Alongside the tree-hugging Mini Cooper SE, Mini Malaysia took the opportunity to launch another Mini on the opposite end of the spectrum; the John Cooper Works GP, to balance things out. For every tree that the Cooper SE saves, the John Cooper Works GP will probably kill three.
As the most extreme Mini on sale today, it’s also expectedly the priciest. You’ll need to fork out a cool RM377,491 (with SST exemptions) for one of the 10 units that Malaysia has been allocated of the 3,000 produced globally.
As the pinnacle of internal combustion tech under the Mini roof, the base engine here is a familiar sight under the hoods of Mini and BMW models. The B48 2.0-litre turbo four makes a whopping 302hp and 450Nm of torque.
It achieves that figure by virtue of newly designed pistons, bushless conrods, a strengthened crankshaft, a new torsional vibration damper and stiffer mounts. Furthermore, there’s a new turbocharger that’s integrated into the exhaust manifold; a feature you’ll find on the larger B58 3.0-litre straight six powering the Toyota Supra as well.
Fueling was improved with direct injectors that are reportedly more precise with increased flow. The oil sump was redesigned for better baffling during hard cornering. Lastly, cooling was given a once over to manage the heat better. You’ll find twin coolant coolers, a larger expansion tank and an electric fan that flows more air.
As we reported earlier, the new Mini GP was breaking hearts as easily as it breaks traction due to the manual being binned for a sole eight-speed automatic. The Torsen mechanical limited-slip differential helps the ferocious hatch hit 100kph from a standstill in 5.2-seconds and top out at 265kph.
Keeping it planted in the corners are the usual chassis and suspension upgrades. In place of the deleted rear seats is a massive red rear strut brace to go along with the front unit. Ride height is lower by 10mm with the springs, auxiliary springs, dampers and anti-roll bars all retuned. Even the anti-roll bar bushings themselves are preloaded items while the rear wishbones get ball-joints.
The track width was widened; a first for the GP. That explains the unique widened fenders over the 18-inch forged wheels that weigh just 9.0kg a pop. Rubbers are Hankook Ventus S1 Evo Z pieces in a 225/35R18 sizing. Hidden behind them are four-piston calipers up front biting on 380mm rotors. Mini also loosened the reigns on the stability control to allow owners to toss it around more although the laws of physics still apply so don't end up rolling it like this.
In the cabin, it’s a cosy table for two only to keep weight down with both occupants snuggling into JCW sports seats. Pedals are stainless steel units while the steering wheel gets a metal centre marker and perforated paddle shifters. Like the Cooper SE, the instrument cluster is a 6.5-inch digital display.
There’s absolutely no chance the GP will be mistaken for any other Cooper with its aggressive aero comprising a new front air dam, front splitter and a larger rear diffuser topped off with that bi-plane rear wing. Those widened fender pieces are carbon fibre and serve to optimise airflow.
You can have your GP in any colour so long as its Racing Grey with the Melting Silver roof.