Exclusive: MINI’s GP Line-up Revealed

Last week we broke the news that MINI is planning on turning the GP name into a high performance sub-brand for MINI and to a lesser degree JCW. But what does this mean and when should we expect it? Read on for the details on the full range of GPs and when we should see them on dealer lots.

MINI is currently developing two GPs on the ‘Ring and at BMW’s relatively secret test track in southern France. The first to debut (this May at MINI United and on-sale in September) will be the R56 based GP. The car will be patterned after the original GP with weight reduction (mostly via removing the rear seats), more power (at least 220 hp) and standard JCW suspension. Also of note will be a unique wing (imagine the previous GP wing slighty tweaked) and a massive rear diffuser. Inside things will be simple with an eye on weight reduction similar to the original.

The second of these two will be the R58 Coupe GP. The Coupe will feature the same engine and suspension modifications, a few areas of weight reduction plus the aero found on the R56. It may get a fixed rear wing but that’s still up in the air (no pun intended). It’s unclear when we’ll see the Coupe GP but it’s our guess that MINI will stagger the release and debut the car this fall with sales starting in the spring of 2013.

The second pair of GPs will come at least a year later and will be based on the R6X platform. First up will be the R60 Countryman and then the R61 Countryman Coupe (formally known as the Paceman). Little is known about these cars but we can make some solid guesses based a few whispers we’ve heard. Expect at least the same power as we’ll see in the R56 and R58 GPs and much more aggressive JCW suspension. Also expected will be a new aero-kit and set of 19″ wheels. What is not know is how MINI will achieve (if any) weight loss on cars that are meant as much for utility as driving pleasure.

We will have much more on the new line in the coming weeks as we get closer to MINI United.

  • JonPD

    Very excited to see the Coupe in GP form. Hoping something more Endurance racer look. Very happy that MINI realized they were missing a product for the performance MINI enthralled fans out there. Don’t get me wrong the JCW is good its just lacking feeling special.

  • Robert Ballard

    Seems GP now is just an option not a special edition any longer. Kinda sad but I guess that business as MINI/BMW sees it.

    • Each will be a special edition with a limited production run (just like the original).

      • Robert Ballard

        Well that makes it clearer….;-) So now instead of one Testarossa you can have Testarossa A, B or C variants. 

        But thanks for the clarification.

  • Kev50027

    Why are they doing this?  If they want a sub-brand they already have JCW, but they’re not using it to its potential.  GP is supposed to be limited edition, special, etc.

    • Right – and that’s exactly what these cars will be. Very limited edition, stripped down performance models not meant for the mass market. JCW will take that on.

  • chad

    To be clear, are the GP cars, beginning with the R56, being developed and designed by seperate MINI staff (like the M division)? Or are we still in a transistion?

    My point is, if and when these GP cars are treated as seperate cars being engineered/developed as such- this, for me, is the game changer.

  • Christy

    If the back seat is removed, why both the R60 and R61? I would think there wouldn’t be much use for the extra doors on the R60.

    • The backseat won’t be removed on the R60 and R61.

      • Ahh…I see. Good news for me since I will be toting two car seats.  Interesting.

      • Lemelou


  • hfred

    More Special, Very Special, Even More Specialer: wow, MINIs are just getting more betterer and more bettererest.

  • Kidd

    I was kind of hoping that the R56 hatch GP would come with rear seats since they’re making the Coupe GP as well

    • Volker

      Me too.

    • b-

      I am sure you can find someone who will do a swap with you, your GP rear for their rear seats and rear panels.

  • kurtster

    I’m hoping to buy a GP this year before winter starts as my winter driver. I’d hoped I’d have the option for a Coupe but it sounds like the R56 will be my only choice.

  • Eddie

    Hey MINI, you forgot the Clubman! 

    • b-

      No they didn’t, you are getting the Clubvan, it has no rear seats. 🙂

      • Captain

        Is the Paceman going to kill the Clubman? If not, let’s get a GP Clubman MINI.

  • Seanperia

    what they should do to the “GP Line” is make it similar to M Cars. Chassis modification via wider fenders or flares, wider wheels, suspension, and more power.

    Something you cannot remake with a regular Hardtop or Coupe. More hardcore for the enthusiasts since the JCW is going to get an automatic.

    GP = BMW M JCW = M Sport / iS

    • Dr Obnxs

      Wishfull thining. Like Bimmerfile_Micheal posted elsewhere, the pricepoints don’t support custom sheetmetal. What’s baffling in this is that they are making the GP something that the JCW should have been. The only reason that the JCW is in this neatherworld that it finds itself in is because it’s been a badge-engineered option with very small changes compared to the car it’s based on. (And yes, I’m well aware of the differences in capabilites that a JCW offers over the S… They are real yes, but not gamechanging).

      What I wonder is if they are going to make the GP “line” the performance line, and many of the current JCW buyers would have opted for it, who will be left to buy the JCWs? Seems that only the R56 based GP will suffer seat loss, so for the rest that have been annonced, there is no decrease in real usability…..

      Seems that the poor JCW will be left with an even slimmer market share than they currently enjoy! It will be cursed to sell in even smaller numbers, unless it’s a lot less of a price delta over the S variants…

      This is what I would call a very “interesting” path to choose to market a hot version of the MINI product line… Not the one I would have chosen, had I been authoring the product roadmap. That said, if it generates compelling product at the end of the road, I’m good with it. I wish MINI all the best…

      • chad

        Dr Obnxs pulls in some fantastic points- things I have been thinking about as well.

        Having many different versions of the same platform will allow for more model launches. This said, I’d imagine that the JCW model may have a bit shorter life cycle than the cooper and cooper s models. Likewise, the GP may have an even more limited run. I’d guess there will be much time in the platform lifecycle that the GP is not available, and thus the JCW will be the top model.

        I agree that it does leave the JCW in a bit of a strange place initially, but I’d guess it will take about the same small market share as before. Additionally, MINI may put more marketing muscle behind the existing (and maybe more upcoming) JCW parts packages and aftermarket equipment. With the four models, it gives MINI much flexibility on how to package the models and how to stagger launches to maximize marketing and market share. I think over the coming years, the way MINI positions JCW will likely change and with that, over a few years time, the way people percieve the parts and the model will change.

        What if the JCW model had the same or very similar engine to the cooper S? What if it was the model that came with a selection of JCW parts stock? It could simply be the “Msport” package on the cooper S.

  • b-

    How will this be priced?  The GP in 2006 was $38,000.00 and The WC50 was $40,000.00.  Both cars had custom paint but the WC50 was more JCW accessories than go fast bits.  I think that if they ditch all the accessories and put that money into making the car perform better it will be money well spent.

    I know that all the people like the GP but what are the real life performance differences between an R56 JCW with the JCW suspension and the 2006 GP?

    • chad

      i think the 2006 GP was $31,000.

      • b-

        You are correct, it was a BARGAN!!!