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.

Written By: Gabe

  • 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.

  • 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 :)

  • HeyWuWu

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

  • http://www.facebook.com/frank.granados.733 Frank Granados

    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?

Sort by MINI model

MotoringFile on Instagram

MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

Advertise with MotoringFile

If you or your company are interested in advertising on the most influential MINI website in the world, please visit our Advertising section. If you have further questions about becoming a sponsor or would like to see our rate sheet please feel free to contact us directly.
mini mini
Translate MotoringFile with Google: 
2015 F56 JCW

MotoringFile Buyers Guides

R50 ('02-'06 MC) Buyers Guide
R53 ('02-'06 MCS) Buyers Guide



MotoringFile Reviews

'12 JCW Coupe
'11 Fiat 500 Sport
'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
'11 Cooper S Hatch
'11 Countryman MCS (FWD)
'11 Countryman MC (auto)
'10 Mayfair MCS (auto)
'11 Countryman MCS (ALL4)
'10 MINI E
'10 Tesla Roadster Sport
'09 Cooper S Convertible
'09 JCW Hatch
'09 JCW Clubman
JCW Stage I vs JCW Stage II
'08 Clubman S (Auto)
1st Drive: '08 MINI Clubman
'08 Smart Fourtwo
Comparison: '08 BMW 135i
'06 R53 MCS vs '07 R56 MCS
'07 R56 JCW (Stage 1)
'07 MINI Cooper S Long Term
'07 BMW Z4 M Coupe
'07 MINI Cooper & Cooper S
Audio: '07 MC/MCS at the Track
'06 JCW GP Long term
Reader Review: JCW GP
'06 JCW Cooper S Long Term
Comparison: '06 Lotus Elise
Comparison: '06 Mazda MX5
Comparison: '06 UK Focus ST
Comparison: '06 Civic Si
Comparison: '04 TVR T350
Comparison: '06 Nissan 350z
Comparison: '06 VW GTI w/DSG
Podcast: Cooper S Auto
Podcast: BMW 325i
Podcast: JCW MC Soundkit
'04 JCW MINI Cooper Tuning Kit
'05 MCS: One Month Review
'05 MCS Auto
'05 JCW S 1st Drive
'05 MINI Cooper
'05 MCS Conv. Long Term
'05 MINI Cooper S
'05 MCS Cabrio 1st Drive
'04 JCW MCS First Drive
'04 MC w/JCW Tuning Kit
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range