Hands-on with the New JCW GP

The JCW GP is here. We’ve just returned from a preview and briefing of the car by Jorg Weidinger, head of development of the new GP and were allowed a hands-on look of the car. Through this and few other sources we were garner some exclusive details about the car, the development and why it’s perhaps a bit more special than even looks would suggest.

MINI isn’t releasing many figures at this point but there is one that they are speaking publicly and quite proudly about; the GP’s Nurburgring lap time of 8:23. That’s a full 18 seconds faster than the previous GP and puts it in a rare company of front wheel drive cars on the ‘Ring.

Unlike the previous GP, MINI took their time to bring this car to market. Developed over the course of two years, testers used both the ‘Ring and public roads to create the best possible combination of extreme performance and livability. The entirely new JCW suspension improves on the after-sales kit by lowering the car further and giving it better body control on the track. Like-wise we’re told six piston front brakes are a decided improvement over the already good four-pots on the standard JCW.

Live Full Gallery

MINI also partnered with Khumo to develop a specific 17″ tire for this GP that offers better grip and ride qualities than any previous tire that size has offered. Why 17s rather 18s? According to MINI the revised JCW suspension is so aggressive that the 18s were deemed too rough.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the GP (aside from the engine which MINI aren’t willing to talk about yet) is the aero work that has gone into the car. MINI has closed off the underside of the car (using bespoke parts and one or two from the Cooper SD) to create better air flow and less lift. This coupled with the rather dramatic rear diffuser allows the car to stay far better planted at speed than any MINI other than MINI Challenge race-car. They also tweaked the front aero (just in front of the tires) to allow for better air-flow and less drag and lift. It may not look it, but we’re told that these changes in total create a substantially improved car over the standard JCW.

MINI isn’t talking about the interior (other than it’ll have only two Recaros inside) or the drivetrain. But from our sources we’re expecting something edging close to 220 hp and the most torque ever from a MINI.

We’ll have much more on the car in the coming days and weeks but until then enjoy the official release, gallery (below) and our own gallery above.

Official Full Gallery

  • ClubbyClubman


  • I want one NOW. Stunning!

  • Dave

    Definitely want! 

  • Dean Cory

    I like it. Not certain about the side stripes. Is it the same Thunder Blue Metallic?

  • WRRTodd

    Thunder Grey.

  • b-

    My first impression. WTF? Wow. There is a lot going on here. The performance is key with this car and the potential is something that is fun to think about but the styling… I think that they missed the mark. With a new head designer since the 2006 car came out there are too many elements that look similar to the R53 GP. First off let me say that the R53 looked subtle, It really did. Sure it had the red mirror caps but other than that it was tasteful. This car on the other hand looks like a nightmare! With all the different colors of paint and vinyl and carbon it looks like a customized nightmare! And why did they need the elements that are the same as the previous car? I mean that terrible red scoop vinyl, the wheel shape and the fact that the color is called Thunger Grey. Why? It is not a bad color but with all tha vinyl garbage going on

    • b-

      It takes away from the paintwork. This looks like the typical MINI owner’s car, vinyl everywhere, too much vinyl.

      • John

        Actually the typical MINI owners car will never see a mod of any kind.

        • lex76

          I agree completely with b- !! The performance things are comendable, but no change in the front bumper? And the side stickers are not cool at all. The rims look like something you would see on a hot wheel!! Man I’m sooo dissapointed in the lookof this car!

        • R Burns

          not exactly the same……. if you have good eyes !

    • Mini’s are one of the only cars that can be “busy” and still awesome looking. Even just an S model has a lot going on. Stripes, hood scoop, grille, lights, more aggressive bumper. I know those are normal things but on a tiny car like a MINI it makes it all look more busy, but it pulls it off. That said, this GP is a little too busy. the red around the hood scoop and GP logo on the side is a little overkill. Also the rims are like a cheap pep boys knock off of the original. Still, its awesome that they are making this car again, and I still love it.

  • j

    I’ll wait for more details and specs before I give it a nod

  • Chulander

    Beautiful. I love it!

    Is the grey a non-metallic? Kind of reminds me of the most recent combination of Flat Grey/Red on the 3.8 GT3RS.

    Great pictures, thanks guys.

  • Rfritz


  • Periphery

    Underwhelming. Too busy. 

  • Aurel

    I think it looks really great and aggressive overall … however i do agree with someone above that the paint scheme, while tying it together with the previous GP, could have been different … something more exciting. the wheels are horrendous … look like Auto Zone specials …

    • Kurtster

      I think the wheels here are an improvement over the 2006 version, which I felt had too much black and not enough silver. 

      • R Burns

        The biggest improvement is 17″

    • Kurtster

      I think the wheels here are an improvement over the 2006 version, which I felt had too much black and not enough silver. 

    • Kurtster

      I think the wheels here are an improvement over the 2006 version, which I felt had too much black and not enough silver. 

  • Tony

    From the pictures it looks like the headlights are xenons. Can you confirm?

  • So much want. Who’s buying one?

  • Bob Hayhurst

    Xenon headlights, good call. HUGE front brakes, aggressivly lowered, unique color, I love it. While some details are omitted (where’s the interior pics) the purpose is served; a distinctive, high performance R56 is in place to usher out the current model range.

  • Hoq1

    Ditch the excessive decals (do we really need another reminder that it’s a ‘GP’ on the hood scoop?) please…. What’s the price???… Lemme guess… $35-40,000?

    • b-

      The WC50 was in the 50K range, start there.

      • b-

        My bad, the WC 50 started at 40K.

  • Jan Wojcik

    Still a long way from the Megane time of 8:07.97

    • They’re not rivals at all, and given the difference in size and power, the Mini does a hell of a job. And it’s pretty close with the Megane R26R…

      • R Burns

        The Megane has got semi-slick tyres…

    • The Dude

      I can’t buy the Megane in the US.  So useless comparision, how fast is a Golf R?

  • Vickt

    Thanks for the pictures, love the rear diffuser. The more I look at it the more I like it, but like others have said I think the decals are a tad excessive. I prefer the overall looks and color of the R53, but I’m sure the performance of the R56 will make up for it.

  • Jdulam

    I see a future big brother for GP0256 in my garage! Looks to me like an exact replica of the first GP as far as colors go, etc.  I bet it will have the cross member in the back and red inserts like the original GP.  I am excited to get my hands on one of these when they are a few years old and not $40k+

  • Hoq1

    $50,000 ehh…. As much as I love the car…. 50k (hell, 40k) is just ridiculous! The price of entry for a fwd car of its size is a sign that the world is coming to an end. Even the overpriced Golf R is a steal compared to this if the 50k rumor is true

    • Don’t expect 50k. It’ll be much lower than that but higher than the previous GP in the US due to the Recaros

      via mobile

      • Hoq1

        i hope its in the mid 30’s and no more

        • Kurtster

          Given that the stock JCW starts at around $31k and the JCW suspension is $1400 and Recaro seats are $2750 before installation, it’s very unlikely this will be mid-30s. Low 40s is more likely. You can configure a JCW on the site that easily hits $50k if you add a bazillion things to it. When you think of it as the smallest BMW M car, it isn’t all that expensive.

        • JohnM

          If it follows the same design as the first, you can count these for money savings… -no rear seats -no rear speakers -no HK speakers period -much less(if any) sound deadening material -none of the hardware necessary to facilitate all of the above You’d be surprised how much all of that can cost. Plus, I wouldn’t be surprised if they decided to remove a lot more normally standard parts to reduce cost and weight.

        • Hoq1

          40K is still expensive for a fwd, 2 seater (granted 2 recaros!), 1.6 turbo 4 banger, 220 hp (guesstimate) MINI…. the world’s smallest M car, yes, or world’s tallest midget, yes…. The limited edition status is the only thing really propping up a potential $40k price tag.  Even then there will be a coupe, maybe roadster version…

  • JonPD

    Looks pretty decent all in all. Not sure about the side or roof graphics but not bad on first sight.

    • Agreed. I’m told in hushed tones this is a great car on the road and track.

      • JonPD

        First in line for the GP2 though passing it over as a possible R58 GP would be my first choice. Still would like to see them model it off the endurance Coupe that was raced a while back. Still glad to see another worthy MINI with GP on it. I am sure anybody that picks one up is going to be smiles from ear to ear. Don’t say this often enough but well done MINI. Still not the perfect car but those are unicorns and do not exist in the real world lol.

  • John

    While I will always love it I’m completely over the R50-56 in any form but I do like this, as I knew I would.  Drop the roof decal and it’s great.  Perfect blend of road and track looks.


    The following gallery image shows the car fitted with 215/40-17 Kumhos?


  • hfred


  • chad

    that ‘ring time is incredible. i am genuinely impressed by that time. 

    i look forward to hearing more detail. 

    car looks a little flashy, but basically an evolution of the r53 GP.

  • lavardera

    I think it looks great, but I’d probably peel off the side graphics – its a bit too Pontiac TransAm for me.

    Feeling the same about that black strip at the side of the roof, too much. 

    I like the splash of red at the mirrors, duct openings, hood, brakes. That’s more than enough.

  • Are the brakes from the 1 series(135i)? They have 6 pot as well and are amazing, although they do fade in the track.

    • Yes they are 😉

      • wow thats crazy. The 135i has amazing stopping power, now on a mini it would be awesome!

  • Guest

    Wonder what they did with the suspension. It looks pretty low–similar height compared to a normal R56 with lowering springs. That said, I wonder if they have the infamous vibration issue. 😉

  • hfred

    How come no one has complained about that bulging bonnet? Come on, people. It’s our duty to gripe!

    • Chulander

      No gripes from me. I think it looks fantastic. I’ll agree that some of the decals (roof and sides) are more than I’d opt for, but they can be removed like any other decal. I doubt they are under the clear coat like a challenge stradale stripe.

  • Damuiw

    I am in LOVE!!!

  • Lemelou

    Please send some to Canada. Please send some to Canada. Please send some to Canada.  ….

    I’m gonna Occupy Mini until they do!!!


    As a first generation GP owner I have to say well done to mini for this second generation. Initially it looks intriguing, and would like to make final judgement on it upon seeing and driving it in person. However one change that I feel would further enhance its looks is to use smoke headlights, fog lights, side light and rear taillights. This would compliment the grey tone perfectly. 

  • ulrichd

    Somewhere under those gaudy decals is a fantastic car, however if this really approaches 50K (keep in mid the dealers will mark these up big time) I’d be looking at a slightly used Cayman R instead.

    • It will not approach 50k. Not even close. Remember that this is similar than the original plus (for the US). So add Recaros to the price of the original GP and the. add cost for inflation and a few extra standard options and you have the price.

    • Kurtster

      The rear wheel drive thing is what’s keeping me away from many other sports cars in this price range. I love the MINI. It’s a great winter car, especially when you put some snow tires on it. 

    • Kurtster

      The rear wheel drive thing is what’s keeping me away from many other sports cars in this price range. I love the MINI. It’s a great winter car, especially when you put some snow tires on it. 

  • Erik R

    Can’t wait to have this sitting with GP0080!  Just sold my wife’s old track BMW to make room (wife was done with the track after a wreck at the Glen when she was a week pregnant.  Our daughter is 8 now). Trying to request 0080 again if they will be numbered.  I agree the decals seem a bit much, but I thought the original GP looked a little goofy when I ordered it from the pics.  Looks much better in person.  Could the roof stickers actually just be a placeholder for the future production number?

  • matthewwanderer

    I like the center rear bumper treatment; the choice of primer-grey (I know it’s Thunder Grey 😉 is bold; the wheels up close in Gabe’s photos look beefy and interesting, I just hope they’re light; the Xenons were on one of the mules, but I didn’t think they’d make it this far, bravo; the minimalist skuttles are quite nice; and the GP2 wing is demonstrative and excellent, but scaled down from the GP2, no?

    I don’t like the vinyl a single bit, and wonder how much faster it will be without them (sarcasm); I don’t find the skirts nearly as interesting as the GP1’s, I don’t see much at all to differentiate them from the R56 JCW’s (could be me), and Kumho’s? 🙂

    Given the WC50’s pricing, I’m sure putting the right price on the GP2 has not been an easy task for MINI.

  • chad

    does this car have a wider front track? rear axle as well?

    it definitely looks wider from the photos, there is more tire peaking out from under the wheel wells. 

  • Rfritz

    ulrichd – a slightly used Cayman R for ~50k?

    Yeah, I suppose so … not anytime soon …. unless maybe a salvaged car? Maybe low 60s right now.

    • Erik R

      I almost bought a demo Cayman R (no ac or radio) for 12k off list.  The day I was taking in my deposit the new GP was announced.  Wouldn’t have been much above 50k, but it wouldn’t have been a GP.  Surprisingly not much faster than my current GP (at least in feel, and that what matters), and so many more downsides as a daily driver (visibility, cargo).

    • ulrichd

      Sorry, meant Cayman S not R.

  • Martin

    Gabe, is this a metallic paint or flat like the Connaught green? Looks flat to me me, but hope its metallic…

  • Kurtster

    I put my deposit down today at Mini of Peabody. First time I’ve been first in line for anything I think. Can’t wait!


    $40K, hell no.  $35K, would consider it.  $30-32K, yes please!

    • Aurel

       i am betting somewhere between 35-38K

  • JohnM

    If you look inside the wing, you see exposed screw heads. Will those be covered up or will somebody with a torx set be able to walk up and walk away with the wing? Seems like a way to save money on installing it over the other one (differently cut glass for those who didn’t know), but seems easy to rip off…

  • Lemelou

    Any chance we can retrofit back seats in that puppy? Or keep them on as an option?

    • Kurtster

      I’m sure you could put some in if you’re good with interiors but I know you can’t order them as an option. They don’t offer any options on order. Everything has to be dealer installed. I asked for NAV and cold weather packages and they said they don’t know what it will have but if those aren’t there I’m out of luck and they don’t think it will have either.

      • R Burns

        No it is not legally allowed on the GP to mount backseats

        • Lemelou


          where did yoiu get that from? infering from the GP1?

    • b-

      I am sure you could find MANY people who would trade you their rear seats and panels for your factory rear seat delete!

      • R Burns

        and insurance companies won’t pay anything in case of accident, as the GP2 has been conceived and homologated WITHOUT back seats are no (like the GP1)

  • Not crazy about the “GP” decals down the side, but … if that’s the only thing i have to deal with… sign me up!  

  • Karl

    When I click on the photos, the screen dims like the picture is going to come up, but it never does.  Does anyone have a solution with Windows 7 and IE 9?


    • Vickt

       Have you tried right clicking the picture and selecting open link in new tab?

      • Karl

        Thank you – that works

  • GoRixter

    Trying way too hard to stand out. It’s like a little yappy dog that’s trying to make a big impression. The JCW in the photo http://s3.motoringfile.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/20120511-143654.jpg looks more impressive, IMHO

  • bluzeke

    Is there any word of when the interior will be revealed?

  • Hotrod Hemi

    Looks really great.  It will be interesting if they strip it down like they did the R53 version. As for those that think it is a cost issue, I’m not in that camp on that issue.  I think that it’s more of a weight issue. 10 speakers weighs more than 4-6 speakers. Rear seats weigh more than no seats and the list could go on and on.  Notice that there is no sunroof either.

    • R Burns

      only 2 speakers if it is like the GP1

  • r_k_w

    Isn’t it ironic to have garish graphics drawing attention to a nonfunctional hood scoop?

    Yes, I know there are now openings in the scoop (when the R56 was first introduced, it was completely closed), but for all practical purposes it is nonfunctional.

    • b-

      On the New factory JCW cars the new insulation covers any openings in the scoop.  It is 100% non functional again.

      • Hot Rod Hemi

        My 2011 JCW has a small opening. Not much but will let a little joy air out and some cooler in.

        • R Burns

          yes it IS functionnal ! if closed, the scoop burns

  • Wijada60

    I hope with the added HP the scoop won’t melt. Could you imagine how messy it would look? I guess if the scoop remained the same color as the car it would probably be less noticeable. Actually, if the scoop melts and the vinyl starts to peal/peel off on the track it will be easy to recognize the new GP.

  • Ballandchain410

    Any reasons as to why the interior isn’t shown yet?

  • Chulle

    Do want.

    It sounds like it will be fantastic to drive. As usual the graphics, red ducts and mirrors are terrible, but easily fixed. Is Thunder Grey the only color ?

    • R Burns

      yes like GP1…

  • I’m more excited about this “on paper” than I am with the pictures… Just me?


    • Kurtster

      Han Solo said it best: “She may not look like much but she’s got it where it counts.”

  • T6061

    Peel the decals off, replace the red plastic with their carbon fiber counterparts (mirror caps, hood scoop and brake ducts) and I’d be all in… 

  • Bob Hayhurst

    It’s time for a bit more information Gabe/Todd.  How about an interview with a MINI executive with a loose tongue.  You know theres one there somewhere itching to talk or maybe a Motoringfile spyshot of the interior. Throw us a bone…

  • addicted2MINI

    At first glance I was blown away. The more you look at it and start to disect it. Its like they added too much to it. The first GP did not have all the xtra Jazz to it. Simple touches the Red caps were about the wildest thing from the exterior. Now its got all these xtra graphics the red brake ducts the red decal on the scoop the roof graphic looks like a fake roof rack the side graphics I would have been fine with just a GP decal but the big long stripe thing? I can say i love the rear defuser i love the rear spoiler . I still think it is great that MINI is bringing back the GP and from what they say about it being the fastest factory MINI yet thats cool too.  I think they missed the mark a little bit on graphics but all in all its still cool. Way to go MINI keeping the performance side going.

    • R Burns

      totally subjective. same judgement can be applied on both

  • goat

    Speaking quite broadly, I am not a fan of the R56 (Clubman and Coupe/Roadster somewhat excepted). But this – THIS – THIS! – I like. 🙂   It is an assertive answer to the Fiat Abarth (and essesse) and possibly even the Euro-market race-hatches in terms of aggressive styling / stance.  I trust it will have the performance and driving engagement to back up the looks. 

    Glad to see MINI taking the JCW brand more seriously with this car, especially the suspension being bespoke and a step beyond even the parts catalogue JCW suspension. Looking forward to video footage.  🙂

  • Today

    How to order ?

  • Dilligent8910

    much prefer a performance upgraded SD … for less money w/ superior fuel economy!

  • Dilligent8910

    Performance aside, the ’06 R53 GP is the unequivocal, all-time super MINI. It looks gorgeous and sounds enchanting! Yes, performance is an important consideration, but in the final analysis appearance should ultimately be the most distinctive MINI attribute that defines the marque. In my opinion MINI is losing its aesthetic edge by resorting to gimmickry with an uninspired hodgepodge of cheap-looking, distracting “details.”

  • Dilligent8910

    A clean looking/unadulterated DIESEL MINI could become the perfect car for U.S. enthusiasts. Will it manage to compete with the phenomenally successful (and race-proven) VW/AUDI TDI remains to be seen. DIESEL GP (sans the gimmickry) … that’s what we need!

  • Dilligent8910

    As expected, looks like prejudicial scrutineering remains in full force at MF as my comments were not posted. Perhaps MF should consider posting a warning banner stating that non-sycophant sentiment is strictly prohibited unless it is meaningless banter such as “I’d throw on a set of 18s in a heartbeat!” Humoresque at its worst, but nonetheless worth a chuckle at best! Seneca where are you? What the hell, Speedy Alka-Seltzer may provide the necessary relief!

    • Not a single comment has been censored or note posted unless it was caught un-knowingly by our automated spam filter. Literally no idea what you’re talking about.

  • Jon

    The wheels. The fact that the 4 spokes look so thick and massive, and have no openings, like the original GP wheels, that really bothers me.  They’re too flat. I’m not seeing nearly enough of that great big red caliper in there… I’d imagine that it’s for strength, but the thick spokes really obscure the view, and annoy me because of that. Glad they went down to a 17-inch wheel, because it best suits performance, but I had to object to the 4 solid, flat, fat spokes.

  • Dilligent8910

    Opt for a BMW 135 w/ 320hp — a much better value with rear wheel drive.

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