and though slightly larger than the Fiat 500 packs in way more punch. What we have here is a road legal missile in the form of a 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP. Just 2000 units would be produced for the die-hard Mini aficionado. This is the fastest Mini ever and at 218HP, the most powerful.
2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP Edition | First Drive
My first experience on the Mini JCW GP was during the Mini Event which took place during the end of 2012. The corner speed it achieved and stability in the tight chicane floored me. How can a car that weighs almost nothing (by today’s standards) have so much grip? Okay maybe it had a tuned suspension and diffusers to attain more down force but what about the acceleration out of turn 16 and into the start/stop straight of Dubai Autodrome.
Just to clear things out a bit here, this Mini wont sling-shoot out with the ferocity of a Nissan GT-R or even the likes of a Nissan 370Z, but you have to understand that the power-plant is just a 1,600cc turbocharged four banger, less than half the size of the 370Z. But it does most things that the 370Z does!! Its power plant, though small in volume, manages to churn out 218 horses. That’s rather commendable since its contemporary, the Renault Clio RS, with a 2.0L engine manages 203HP. The acceleration is linear; the rev builds up fast and pushes us against the Recaro seats throughout its entire 6 speed. So when the opportunity came knocking to try out the Mini John Cooper Works GP for the weekend, I readily canceled all my weekend commitments.
The 1.6L turbocharged fireball of an engine produces 218HP and 192lb-ft of torque and shares engine internals from the John Cooper Works models such as a new high-strength cylinder head, reinforced pistons, lighter camshafts and the addition of BMW’s Valvetronic variable valve timing and lift setup.
But that’s not all. Along with the engine internal works the GP also undergoes substantial suspension strengthening. It rides on adjustable coil overs and sit 0.8” lower on the front and 0.6” lower in the rear than the regular John Cooper Works.
Braking has been upgraded and two extra pistons are provided raising the bar to a 6 piston caliper which flexes its grip on an enlarged 13” vented rotors, the rotors also increased its size by 2” from a stock John Cooper Works. The caliper themselves are painted red for a sport car contrast look and has a bolt on counterweight, similar to those found on the Audi S models, which provides for a vibration “free” stopping under extreme conditions. This car feels planted and does not waver under heavy braking.
The exterior gets a nod too. The hood scoop is bordered in red decals with “GP” prominently placed, there is a carbon fiber rear wing, rims exclusive to the GP and rear diffusers which look like it came out of Maranello’s wind tunnel treatment.
The Mini John Cooper Works GP comes in a 6 speed transmission and this works well with die hard Mini fans. Though the throw is relatively long the changes felt precise and connected. The engine and tranny combo on the GP is overwhelmingly user friendly and it was a peach to cruise and attack the ever so frequent bends on Dubai’s roads. The ride is rather plush and switching on the “Sport” mode did not make any difference in ride comfort. What we got was a nice burble coming from the exhaust under downshifts. This thing backfires, a true spit fire. The aural pleasure of it all makes for very satisfying driving dynamics.
Just to put things into perspective the Mini John Cooper Works GP is just 9kgs heavier than a regular Mini hardtop which is powered by the 1.6L naturally aspirated engine and a mammoth 45kgs lighter than the Mini John Cooper Works edition thanks mainly to the deletion of the rear seats.
The Mini John Cooper Works GP is a two seater, the rear seats have been replaced by a brace bar. Recaro seats add comfort and lumbar support. It is a special Mini and I fail to understand why BMW has made just 2000 units. Maybe if we all wrote to BMW they would build some more. But then again ‘specials’ are supposed to be made in limited numbers. Only 5 units are destined for Dubai and since 1 unit has already been sold there aren’t many GPs left. Get it fast, and if you are one of those fortunate enough to pick one up, rest assured the Mini GP would bring a smile to your face whenever you fire it up.
|2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP|
|Displacement||1.6L turbocharged inline 4|
|Rated Output||218 hp|
|Rated Torque||192 lb-ft|
|Transmission – type of gearshift||6 speed manual|
|Wheels||17-inch four-spoke wheels, 215/17|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||6.2 s|
|Top speed||250 kmph|
|Price (AED)||150,000 (Discounted from 170,000)|
|Mini at AGMC contact details||+971 4 454 1020|
** Price of the Mini John Cooper Works GP is inclusive of : 3 years / 50,000 kms service package and 2 years unlimited kms warranty
Images by Brian Donegan :