JCW GP Interior & Final Specs Revealed

Earlier this week we showed you an early look at the JCW GP specifications thanks to an international brochure that got to dealers a few days early. Today MINI responds by opening up the vault so to speak and has given us final specifications and information on the elusive interior. We’ve reported on the genesis of the car and how it looks in person. Now lets take a look at the full story.

MINI JCW GP Interior, Exterior & Engine Photos

A limited-edition road car with race track-developed technology, the MINI John Cooper Works GP is the sportiest and fastest production model ever built under the nameplate of this British premium brand. It will make its world debut at the Paris Motor Show (29 September to 4 October 2012), and production of a limited edition of just 2,000 units will start later this year.

While there’s a lack of weight loss over the stock JCW, 2,557 lbs (DIN) still makes the GP one of the lightest sports cars in its class. And it’s this that MINI engineers focused on to help create balance between the engine, the suspension and the aerodynamics. It was all fine-tuned during intensive testing on the Nürburgring North Loop (the old grand prix circuit), where the MINI John Cooper Works GP promptly clocked up a best lap time of 8:23 minutes – 18 seconds faster than the previous GP.

The Engine

At the heart of the new GP is an extensively modified JCW engine capable of developing 160 kW/ 218 hp. The responsive power and excellent revving ability of the MINI John Cooper Works GP’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine may not be reflected in gaudy performance figures but it should provide better performance and feel. Among the highlights are the aluminium cylinder block and bearing mounts, reinforced pistons, sturdier cylinder head, low-weight crankshafts and sodium-filled exhaust valves. It’s unclear at this time how different (if at all) the turbo unit is from the stock JCW but we do know that the engine isbaesd on the new Valvetronic version of the JCW engine which helps to maximise engine responsiveness and efficiency.

According to MINI the powerplant responds instantly to throttle commands and delivers maximum torque of 260 Newton metres from just 1,750 rpm. For extra punch when accelerating, peak torque can be increased for short periods to 280 Nm from 2,000 rpm, thanks to the overboost function. Maximum power of 160 kW/218 hp is delivered at 6,000 rpm. It is transferred to the wheels via a six-speed manual transmission that is carried over from the stock JCW.

Thanks to the extra power, the MINI John Cooper Works GP a 0 to 62 mph time of 6.3 seconds. Sounds quite conservative to us but then again BMW is known to play it very safe when providing 0-62 figures. Perhaps more impressive is mid-range acceleration; 80 to 120 km/h (50–75 mph) time in fifth gear is just 5.9 seconds. Top speed is a drag limited 242 km/h (150 mph).


DIN Unladen weight of the GP is 2,557 lbs. How does that compare to a stock JCW hatch? Not as well as one would expect. According to MINI UK the DIN unladen weight of the R56 JCW 2,513. Why is the GP heavier despite losing the rear seats? And how did the original GP lose the 80 lbs it did over the standard R53? Let’s start with why the new GP isn’t lighter. The truth is we don’t have all the answers yet but we can start with what’s new on the car. For one the GP has substantially larger brakes than any MINI before it. Brakes that aren’t aluminum and are in fact rather heavy. Then there’s the more robust suspension and wider wheels and tires. It may not sound like much but it could easily add up to an extra 44 lbs.

So how did the original MINI lose just under 100 lbs? One of the biggest losses was the replacement of steel rear control arms with R56 based aluminum versions. It’s one major component of the loss in weight that the R56 based GP already has built into it’s base design.

Suspension & Brakes

The MINI John Cooper Works GP’s exclusive suspension technology relies heavily on motor sport. For the first time on a MINI, it features an individually adjustable coilover suspension, which allows ride height to be lowered by up to 20 millimetres. Among other things, this means the suspension set-up can be fine-tuned to different circuit conditions whenever the MINI goes out onto the track.

The front shock absorbers are mounted upside down in the tube, with the piston rod pointing down, in order to increase longitudinal and lateral stiffness.

The front camber has been increased compared with the regular MINI John Cooper Works, so that the performance potential of the sports tyres – which differ significantly from road tyres – can be used to full effect, without the penalties of early understeer, inevitably leading to increased tyre wear. Other features include reduced front-wheel toe-in and increased rear camber, which alters the forward weight transfer so as to give more speed and more neutral steering when driving close to the limit. At the same time, the reduced toe-in improves agility and cornering confidence.

Track-worthy braking performance is provided by the MINI John Cooper Works GP’s racing-derived sports brake system, featuring six-piston fixed-calliper disc brakes, vented at the front. The front discs are 330 millimetres in diameter and 25 millimetres thick, with 280 x 10 mm discs at the rear. The low-weight 17-inch alloy wheels, again exclusive to the MINI John Cooper Works GP, run on high-traction 215/40 R17 sports tyres. Optionally, standard-size 205/45 R17 tyres are available on the same wheels, offering a good sporty balance between performance and good handling in wet or low-temperature conditions. The 7.5 x 17 H2 ET45 wheels, which were specially developed for the MINI John Cooper Works GP, are derived from the MINI Challenge race car, and feature lightweight contours on flow-formed rims.

On the MINI John Cooper Works GP, the DSC Dynamic Stability Control is not combined with DTC, as would normally be the case, but with a special GP racing mode. Under hard driving, the driver may often not want ASC engine power reduction cutting in, so instead this system offers just ASC braking, based on the EDLC (Electronic Differential Lock Control) subfunction. The EDLC software brakes the wheel on the inside of the turn, and the drive power that would otherwise be lost at this wheel is redirected to the outer wheel, where the contact forces are greater.


The aerodynamic body parts like the large front and rear aprons, striking side sills and model-specific roof spoiler not only add to the appearance but also play an important part in controlling air flow. The rear diffusor, together with the underside panelling (some of which was taken from the Cooper SD) and the roof-edge spoiler, reduce lift forces at the rear axle by 90 per cent, for impeccable handling control even under high-speed cornering and when driving at or near the limit. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; this GP isn’t about weight loss as much as it is suspension and aero.

A six per cent reduction in drag is reflected in improved fuel economy and a higher top speed. The air flow round the front of the car has been significantly improved with the help of a large spoiler and full aerodynamic shielding of the engine compartment underside. This aerodynamic shield not only reduces drag and front axle lift, but also improves air flow through the engine compartment. Slits in the centre of the shield help to expel air from the intercooler. The slits are situated in an area of fast air flow and high vacuum force, so that the air is literally sucked out of the engine compartment, thereby improving the performance of the intercooler.

Unlike the first GP, MINI now has access to BMW’s new industry leading wind-tunnel at its Environmental Testing Center in Munich. That gave the team developing the GP more opportunity to carefully hone the aero both on the bottom and the top of the car.


With its distinctive appearance, the MINI John Cooper Works GP is in no way subtle. The body is painted in the exclusive color Thunder Grey metallic, with red for the edging round the bonnet opening as well as for the exterior mirror caps and the side air intakes in the front apron. John Cooper Works insignia appear on the lower air intake and the tailgate. The final proof of identity is provided by “GP”-badged side stripes running between the front and rear wheel arches. Notably gone are the individually numbered stickers above the doors. The reason given? There are so many unlucky numbers in certain Asian cultures that MINI felt it was better to lessen the visibility of the individual numbers. At this time it’s unclear whether MINI will attempt to give each a number at all. Our guess is no.

The standard specification of the MINI John Cooper Works GP includes xenon headlights in black shells, foglamps, sun protection glazing, air conditioning, DSC with special GP mode, and a Sport button.


The feel is continued inside by an interior ambience which, partly due to the absence of a rear seat bench, is focused entirely on the needs of the driver and “co-driver”, both of whom sit comfortably in Recaro sports seats with special GP stitching. A cargo guard prevents items from sliding forward out of the luggage compartment in sporty driving situations. The John Cooper Works thick-rimmed leather steering wheel and the gearshift knob with chrome ring and red shift diagram help give the driver a more direct feel for the car. Finally, with features like the anthracite roof liner, the piano black interior surfaces and door grips, and the anthracite rev counter and speedometer dials, this interior also helps to improve the driver’s concentration and focus on the road.

A Different GP

Even though the styling of the new GP is very reminiscent of the old, MINI’s making a clear change in direction with this GP. This is a car that was engineered from the ground-up to be exceptional on the track as well as the street. The first GP was created quickly with a number of accessory parts. The new GP seems as it’s cut from a noticeably different cloth. Designed, engineered and then tested over two years, the new JCW GP is a car much closer to an M product than any MINI before it.

No there’s no weight loss. And no there are no big power gains. But in talking with the GP’s head of development, Jorg Weidinger, it became clear that he wasn’t just a product manager for MINI but a racer with more than 15 years experience at the professional level. A quick online search and you’ll find Mr. Weidinger’s personal racing site with his full history dating back to 1994. Why is this a big deal? The GP’s development wasn’t led by a marketer, but by a racer with years of experience at the ‘Ring and throughout Europe’s best tracks. This is why the GP has 17″ wheels, non-runflat tires. This is why the suspension is full adjustable and why the brakes are unusually large for such a light car.

Even if final power and weight figures disappoint some, we expect this GP to easily be the fastest and most track focused MINI to date. And we can thank Mr. Weidinger and his team for bringing new thinking reminiscent of BMW M to the JCW GP brand.

MINI JCW GP Final Specifications (PDF)

MINI United Debut Photos

Official GP Photos

  • pe’ah

    Very nice.


    Assume that spedo is in KPH…


    FINALLY! It’s unfortunate that we had to have somebody leak the information elsewhere before MINI would release official information. Little disappointing that the power figure is where it is, but it’s still set apart(if only slightly) from normal JCWs. There’s always the aftermarket world to turn to for more of that, especially if the engine is essentially the same as the rest of the new JCWs. After the warranty is up, i may venture in that direction, as I’m not planning on letting it go any time soon. When’s MINI giving us a price? Will someone need to leak that too before they tell us?

    • Dr1ver

      Isn’t the price already there? At least on http://www.mini.de/mini/john_cooper_works_gp/ it says 36.800€ for Germany…

      • RedAFMINI

        46k puts it out of reach for me, and I can’t figure out why it could cost so much. I know that mini didn’t make anything on the last one, but does that justify gauging those that want this one? It’s sad, because I’ve had a deposit in at my dealer since April, but that much is ridiculous. Id love to have one, but there’s no way

        • Repeat after me…. it won’t be 46k. Trust us.

        • RedAFMINI

          I hope you’re right, Gabe. Eager to hear what the number actually is.

        • BimmerFile_Michael

          Why do people always convert Euros to Dollars? There is a 19% VAT in that price and the dollar purchasing power is greater.

          What you could do is compare say the price of a loaded JCW to a US Specced as Identical and then come up with a ratio and then plug the GP into that and add in a bit for options that will be standard in the US…..

  • b-

    The rear seate delete is less than I was hoping for, it is just boring I think. Sure, the bar is red and has the aluminum brackets but the 2006 car with the red pods was a much better lookng design. Oh well, they copied the car in SO many ways but sadly they messed this up.

  • BMC Kid

    Funny. In one sentence you say, “At this time it’s unclear whether MINI will attempt to give each a number at all. Our guess is no.” but in the next photo of the dash it shows the number ID of each car.

    • Look closely at what it says – “1 of 2000”. That’s not individually numbered. It’s just remind the owner there are 1999 other GPs rolling around in the world.

      via mobile

  • piperbud

    Aside from the less than impressive power increase, this little MINI suffers from significant cosmetic issues. Get rid of the garish graphics! It will improve its appearance, but it is still not match when compared to the original ’06 aesthetically.

  • And no multi-function steering wheel. This is odd and unfortunate.

    • Who would drive their GP long distances and need cruise! 🙂

      • Oh I dunno, maybe drive it to The Dragon, AMVIV, MOT, MTTS…

      • oldsbear

        So, it’s actually a garage showpiece….

        • Again that’s sarcasm.

        • mike74jcw

          Doesn’t the Bluetooth (standard now in the US) require the MFSW or no?

        • As we mentioned earlier this week Bluetooth is optional in Europe and its EXTREMELY likely that it will be standard on US cars.

        • Yes – we’re guessing it’ll be standard on the US model but have no official confirmation yet.

      • Don’t care so much about cruise but the Bluetooth phone option would’ve been nice. Also, if the sound system is no better than the 2006 GP, the audio buttons are irrelevant since the system is un-listenable. So, yeah, just the phone option/button will be missed.

        Granted, this is one place where MINI can say that this is a dedicated track car so why add creature comforts such as multi-function. That being said, why didn’t they completely pull the audio system and A/C to save weight?

        It’s a great package but since they’ve decided to limit the HP, why not take some simple steps to lighten the car up a little?

        • Totally agree. But MINI has to sell 2000 of these things so its a balancing act for them.

      • mtbscott

        Me. My current and prior MINI’s have seen all sorts of duties, from daily drivers, to autocross, to roadtrips. I will miss cruise and radio controls but can live without them.

      • Yeah, for that we have normal road MINI’s. This one is for changing 400€ tires every 3 months :p. I just want to hear the engine reving up.

    • Ike

      TOTALLY agree here – probably the biggest disappointment for me. I like the radio controls on the steering wheel – A LOT… The more specs that come out on the car, the less I want one.

  • Gil

    With the big brakes and six-pot calipers being one of the more noteworthy features facilitating the improved track times, I’m surprised not to see a “100-to-0” time or something analogous listed in the advertised specs. Has anyone seen numbers that quantify the braking performance?

  • Absolutely beautiful interior!

  • JP not GP

    So are the front and read aprons different than the current JCW parts? They look awefuuly similar. Also, did anyone else notice (full gallery photos) that the door elipses are black on the door but red behind the seats? I hope that is just a screw-up in MINI’s part. When I first saw the photos of the GP as parked in the garage setting, I didn’t care for the color. These outdoor photos really give a better idea of how it will look in the daylight and I must say, it is a very nice color. Personally, I could do without the decals and if it were mine, those would be the first things to go, along with those hideous rims and red ducts and mirror covers.

    • JackMac

      I was with you 100%, right up until the removal of the red mirror covers 🙂 It is dark in person, even in the sunlight.

  • BimmerFile_Michael

    Seeing the interior makes the package a bit better, I will admit. These will sell but I am still not sold on the need for such large and heavy brakes with a (relatively) light car and limited power- seems like overkill especially without even slotted discs (cross drilled would have shaved some weight but do crack over time).

    I guess I am jaded now, bc I know what other companies are putting out as performance models and this is the pinnacle of MINI performance and I am not blown away by it. Is the power ample- sure but every car can use more power to get up to speed quicker and we know what this engine can be pushed to thanks to the WTCC and WRC cars.

    I am sure the handling and braking are sensational but I am curious to see how much of the handling is suspension or just tires- I am hoping one of the EU mags switches wheels out with a JCW and vice versa just to compare the times.

    The weight is sad….

  • that.guy

    ” A cargo guard prevents items from sliding forward out of the luggage compartment in sporty driving situations”

    Really?! Another “decorative cargo restraint bar”? Did someone decide that was a good call on the last GP? Either lose it altogether or make it strong enough to be a true harness mount. Please don’t tell me that this car also has faux brake ducts, too…

  • Erik Rutberg

    A little disappointed with weight but not surprised. Still getting one, but I have been saying all along that the original GP is an e30 BMW M3 and the new GP will be the e36. The e36 did everything better than the e30, but lacked the visceral feel of the original. All these years later I still want the e30, but will never have the need for the e36 M3 (but I still would want a M Coupe/roadster and just reluctantly sold my supercharged 318ti to make way for the new GP. They were all sort of e36s, but the rear suspension was all e30). My GP has nearly 77k miles so I want to keep miles off, and the only cars other than the new GP that interest me will cost 30-70k more (and i’d be that douchbag in the Porsche).

    Gives me a reason to keep the 2006 too. I think I will raise the 2012/13 and install snows in winter, and drive the old one when there is no snow. I live near Philadelphia, so snow is hit or miss in my area. Last year I installed snows on 2 cars, so we only had one snow, but it took a week to clear it in the city.

    I do hope the multifunction wheel comes to the US. Normally I have no need for such luxury, but I always hated the 2 identical knobs next to each other to control stereo on my loaners. I’m sure I would get used to it, but the main reason we ordered my wife’s Countryman with nav was so it wouldn’t have the 2 knobs. With the multifuntion I wouldn’t have to deal with the knobs often.

  • Bob Hayhurst

    I wonder exactly what Jorg Weidinger was tasked with when it came to this vehicle. Was it to create a replica of GP1 only updated to R56 specs? Was it to create a super MINI to be the pinnacle of performance and handling? Was it to change a standard JCW into 1 of 2000 MINI’s to be sold as a higher priced but still affordable vehicle? Whatever it was, IMHO, the GP team pulled it off. I’m sure there were constraints; how do you cut weight from a car that is already so highly engineered? Which systems /options do you lose to save weight without sacrificing an important safety appliance or system. I would think that the engineering costs would be the limiting factor in attempting to maintain a reasonableness in terms of cost structure. No question, MINI could have build a “Veyron” of small cars and priced it some where out of bounds but I don’t think that was the product they wanted out there. I see this for what it is; a great handling, updated GP that will be a few thousand dollars more then it’s predecessor. Yes, you can go down the list and say it should have had this or not had that but I think for what it is, they did pretty damn good. The reality is that when this car gets driven by the target audience that is when GP 2 will prove itself to be either the performance car as Mr. Weidinger intended or something else.

  • James

    I’m no mathematician but I did some math… Using the Euro price of the GP, base JCW, and British pounds price of the GP, base JCW, and Euro to USD converted price, and Pounds to USD converted price, and the ACTUAL US base price of the JCW… I came up with a rough estimate for US price of the GP… this is just an estimate of course but it sounds better than 46k.

    When I used the Euro to Converted USD JCW price and the actual USD JCW price difference ratio and apply to the GP, it comes out to about 38.4k USD. British pounds to converted USD JCW price and the actual USD JCW price difference ratio applied to the GP, it comes out to about 39.5k USD.

    So that sounds much better than 46k… hope that helps everyone

    • That’s more or less my guess as well.

    • mike74jcw

      That sounds about right to me…………I would say $38,500 or thereabouts (guess on my part)

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      @8e58400ad3757aea3756d57d300422db:disqus That’s how you do a proper estimate! Glad someone understands how it all works and that converting Euros/Pounds to dollars is not how purchasing power works.

      The US will also see some extra equipment so it probably will be the mid point of those numbers if I was a betting man.

  • mike74jcw

    Do you guys know if the exhaust is any different than the regular JCW? Any info on when the GPs will be manufactured? My dealer is saying (speculation) Nov

  • James

    I did some math…this is just an estimate. using Euro JCW price, Euro GP price, Euro to converted USD JCW price, Euro to converted USD GP price, British pounds JCW price, British pounds GP price, British pounds to coverted USD JCW price, British pounds to converted USD GP price, and actual USD JCW price.

    Using the Euro ratio, I got 38421.70 USD Using the British Pounds ratio, I got 39489.28 USD

    So… sounds much better than 46k…

  • goat

    An outsider perspective (since sold my R53 JCW): they did well with this GP. First, the weight did not go down but also did not go up (incidentally, DIN weight != NA curb weight, add another 100lb so you can compare across non-EU cars more readily, so ~2650lb). Next, the product designer who greenlighted sending this out the factory door with adjustable coilovers is very much in step with the modding crowd. A good chunk of the enthusiast base will toss whatever suspension comes with a car in the bin (or sell it online) and replace it with coilovers partly for better spring/damp match but also for acquiring adjustability. I sincerely hope MINI starts a trend here and that more OEMs start to spec adjustable coils on their sporting models! 🙂

    I guess we will wait to see how adjustable the coilovers are, of course. It is good to see adjustable ride height (confirmed in the press release), but my ideal would also include adjustable shock body length (to maintain zero pre-load on the springs with ride height changes), and of course damping rebound/compression (adjustable together as is fairly common in street / mild track coilover setups). Would also be nice to see more camber adjustable by the owner with a slotted top camber plate as well. I know H&R does some good work with coilovers and they are very popular in EU so I wonder if they are the supplier for this car?

    • I was wondering the same thing. I wouldn’t be surprised.

    • akng

      In one of their release videos where they were putting the coilovers on the GP, you could see H&R on the spring. Dunno about the shocks though.

  • mike74jcw

    The sales manager at my dealer just got back from a MINI conference and told me the anticipated production date for GPs is now March/April! Any thoughts on this?

    • RedAFMINI

      Sounds like just in time for summer

    • akng

      If this is true, I would really prefer that instead of getting the car in winter, where the R Compound tires will be ruined by the cold temperature from shipping even before it gets to me.

    • HH

      its more like first quarter…. for early as jan/feb, late as march

    • Kurtster

      I haven’t been contacted by my dealer about this yet. The last word I got from them was December delivery. I had planned to store the wheels and tires and run snow tires until spring. Damn, that’s frustrating. If they confirm this will be more like March I think I’ll order a JCW Coupe instead. Cool as this car is, its lack of a quality, lightweight, energy-efficient sound system and modern connectivity features is already close to changing my mind. The late arrival might put me over the top to get my deposit back. Sigh I guess the upside of that plan is that the Coupe is definitely an attention getter, plenty quick and I could have factory navigation and and premium audio. Resale value not so much.

      • RedAFMINI

        At least you’re hearing something, my dealer doesn’t seem to have any idea what’s going on…

  • Kurtster

    Hey all you decal haters. You can you please send me your decals when you take them off so I can put them on my car if I buy a JCW Coupe? I think they’re cool. Thanks. 😀