2021 Mini John Cooper Works GP review: An almost-grand finale

Maria J. Danford

Mini would like you to feel it is really saved the ideal of its 3rd-era Hardtop products for last with this 2021 John Cooper Performs GP. Limited to just three,000 models all over the world, the functionality-focused GP sends the 3rd-era Mini Hardtop out in design and style, with intense […]

Mini would like you to feel it is really saved the ideal of its 3rd-era Hardtop products for last with this 2021 John Cooper Performs GP. Limited to just three,000 models all over the world, the functionality-focused GP sends the 3rd-era Mini Hardtop out in design and style, with intense bodywork, a extra highly effective motor and a reworked suspension building it the most powerful highway-heading Mini to date. Nevertheless it is really not rather heading out with a bang.

Like

  • Punchy turbo motor
  • Quirky appears
  • Inherent exclusivity

You should not Like

  • No handbook transmission
  • Squishy Hankook tires
  • Disappointing exhaust observe

Flashy but functional 

The initially point you cannot assist but recognize about the confined-edition Mini GP are its supplemental exterior touches. The front apron, lip spoiler and honking double-decker rear wing are special to the GP. They are all functional, far too, offering supplemental downforce more than the typical John Cooper Performs Hardtop. The carbon-fiber-strengthened plastic wheel arch panels sporting each car’s generation quantity are also extra than just for aesthetics, covering the broader keep track of and optimizing airflow all around the sides.

Mix all that with a Racing Gray Metallic paint job, contrasting Melting Silver Metallic roof and Chili Crimson accents, and the GP surely appears like a hi-po Mini should really. Certain, the rear wing and side panels may well be garish to some, but you can get absent with a pair of more than-the-leading contact visual parts on a Mini. And recall, it is really all functional.

The hardcore topic proceeds inside of. Like previous Mini GPs, the rear seats are gone, to preserve pounds. You can find a red aluminum cross-brace behind the leather-based- and microfiber-trimmed sport seats. Without the back again seats, there is 33.four cubic toes of cargo place, excellent for weekly grocery visits — or a keep track of box, jack and spare tire for trekking out to open keep track of times. Other cabin variations contain a numbered dash trim panel, GP-distinct digital instrument cluster graphics and a Nappa-leather-based-wrapped steering wheel with substantial 3D-printed metallic shift paddles.

If you’re hoping for gobs of infotainment and innovative protection engineering, the GP isn’t for you. The Mini Related infotainment process operates on an eight.eight-inch touchscreen with navigation with serious-time targeted visitors details, a 6-speaker audio setup, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay, but not Android Car. The center display screen isn’t the most responsive to inputs, however, generally demanding a pair of faucets for commands to sign up. 

Electrical power points for charging phones, having said that, are plentiful for a two-seater, with a USB-A, USB-C, twelve-volt retailers and a wireless charging pad on offer. As for protection tech, there is the federally mandated backup digital camera and that is it.

The GP’s engineering hand contains the Mini Related infotainment process, but not a lot in innovative protection tech.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

A borrowed coronary heart

Even though the typical JCW Hardtop’s 2.-liter turbocharged I4 pumps out 228 horsepower and 236 pound-toes of torque, the GP receives the 2.-liter powerplant discovered in the JCW Clubman and JCW Countryman. This far better motor has upgraded pistons, connecting rods, crankshaft and extra strengthen for a overall of 301 hp and 331 pound-toes of torque. With the eight-pace automatic transmission, the GP will strike 60 mph in five seconds, besting the five.9-second run of a foundation JCW Hardtop.

Oh, and you browse that suitable: The GP has an automatic transmission. Unlike its predecessors, the most up-to-date GP will not route electric power to its front wheels as a result of a handbook transmission, and one isn’t available, both. To driving purists — not to mention the 46% of Mini JCW Hardtop consumers who obtain manuals — the slush box is a colossal letdown, but essential from a organization standpoint. Mini did not have a handbook transmission in its sections bin capable of handling the output of this motor, and the cost in creating and certifying one for a confined-generation run wouldn’t fly with the bean-counters.

So, for a GP to happen with this motor, it experienced to be paired with an Aisin-sourced automatic. To Mini’s credit score, the organization did a respectable job offering it sportier shift programming — a thing I appreciated even though blitzing all around GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Michigan. Activating Sport method and leaving the transmission in completely automatic method has the gearbox keeping on to gears all the way to redline just before ripping off clean, brief upshifts. These are not twin-clutch-brief gear-variations, but rather excellent for a torque-converter automatic. Handbook method functions responsive upshifts as a result of the paddles, with just a millisecond delay when downshifting.

A turbo I4 with 301 horses is excellent, but it is really only available with an automatic transmission.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

The motor is sturdy, providing regular pull during the rev assortment with peak torque available concerning one,750 and four,000 rpm. The GP rapidly pulls out of corners and barrels down straights. Cracking 125 mph down GingerMan’s back again straight is effortless, and feels tremendous-rapidly in this minor auto. The one criticism I have about the motor is the exhaust observe, which has a higher-pitch drone at huge-open-throttle. It’s not bothersome, but simply not ear-pleasing.

Monitor moves

As generally, electric power is absolutely nothing with out regulate and the Mini GP has a quite darn excellent cope with on dynamics. Additional underbody bracing and a front strut tower bar stiffen the chassis, even though the suspension functions a one.four-inch front and .9-inch rear broader keep track of, uprated springs, dampers, antiroll bars, amplified wheel camber and a .four-inch decreased experience height. The complete bundle rides on slick-looking 18-inch solid wheels wrapped with Hankook Ventus S1 Evo Z tires.

All that sounds like a recipe for riot all around a keep track of, but the Mini’s Hankook tires confirm to be a restricting factor. Turn-in is marginally muted and as a result of gradual corners understeer rears its unsightly head as the front tires howl attempting to hang on for pricey lifestyle. For slower, sharp complexes, finding the rear to rotate can be performed if you chuck it in tricky, which is promising. Right after a few limited sessions all around GingerMan, the indicators of rollover on the front tires are apparent, and a looming a hundred and fifty-mile return excursion back again to metro Detroit suggests I am forced to just take it effortless all around the 2.2-mile highway course.

With far better tires, the GP will be even far better all around GingerMan Raceway.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

Which is a shame, far too. The GP’s steering is rather immediate and communicative even with these tires. Facet-to-side pounds transfers are excellent, security regulate tuning is exceptional and the brakes continue to be sturdy with pedal vacation only finding a contact longer at the stop of a day of lapping. If equipped with tires with extra strong sidewalls, there is minor question that the GP will glow a lot brighter all around a keep track of and likely excel on an autocross course.

Road survival

Away from the keep track of, this powerful Mini is a rough rider. Specified the GP’s mission in lifestyle, I count on that bigger ruts and potholes are heading to be felt in the cabin. The brakes are fascinating, with very mild engagement at the leading of the pedal stroke just before abruptly clamping down. This will make it complicated to halt smoothly from decreased speeds triggering me to apologize to a pair of travellers on a couple instances for significantly less-than-clean stops.

The drivetrain is instead economical offered its output, with the EPA estimating that the 2.0T will return 24 miles for every gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the freeway. In blended driving, I noticed gas economic system in the higher 20s, and when cruising on the freeway out to the GingerMan, I very easily exceeded the EPA’s freeway estimates, returning more than 35 mpg.

Journey excellent isn’t wonderful on highway, but gas performance is amazing thinking about the GP’s output.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

The ideal it can be

Is the 2021 Mini John Cooper Performs GP truly the ideal 3rd-era Hardtop? Yes and no. Yes, if you’re looking at it from a numbers standpoint. It’s the most highly effective generation Hardtop to date, hits 60 mph in five seconds, and clocked in a sub-eight-moment lap time all around Germany’s Nurburgring Nordschleife, beating the second-era GP by nearly 30 seconds.

On the other hand, it is really lacking a handbook transmission, which actually will take absent from the driver-engagement factor. Even though it is entertaining to generate on keep track of and twisty roads, it isn’t what I would contact a blast. It’s been extra than a 10 years since the initially-gen GP arrived out, and I however recall driving that auto, grinning ear-to-ear, working the handbook and feeling like an integral part of the experience. I will not feel I’ll recall this auto 50 percent as fondly — if at all — 10 a long time from now.

If you want to put a new GP in your garage, it will cost you $forty five,750, together with $850 for spot. You will not likely have to have to fear about alternatives simply because there are not any, but you are going to want to run to your Mini dealer suitable now. Of the three,000 models, only all around 500 have been earmarked for the US, and a Mini spokesperson tells us several have now been spoken for. Personally, I would likely skip the Mini and scope out a Honda Civic Sort R alternatively, or just troll Craigslist for a cleanse initially-gen GP.

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