Ask MF: Used R53 GP or a Used R56 JCW?

As aptly pointed out by a reader both the first GP and early R56 JCWs are priced similarly in the mid-20s these days. So which one to get? The first question we’d have to ask – is this a daily driver? If so the more modern R56 (presumably with some options and nice to haves) would be the easy logical choice. However things get much more interesting when this isn’t about solving the problem of finding a daily driver.

If this is filling the need of finding a fun car good weather and/or the weekend the JCW GP is hands down our choice. Not only is it immediately more fun but it’s also a bit like owning MINI royalty.

But enough about our vote. Let’s hear yours in the comment section.

  • Rob

    Use R53 anything. Next question.

  • Chris Underwood

    I think for a non-DD I’d go with a standard R53 and spend the extra cash on aftermarket parts to suit my taste. Neat to be able to say you own a GP, but I’d feel bad modifying one.

  • savvy

    R53 > R56 S… hands down.

  • HeyWuWu

    I had to make the same choice. Drove both. Ended up with the GP. Never looked back!

  • BeKwik

    I owned a GP for 3 years. It was a daily driver. Awesome car.

    Only drawbacks:

    1. Can only take one other person with you.

    2. Can’t go skiing, or anywhere there isn’t pavement.

    • Ike

      In my GP, if we have a 3rd, they sit in the back, with there legs in the wells behind the seats, with a ‘manual’ seat-secure, the red bar 🙂

  • R53 2006 GP all the way. Still better looking car (Read: A Classic), superb resale value and a Tritec engine that is devoid of all the ugly problems that plague the Prince engine (Most specifically the older N14 Turbo motor).

  • John McLauchlan

    I currently own both (an R53 GP and R56 WC50 Edition), and had to make the difficult decision to sell one. I am keeping the GP.

  • walk0080

    I don’t like the looks of the R53 or the R56 GPs so I would go for an R56 JCW. 🙂


    Never owned a R53 i cant say much on that front

    I have owned a R56 MINI ONE with 1.4L

    I now own a R56 LCI JCW

    The R56 JCW well daily driver to me and massive fun

    Having set in the new GP and been taken around for hot laps. I fell in love with it

    I have thought about purchasing a R52 GP as a 2nd car purely as weekend driver because its something special and rare

  • piper

    Aside from passenger accommodation, the R53 is BEST in every sense of the word. And, really, who gives hoot about passenger accommodation in a car like MINI, anyway! MINI COOPERS were designed to be fun first and commodious second from day one.

  • piper

    I would buy a pristine/low-mileage R53 in a nanosecond, but have found that they are not readily available in the resale market.

  • 3PedalMINI

    R53 any day of the week, I had an R53 and absolutely loved it i Have an R56 and despise it, i cannot wait for my lease to be hope. Mini is gone, they are becoming more mainstream and unenjoyable. Besides, the looks of the R53 are much more superior

    • 3PedalMINI


    • Ike

      I disagree on the looks, I like the R56 looks.

      Tell me more about what you don’t like about the R56. I owned both, an r53 convertible, and an R56 GP… Loving the GP, with the upgraded stuff inside.

      Seems like there’s more lag (from the Turbo), but otherwise, I like the car better.

  • SouthAfricanGP

    Proud owner of GP1719 – and I’m about to put it into storage for when my newborn son turns 18 (he’d better appreciate it!). 7 years and 90,000 k’s on the clock. it’s been my daily driver because i couldn’t bear to keep it locked up in the garage – it helps that Johannesburg has about 10 months of pure sunshine every year 🙂

    so guess which I’d choose?