Yes the JCW GP is That Low

Over the past two weeks the same prototype JCW GP that was used to debut the concept at MINI United has been on display and driving across country on MINI Takes the States. And while we still don’t know much about the car (final output, price etc) we do know one thing; it’s low. So low that it may just be the lowest (new) MINI ever produced by the factory.

More pics after the break.

  • batou
  • Patrick

    Just out of interest – Since you’ve seen it moving, any change in sound to the standard JCWs?

    • John

      If I am not mistaken, it still had a factory JCW exhaust on it so it did not sound any different. But this is still not the final production version.

  • MrCooperS

    So I realized… after seeing all the hundreds of photos of the new GP from MTTS, it looks spectacular and perfect in every shot. There HAS to be a detailing team following this GP around to wipe it down and wash it.

    • JackMac

      Yes, they are constantly wiping off the drool from onlookers!

  • Chris Underwood

    That’s low for a stock MINI, but doesn’t seem particularly low. Would like to see this be the standard MINI ride height – the 4×4 look isn’t very becoming.

  • Low is pretty, until the plastic gets scraped off on the slightest incline, such as a steep driveway; then, not so much.

  • Brian Newhard

    The new morphing wheel design looks amazing.

  • What is wrong with the wheels on pictures 2 and 3? Was it really hot out there on that highway? So hot, that it started to melt the alloy wheels?

    • John

      haha! I didn’t event notice that. MINI decided to save even more weight by using plastic rims instead of alloy ones.

    • That effect looks like a rolling-shutter side-effect of a physical shutter-less digital sensor usually found in cell phones such as the iPhone. The metadata has been stripped from the image in order to confirm, but thats exactly what it looks like. Although some people don’t like the distortion, there are some interesting reality-distoring effects:

      • I amend my original statement as DB’s pictures were shared on Flickr via WRR’s FB page which confirm the picture was taking with an iPhone 4S.

  • Logan

    Gabe, I’m a MINI enthusiast, and a Motoringfile enthusiast to the core, but I’m a bit disappointed there hasn’t been a recap of MINI Takes the States 2012. Will we be getting an inside look?

  • Kurtster

    Low ground clearance is great as along as there’s no white stuff on the ground. Do you know if it is height-adjustable? I will be driving this car in snow because I won’t have a choice come winter.

    • No it is not height adjustable, nor should it be. I can’t think of a car made today which can’t drive in the snow (and there are cars with less ground clearance than the 2012 GP), but there are plenty of cars which are special enough that perhaps they shouldn’t drive in the snow regularly. Although once in a while might be a bit fun…

      • Kurtster

        Okay. My ’04 Cooper S was great in the snow. I think we regularly have between 1-2 inches that pile up in the center of the roads as cars drive through and leave tracks. I’ll let you know if this ends up plowing more than it rides over. Hopefully it’ll be fine as-is.

        • jbkONE

          If you have problems, just buy a beater with heater to drive in snow.

        • That would be my suggestion as well.

        • that.guy

          But if you buy a snow beater with a heater then you should forget the GP and go for RWD for your 2-seater non-beater (which will probably also have a heater). Seriously, though.

        • I had low expectations before I got my 03 MCS (with standard suspension) regarding its abilities in snow with summer tires. My expectations of driving a MINI with summer tires being difficult, unsafe and scary were all met. I then got snow tires and had no problems with either that first MINI or my 06 MCS with JCW suspension (lower than standard suspension) even in relatively bad Boston storms of 6-12+” as long as I planned my route in advance to stay on the plowed main roads and kept momentum on back roads. The salt did a decent amount of damage to my JCW R105 polished wheels and I wouldn’t want that anywhere on the chassis of a car as special as the GP. I also lost the under-bumper spoiler/lip of the JCW aero-kit and damaged the lower bumper retaining clips every other winter. So could you drive the GP in snow? Yes, and 1-2″ wouldn’t be a problem at all, but if I could afford and owned a GP I would try to avoid driving it in snow and/or when the roads are sanded/salted. To each their own.

        • Kurtster

          Thanks for the insight to your experiences. I live in Wakefield so our experiences are probably similar. Good to know. I used snow tires too and they were awesome.

          I already have an M Roadster for nice weather driving but I love being a MINI owner and I’m looking forward to owning a model that performs at the level this one will. I’m definitely not buying it as a collector’s item at all. It will be a daily driver. I want it for its performance characteristics both in inclement weather and good weather (among the many other attributes that make the MINI so desirable), and for the GP’s unique status as a limited edition model.

          I’ll be using steel wheels and snow tires in the winter so the nice wheels will be preserved for better weather. It will be my winter car but I’m certain it will see its share of good weather driving as well in order to keep the miles low on the M. I’m sure some people will buy these to race on tracks somewhere, others will buy them to stare at them in a garage, others will buy them with hopes that they appreciate in value. Indeed, I’m sure they will be used for a variety of purposes among MINI enthusiasts. Mine will be used as much as I can year-round unless I can’t resist the lure of top-down driving. My last MINI had 161k miles when I sold (in great shape for its age) it so I’m sure I’ll get a lot out of this one too.

  • Blainestang

    Good to see MINI is still willing to do things that limit the car’s potential buyer pool in the interest of performance. They haven’t always had a good record on that. (MINI Crossover, Slushbox JCW’s, JCW’s with base suspension, etc.)

    • If one wasn’t reading your post sarcastically they might think you are welcoming an exclusive performance model while chastising the broadening product range which allows for the cost of product development for a low-yield performance model (ala the Porsche Cayenne effect) although there are just as many fans disappointed with the 2012 GP and the rumors of minimal if any power increases…

      • Blainestang

        The “Porsche Cayenne effect” is always the reason given to enthusiasts for why the brand is being diluted, but it’s not as if there were no GP’s or GT3’s BEFORE they started selling CUV’s. Do the CUV’s help the bottom line? Sure… but I’m not convinced that:

        1. There’s a DIRECT relationship… meaning, there would be no more GT3’s if there was no Cayenne.

        2. That the supposed trade-off is worth it, anyway. Sure, we get a few hundred GP’s… but then there are a thousand bloated, wallowing CUVs, too.

        • It is true that the GP or GT3 were produced without the Countryman or Cayenne but nor did I assert as much. I am simply optimistic regarding the continued viability of niche products (such as the 918 spyder and GP) and possibly increased development due to additional resources being available. Also calling the Countryman or (2nd gen) Cayenne wallowy is lacking perspective. I find it unfortunate that you believe that good handling and a fun to drive car should be limited to family-less singles or those who can afford a second car to haul around family or large loads. The the Countrymen and Cayenne (2nd gen at least) are amongst the smallest and nimblest cars in their classes and although I would never personally buy one, I respect those people that have decided to purchase one over SUVs actually wallow such as a Toyota Highlander or Cadillac Escalade.

        • Blainestang

          I’m optimistic that more ‘mainstream’ type cars means more cars that I care about, but I’m just not convinced that the trade-off is always worth it.

          You say that “calling the Countryman or (2nd gen) Cayenne wallowy is lacking perspective.” You’re right in a sense. My perspective completely eliminates the vast majority of cars out there because they’re simply not worth driving or spending tens of thousands of dollars on… like the Toyota Highlander and Escalade you mentioned. That said, you’ve certainly misunderstood my perspective if you thing I “believe that good handling and a fun to drive car should be limited to family-less singles or those who can afford a second car to haul around family or large loads.” The truth is, I am starting a family and so we decided it was best to buy something bigger than another MINI Hardtop… something with 4-doors. Knowing that, and being a MINI enthusiast, the Countryman should have been a virtual shoe-in.

          We went into our Countryman shopping having heard all the “it drives like a MINI” claims, and the like. Well, in my opinion, it doesn’t. We really wanted to love the Countryman, but were severely disappointed… because we own a MINI Hardtop. If we were coming from a CRV, sure, it would seem like a revelation. But, even compared to my “Justa” Cooper with the base suspension, it’s not even in the same ballpark for driving dynamics. Plus, it’s quite slow and the value is mediocre. Additionally, there’s just something about going into a MINI dealer where there are all these Hardtops, Clubman, Coupes, Roadsters, that actually drive like a MINI, and yet I’m supposed to pay MORE for a Countryman that I like far less? I know, it’s because it’s bigger and it’s a sacrifice, but it’s hard to do.

          Furthermore, there ARE other cars out there for families who need more seats/doors and cargo area that ARE sporty, and offer better value, etc. For one, the 4-door GTI that’s parked in my garage next to my R56 as I type this. For the price of a LIGHTLY optioned COOPER Countryman, we got a car with nearly twice the horsepower, better handling, more useful cargo room, a cutting-edge automated manual rather than a slushbox auto, and more… all while getting just a hair lower gas mileage. Soon, the Focus ST will be available, as well… and if you don’t want the 220hp+ of the GTI/ST or if you don’t need 30-something MPG, there are even more options out there for Countryman money or less.

          I’m happy for MINI to make money on the Countryman in order to subsidize the sales of more performance-oriented cars like the GP, Coupe, and Roadster… and the Hardtop for that matter. It just doesn’t offer the character and driving dynamics that we’ve grown to love about the other MINIs, and we were disappointed as a result… and I hope this isn’t the only direction MINI goes from now on – bigger, with compromised driving dynamics.

  • If it’s low enough to carve up a track without cutting a blade of grass on an infield track as the pictures appear to show, it is the perfect height for the intended audience. I mentioned the ride height about a week ago on the “MTTS 2012: Day 3 and 4” MF post but nobody else seemed to comment/notice that, so thank you for making it more obvious for the masses!

  • That GP looks Bad Ass!

  • Talking to one of the drivers and seeing inside this car is not the real deal. First it has a full interior. Second it is not powered by what will be in the GP. It is just dressed up JCW. That is all

  • Hot Rod Hemi

    Just a comment here and question. By the way, the GP looks much better in person than in pictures and it does look low. Nothing to do with the GP, but didn’t I hear earlier this year that blackened out, instead of chrome was going to be made available as an option for the S & JCW’s? Blackened out grille trim, taillights and the chrome that is below the windshield and around the car areas is what I’m talking about.

  • Hot Rod Hemi

    You know that us JCW owners are constantly being criticized for wasting our money on our JCW’s when we could have either, bought the S and modified (also eliminating our warrantee) or bought something faster and with better quality. So, I looked at the VW GTI, my wife vetoed that immediately, saying it looks like nothing special, too much like a box on wheels. Then, beings as this was an Audi dealership as well, we looked at the TT. Nice looking car, Olga liked it. Nice looking, the quality was there, although I’m not a fan of that much chrome on the interior. Especially looks cheap around the entertainment or NAV center. It is a DSG auto, that makes Olga happier, the seats really look nice. It’s not as easy to get into and out as the our JCW, but still not as bad as our old Miata. We took it for a test drive. I was expecting great things, as this is suppose to be one second faster in the 0 – 60 sprints that all the advertisements say. Now keep in mind, I don’t have a stop watch, but with my Invicta Russian Divers watch, the best that I got was 7.2. Of course Olga was operating the watch, but forget that, the thing felt like a dog. Sure it’s all wheel drive, but it’s still suppose to be fast with it’s under rated 211 hp. Other positives is that it’s very quiet, can’t hear the engine until 5k, shifts nicely after you remember the left is for down shifting and the right one is for up shifts. Never could get any wheel spin. But it was quiet. We got back in the our 2011 JCW and immediately the response of the engine, no comparison, much more noise in the engine and exhaust departments. The TT had a better interior look and feel and I didn’t hit my head getting into it. Costs: A 2013 JCW as equipped as the Audi TT was with NAV and heated seats comes in at $39,600 and Recaros. This Audi came in at $42,500. Lastly though, the paint on the Audi TT was flawless, the one thing that I have complained about on my JCW since it was new. So in the end, is it worth another $3k for the Audi, which also gets as many, if not more reliability complaints as our Mini’s?

  • Robert Ballard

    I really don’t find the color attractive. Saw it in person and found it “muddy” looking. Found the graphics wanting a better look. But I will say I like some if the body trim.