What a pleasure it is to set eyes upon – nay, to sit in MINI’s all-new JCW GP sports car. This, friends, is the stuff legends are born of.
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You couldn’t buy a more honest, pure reincarnation of the original MINI that won races the world over – most notably the 1973 Monte Carlo Rally, among others. With Rauno Aaltonen’s mongoose-like reflexes behind the wheel – no Porsche, Ferrari or other exotic could beat the diminutive MINI Cooper through the timing traps. For a more thorough look at Rauno’s career whilst piloting a MINI Cooper, click here. Then read on to discover what car Rauno would undoubtably be found in today.
To the heart of this winged-MINI: the GP sports a 1.6-liter four-cylinder turns out 211 hp and 192 lb-ft (207 lb-ft with overboost). This mighty little block zips and zings to its redline with a surprisingly guttural sound. I had the pleasure to see and hear the GP in motion at last years Pebble Beach Concours (where they auctioned one GP specimen off), and I assure you, it sounded as exotic and exciting as nearly any $2,000,000.00 car that passed through that day.
The performance this engine-chassis combo offers up is fittingly quick: according to independent testing the last GP made it to 60 mph in only 5.9 seconds – we expect this new MINI to at least match this accelerative performance. The MINI goes on to a top speed of 150 mph if given the chance to stretch its legs.
The interior is just-plain-hot – check out the uber-sexy red accent on the shift lever. That alone pretty much sells me. Where do I sign?
Wish list? Well, I wish the MINI JCW GP came equipped with a mechanical limited slip differential between the front wheels – MINI could take a page from Honda’s current Civic Si in this department. This trinket would help the MINI better put down its power from apex to exit – but I’m sure its quasi diff which brakes the inside wheel goes a long way into improve drive out of corners. Of course, I’d have to get behind the wheel and put the GP through its paces on track to really know for sure. Drool.
What this MINI lacks in LSD, it makes up for with adjustable coil-overs, a wicked (and highly functional) aero package, and a big brake kit.
Not that anyone driving this car cares, but the GP also achieves better fuel economy than its predecessor.
Look for the MINI JCW GP to show up this Spring. Did we mention we want one?
Check out our gallery from Detroit’s show floor.
[Photos Credit: Shawn Molnar]