Early Take: 2015 F56 MINI JCW vs the R53 and R56 MINI GP

The 2015 MINI JCW is the highest horsepower MINI from the factory of all time. But is it the fastest? The numbers tell an interesting story that paint a more nuanced picture than you’d think. Especially when you compare it to the previous fastest MINI, the GPs.

Let’s first look at the reigning champion when it comes to power. 2006 GP had 218 hp and a gross vehicle weight of 2,469 lbs. The HP to weight ratio was .088 hp/lb. The 2015 JCW has 228 hp and a gross vehicle weight of 2,845 lbs. The HP to weight ratio is .080 hp/lb. Incidentally, the 2013 GP had a .081 hp/lb ratio. Therefore if you’re looking at power only the R53 GP actually produces a better power to weight ratio. However power isn’t the headlining story of the new JCW.

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The 2006 GP produced 180 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm. The 2014 GP made due with 192 lb-ft (207 with an overboost function) at 1750 rpm. Compare that with the 2015 JCW which puts down a staggering 236 pound-feet of torque starting at only 1,250 rpm. This figure more than the power is the key difference between all the JCWs and this new 2015 model.

What does this mean for 0-60 times? The 2006 GP, the 2013 GP and the 2015 JCW (auto) have identical 0-60 times – 5.9 sec. However looking at 0-60 times are a bit of a fallacy here given that traction is the limiting factor because of the front wheel drive set-up. More torque and power wouldn’t really change the 0-60 time much without different tires or a real differential.

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But if you’re buying a MINI for 0-60 times, you’re buying the wrong car. Where these cars are truly different is around corners. The R53 GP possesses enormous character and of course a visceral quality to its driving experience that will never be matched again. The R56 GP on the other hand has by far the more serious suspension set-up and thus is a much more out of the box track car than anything MINI has ever produced. The 2015 JCW (in factory sports suspension trim) is intended to be the fastest daily driver MINI has ever produced. It will surely be effortlessly fast while just as comfortable as a standard Cooper S.

While we have yet to drive the new JCW (look for a full road test in a few months on MotoringFile) we can surmise that each of these cars represent very different answers to the same question. Do you want a classic? Do you want a track car? Or do you want something with all the technology, comfort and performance you could ever imagine from a MINI?