Car Enthusiast - click here to access the home page


 



Revisited: MINI JCW GP. Image by MINI.

Revisited: MINI JCW GP
The MINI GP is expensive, exclusive and about as much fun as you can have in a hatchback without rear seats.

   



<< earlier review     later review >>

Reviews homepage -> MINI reviews

| Test drive | MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch |

Overall rating: 5 5 5 5 5

Good points: feel, precision, unhinged character
Not so good: quite niche, loss of rear seats, whopping price

Key Facts

Model driven: MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch
Price as tested: £28,790
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Transmission: six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: three-door, two-seat hatchback
Rivals: Ford Fiesta ST Mountune, Mégane Renaultsport, Toyota GT86
CO2 emissions: 165g/km
Combined economy: 39.8mpg
Top speed:150mph
0-62mph: 6.3 seconds
Power: 218hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 280Nm at 2,000- to 5,100rpm (on overboost)

Our view:

Bonkers. No other word for it. A £28,790 MINI? That and it's got no back seats, as a strut brace takes up the rear space. Yes, the MINI John Cooper Works GP (let's just call it the GP from now on) is absolutely bonkers, but brilliantly so. It has to be too, to justify that price. It's much more than merely a stickers, wheels and aero pack too; nice as all of those are, MINI's chassis engineers have busied themselves creating the most focused and downright entertaining MINI to date.

It's all been done in the pursuit of speed; not necessarily raw speed though, as the 1.6-litre engine's output has 'only' 218hp, around 7hp more than a standard John Cooper Works model. This car is all about the way it goes about handling it. Those chassis changes are revelatory, the GP sitting some 20mm lower at the front and 15mm at the rear, while the dampers are individually adjustable coil-over units and the front shocks are mounted upside down to increase both longitudinal and lateral stiffness. Front camber and toe revisions, plus uncompromising GP-specific sports tyres (developed by Kumho) all add up to a more agile package.

Once those tyres are warm at least; in the damp, when cold the GP's a serious handful, the engine's linear, eager pull causing plenty of traction issues. That's even with the traction and stability control systems turned on. Once those tyres are warm and the roads a bit drier the GP is a sensation, its steering beautifully weighted and so very quick, the rim brimming with information and keeping you busy. That alone means the GP isn't for all; indeed some might find it a bit too intense. Its propensity to move around under you requires your constant attention and is key to its unhinged appeal.

Which is exactly why it's so entertaining; as small, feisty hatchbacks go the GP is a refreshing hit of old-school madness, wrapped up in a smart, if very expensive package. We'd have one in a heartbeat, even at that insane price.

Alternatives:

Ford Fiesta ST Mountune: massively cheaper than the MINI and not short on fun, either. Brilliant, though the MINI actually rides better.

Mégane Renaultsport: Renault's seminal hot hatch remains a benchmark car, but it's bigger and less exclusive than the MINI GP.

Toyota GT86: so different in character to the MINI GP and still cheaper; rear-wheel drive is a huge draw.


Kyle Fortune - 24 Mar 2014



  www.mini.co.uk    - MINI road tests
- MINI news
- John Cooper Works images

2014 MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch. Image by MINI.2014 MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch. Image by MINI.2014 MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch. Image by MINI.2014 MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch. Image by MINI.2014 MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch. Image by MINI.

2014 MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch. Image by MINI.2014 MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch. Image by MINI.2014 MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch. Image by MINI.2014 MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch. Image by MINI.2014 MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch. Image by MINI.



2014 MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch. Image by MINI.
 

2014 MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch. Image by MINI.
 

2014 MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch. Image by MINI.
 

2014 MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch. Image by MINI.
 

2014 MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch. Image by MINI.
 

2014 MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch. Image by MINI.
 

2014 MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch. Image by MINI.
 






 

Internal links:   | Home | Privacy | Contact us | Archives | Old motor show reports | Follow Car Enthusiast on Twitter | Copyright 1999-2022 ©