Review MINI John Cooper Works GP (2020)

28 Jul 2021, 9:44  •  Review  •  Door koen

The new MINI John Cooper Works GP is MINI’s fastest and most expensive hot hatch ever. On the GP circuit of the Nürburgring and in the vicinity of the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife AutoRAI.nl makes the first meters in this 306 hp hot hatchback!

MINI John Cooper Works GP is the fastest and most expensive

MINI built 2,000 units per generation of the first two GP generations. That is 3,000 units of this third generation. They have all been sold already. So after reading this review, do not sprint to the MINI/BMW dealer, because getting a copy is no longer possible. Unless you have good connections.

The Netherlands will receive forty units of the MINI JCW GP

The Netherlands will also receive forty units of the MINI JCW GP. They were forgiven in no time, without buyers having literally driven one meter into the new GP. The confidence was simply there that MINI was going to make a desirable car of the new GP3 – as this hot hatchback is popularly called. Did that really work? Um, yes. Or rather: a resounding YES with capitals.

Nürburgring

We drive the new MINI John Cooper Works GP as said in Germany. On historic ground: the Nürburgring GP circuit. We probably don’t need to explain the connection with the JCW GP. MINI has rented the GP-strecke for some exciting hot laps. Then we get the keys to test the GP in the vicinity of the Nürburgring.

MINI John Cooper Works GP

We are not allowed on the Nordschleife. From an insurance point of view, that will be a difficult story. Not a problem, because the area around the Nürburgring is known for its beautiful views, strong differences in height and excellent asphalted spaghetti bends. So we hope it will be fun. But first: on the track.

MINI John Cooper Works GP (2020) at Nürburgring – REVIEW – AutoRAI TV

MINI JCW GP top speed

What a rap thing this MINI JCW GP is. On the straight we reach far above 210 km/h, after that we can fully anchor again. The brake pedal is easy to dose and gives a lot of feeling. You can therefore slow it down again in a very controlled manner. Speeding up is much easier. Not surprising, because under the hood is a 2.0 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with an abundance of power.

306 hp and 450 Nm MINI

The four-cylinder produces 306 hp between 5,000 and 6,250 rpm, which is 75 peekaa’s more than in the MINI John Cooper Works. The torque is 450 Nm and is available from 1,750 rpm. As a result, you have bins pulling power at the bottom. Strike through to the redline is possible, but not necessary. But because the drivetrain also sounds very racy, we can’t resist pulling it all the way through to just before the rev limiter. Addictive!

MINI automatic transmission

MINI couples the four-cylinder engine to an 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. The first two GPs had a manual gearbox. So the new GP is an automatic. A logical choice according to MINI, since the majority of customers today prefer an automatic. Moreover, the character of the engine fits much better with an automatic transmission. Thanks to super-fast gear changes, there is virtually no interruption of the acceleration, so you go even faster.

The eight-speed automatic transmission rattles smoothly through all resistance. He can shift gears himself, or you can determine the shifting moment yourself with 3D-printed paddle shifters behind the steering wheel or with the poker. As it should be, pulling is upshifting and pushing downshifts.

Hankook Ventus S1 Evo3 Tires

Thanks to a mechanical lock with approximately 30 percent locking function, you can step on your gas very early in a bend. The front train then drags the rest through it perfectly. The grip is extremely high. That’s also because we’re riding on Hankook Ventus S1 Evo3 tires specially developed for the GP. They have – in dry conditions – a lot of grip. You can hit the gas earlier than you think when cornering.

Especially if you enable GP Mode. In this mode, traction control and ESP give the driver more freedom to have fun. Something that is very possible with this MINI JCW GP, because what a cool device this is, damn it.

Torque steer

Compared to the MINI John Cooper Works, the wheel suspension has been lowered by 10 millimeters for better handling. The car reacts super directly to steering input, gives a lot of steering feel but has a rough steering behavior. Thanks to ‘torque steer’ you sometimes have your hands full with this MINI.

MINI JCW GP top speed

The exhaust note is one to ‘frame’. Phew, what a raw roar sounds from the 90 millimeter wide exhaust pipes. Exhaust rumble and bangs during up and down gears complete the GP party.

MINI 285 km/h

And how fast is all that? Sprinting full throttle from 0 to 100 km/h takes 5.2 seconds. The top speed is unlimited and is 265 km/h. Yet we already hear stories around us that the JCW GP can go much faster. Speeds of 285 km/h are already being achieved on the German autobahn. In a MINI! guns!

Hatchback MINI JCW GP on track

The JCW GP holds its own not only on the track, but also on the public road. MINI applies less sound insulation and uses stronger mufflers. And that results in a more hardcore driving experience, something that fits perfectly with this car. The hot hatchback is even so hardcore that air conditioning is missing. Weight saving of course. Speaking of which, it doesn’t have a back seat. Saves a few pounds.

MINI JCW GP

De in chili red uitgevoerde balk achter de stoelen lijkt op een torsiebalk maar is het niet. De balk heeft vooral een praktische functie: voorkomen dat bagage naar voren vliegt bij een stevige remactie bijvoorbeeld. De daadwerkelijke carrosserieversteviging zit onder de auto: een lichtgewicht aluminium frame.

Time to let the MINI JCW GP cool down a bit and take a closer look at the car. Only then do you notice the differences compared to a regular MINI John Cooper Works with 231 hp.

Behind the lightweight 18-inch wheels, for example, are large pancake-sized brake discs (360 mm at the front) with Chili Red-colored brake calipers with JCW logo. Furthermore, the GP3 has a rear spoiler with two ‘storeys’ for extra downforce, a red GP logo in the grille, a 12 o’clock marking on the steering wheel and of course very striking wheel arches.

CFRP coating MINI

The flared wheel arches are made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic, or carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) as it’s called. The new MINI John Cooper Works GP is the BMW Group’s first production model with a visible matt CFRP coating. You have to love it, but it is certainly striking.

Racing Grey MINI JCW GP

When it comes to color, there is no choice. A JCW GP always has a Racing Gray metallic exterior color in combination with Melting Silver metallic on the roof and side mirror caps. To top it off, the GP has beautiful and especially well-fitting bucket seats with thick cheeks, a digital instrumentation that can also be found in the electric MINI Cooper SE, GP logos on the door sills and red belts as icing on the cake. All units have individual numbering on the front wheel arch panels and on the dashboard panel: from ‘0001’ to ‘3000’.

MINI JCW GP options

All in all very complete. But do know that there is an option package. The ‘MINI JCW GP Package communication package’ will cost you 3,000 euros extra. You get a theft alarm system, electrically heated front seats, air conditioning with two zones, a DAB tuner, a navigation system with 8.8-inch touchscreen, wireless charging option for smartphones and a center armrest with storage option.

Conclusion MINI JCW GP

The Dutch starting price starts at 61,900 euros, of which 18,089 euros in BPM. With an option package you end up at 64,900 euros. Lots of money? Yes, that’s true. But on the other hand also a bargain. Because just buy a Porsche 718 Cayman, Alpine A110 or Lotus Elise. Then you are often more expensive. Bottom line, this MINI JCW GP is simply the tastiest MINI in years. An old school tearing iron that makes you feel like a kid again. Every ride a smile, that’s what you have to do it for. Those forty buyers in the Netherlands are going to have a lot of fun.

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