A limited-edition road car with race track-developed technology, the MINI John Cooper Works GP is the sportiest and fastest production model ever built under the nameplate of this British premium brand. It will make its North American debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show (Nov 28), and production of just 2,000 units worldwide has begun this autumn. For the US, only 500 will be imported, and will be priced at $39,950 (includes $700 Destination and Handling charge).
Extensively equipped with John Cooper Works motor sport technology, this two-seater boasts outstanding performance to match its distinctive looks. An extensively modified four-cylinder turbocharged engine capable of developing 211 hp, and up to 207 lb-ft of torque with the overboost function. An adjustable coilover suspension as well as an extra-powerful sports brake system, model-specific alloy wheels and sports tires ensure superb handling and an exhilarating driving experience. Topping the engine compartment off is a polished aluminum strut tower brace that ties the front strut towers together for improved handling and structural consistency, especially in the turns. The standard-fitted high-traction sports tires offer awesome cornering grip, impeccable braking response and impressive performance.
The balance between the engine, the suspension and the aerodynamics was fine-tuned during intensive testing on the Nürburgring North Loop (the old grand prix circuit), where the MINI John Cooper Works GP promptly clocked up a best lap time of 8:23 minutes - well ahead of many big-name sports cars from higher-priced segments. With its 0 to 60 mph sprint time of 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 150 mph (242km/h), the GP brings an authentic race car feel to everyday driving.
While the horsepower is slightly less than the 2006 GP due to the newer emissions standards, MINI expects fuel economy improvements for the MY2013 MINI John Cooper Works GP compared to its predecessor (2006 MINI GP EPA Estimate: 27 mpg Highway / 20 mpg City).
Note: Official EPA fuel economy estimates were not available at the time of this publication.
The MINI John Cooper Works GP is the latest incarnation of a racing heritage that dates back more than 50 years, to when the legendary sports car designer John Cooper developed a version of the classic Mini that was to become the ultimate fun-to-drive road machine. This car also carved out a highly successful career in motor sport, where it was three-time winner of the Monte Carlo Rally. The modern-day MINI has continued this tradition: the John Cooper Works products and models, with their close links to the British-built premium small car, continue to be a byword for top-class motor sport engineering. The most impressive incarnation to date of this shared passion for motor sport was the 2006 MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Tuning Kit. That model, too, was built in a limited edition of 2,000 units worldwide, and soon became a coveted collector's item. A total of 415 were imported into the U.S.
The 2013 MINI John Cooper Works GP is another stunning example of the time-tested principle of taking the natural sporty DNA of the MINI to a new level by combining it with a whole string of features taken straight from the race track. With this elite sporting machine, the John Cooper Works brand, now a sub-brand of MINI, has raised the stakes yet again - the new model has shaved a whole 18 seconds off its predecessor's best lap time during testing on the Nürburgring North Loop. This new best time reflects continuous advances in engineering, which have been tuned to the highest performance standards by John Cooper Works.
The responsive power and revving ability of the MINI John Cooper Works GP's 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine are reflected in dazzling performance figures. This zesty character comes down to a cutting-edge engineering package and extensive technology transfers from the world of motor sport. Among the highlights are the aluminum cylinder block and bearing mounts, reinforced pistons, a sturdier cylinder head, low-weight crankshafts and sodium-filled exhaust valves. Twin-scroll turbocharging produces high boost pressure, and direct injection ensures precisely controlled fuel supply, while fully variable valve control, based on the BMW Group's VALVETRONIC technology, helps to maximize engine responsiveness and efficiency.
The state-of-the-art powerplant responds instantly to throttle commands. The familiar 1.6 liter, four cylinder engine has been tuned to produce more power with horsepower increasing to 211 and torque registering in at 192 lb-ft, or 207 lb-ft with the overboost
function. Maximum power of 211 hp is delivered at 6,000 rpm. It is transferred to the wheels via a six-speed manual transmission, which is precisely matched to the performance characteristics of the engine.
The astonishing torque gives the MINI John Cooper Works GP a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.9 seconds. Top speed is 150 mph. The MINI John Cooper Works GP's exclusive suspension technology, too, relies heavily on motor sport. For the first time on a MINI, it features an individually adjustable coilover suspension, which allows ride height to be lowered by up to 20 millimeters. Among other things, this means the suspension set-up can be fine-tuned to different circuit conditions whenever the MINI goes out onto the track.
The front shock absorbers are mounted upside down in the tube, with the piston rod pointing down, in order to increase longitudinal and lateral stiffness. The front camber has been increased compared with the regular MINI John Cooper Works, so that the performance potential of the sports tires - which differ significantly from road tires - can be used to full effect, without the penalties of early understeer, inevitably leading to increased tire wear. Other features include reduced front-wheel toe-in and increased rear camber, which alters the forward weight transfer so as to give more speed and more neutral steering when driving close to the limit. At the same time, the reduced toe-in improves agility and cornering confidence.
Outstanding braking performance is provided by the MINI John Cooper Works GP's racing-derived sports brake system, featuring six-piston fixed-calliper disc brakes, vented at the front. The front discs are 330 millimeters (13.0 inches) in diameter and 25 millimeters (.98 inches) thick, with 280 x 10 mm (11.02 x .39 inch) discs at the rear. The low-weight 17-inch alloy wheels, again exclusive to the MINI John Cooper Works GP, run on high-performance 215/40 R17 sport tires. The signature GP four-spoke alloy wheels, measuring 17 x 7.5 inches, were specially developed for the MINI John Cooper Works GP and are derived from the MINI Challenge race car, and feature lightweight contours on flow-formed rims.
On the MINI John Cooper Works GP, the DSC Dynamic Stability Control is not combined with DTC, as would normally be the case, but with a special GP racing mode. Under hard driving, the driver may often not want ASC engine power reduction cutting in, so instead this system offers just ASC braking, based on the EDLC (Electronic Differential Lock Control) sub-function. The EDLC software brakes the wheel on the inside of the turn, and the drive power that would otherwise be lost at this wheel is redirected to the outer wheel, where the contact forces are greater.
With its conspicuous and distinctive appearance, the MINI John Cooper Works GP is upfront about its performance credentials right from the word go. The body is painted in the exclusive color Thunder Grey metallic, with red for the edging round the bonnet opening as well as for the exterior mirror caps and the side air intakes in the front apron. John Cooper Works insignia appear on the lower air intake and the tailgate. The final proof of identity is provided by "GP"-badged side stripes running between the front and rear wheel arches.
The standard specification of the MINI John Cooper Works GP includes black xenon headlights in black shells, foglamps, automatic climate control, alarm, DSC with special GP mode, and a Sport button. The aerodynamic body parts like the large front and rear aprons, striking side sills and model-specific roof spoiler not only add to the eye-catching appearance but also play an important part in controlling air flow. The rear diffuser, together with the underside panels and the roof-edge spoiler, reduce lift forces at the rear axle by 90 percent, for impeccable handling control even under high-speed cornering and when driving at or near the limit.
A 6 percent reduction in drag is reflected in improved fuel economy and a higher top speed. The air flow round the front of the car has been significantly improved with the help of a large spoiler and full aerodynamic shielding of the engine compartment underside. This aerodynamic shield not only reduces drag and front axle lift, but also improves air flow through the engine compartment. Slits in the center of the shield help to expel air from the intercooler. The slits are situated in an area of fast air flow and high vacuum force, so that the air is literally sucked out of the engine compartment, thereby improving the performance of the intercooler.
The exciting race car feel is raised a further notch by an interior ambience which, partly due to the absence of a rear seat bench, is focused entirely on the needs of the driver and "co-driver". Both will savor the performance of the MINI John Cooper Works GP to the full thanks to Recaro sports seats with special GP stitching.
To further demonstrate the GP's intentions, a rear brace is added to tie both sides of the rear unibody together for improved stiffness and as a result, improved and more predictable handling. The tubular brace is bright red and offsets the interior incredibly. Silver end caps finish this brace off appropriately. A cargo guard prevents items from sliding forward out of the luggage compartment in sporty driving situations. The John Cooper Works thick-rimmed leather steering wheel and the gearshift knob with chrome ring and red shift diagram help give the driver a more direct feel for the car. Finally, with features like the anthracite roof liner, the piano black interior surfaces and door grips, and the anthracite tachometer and speedometer dials, this interior also helps to improve the driver's concentration and focus on the road.
Interested customers can now place their order via a special toll-free number that has been established for the GP (1-800-610-5269). The first vehicle deliveries will take place in March 2013.
MINI in the US
MINI is an independent brand of the BMW Group. In the United States, MINI USA operates as a business unit of BMW of North America, LLC, located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey and includes the marketing and sales organizations for the MINI brand. The MINI USA sales organization is represented in the U.S. through a network of 115 MINI passenger car dealers in 38 states. MINI USA began selling vehicles in the U.S. in 2002 with the introduction of the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S Hardtops. Since then, the MINI Brand in the U.S. has grown to encompass a model range of six unique vehicles.