Hands-On with the 2020 MINI JCW GP – All that We Learned Inside and Out

After years of anticipation the all 301 hp 2020 MINI JCW GP is here. Sort of. Still wrapped and in prototype specification, the GP you see above is 95% of the production car we’ll see next year. Initial thoughts? First and foremost off this thing has presence. Like an M car. MINI has created a distinctly different look with this GP that implies a different level of performance even over a JCW. And with 301 hp, functional aero and other technical improvements, it’s set deliver on those looks.

MINI JCW GP

There are two things that visually dominate the MINI JCW GP in person – the carbon fiber boxed flares and the giant rear wing. The combination of those two has altered the shape of the car and created something that feels brash yet purposeful.

Inside MINI has once again taken out the rear seats and replaced them with storage compartments – similar treatment as seen on previous GPs. However the rear strut brace appears to be (for the first time) a functional piece of engineering rather than ornamental. Elsewhere MINI has replaced the plastic steering wheel paddles with laser cut aluminum ones that have perforated grip and the letter GP etched into them. While this part is still in development it looked rather promising.

Mini jcw gp

In talking with folks from MINI it’s clear that they’ve poured years of development into this car making it feel a bit different than the other two previous GPs. The 301 hp four cylinder drives the front wheels but makes use of BMW’s innovative new ARB traction control that is almost predictive in its action (vs the current DSC which feels reactive). Putting that power down is a revised suspension non-runflat Hanooks Ventus S1 EVOs. Oh and those four piston front brakes? They’re also unique to the car.

Mini jcw gp

MINI JCW GP Technical Details

Powering the GP will be the B48A20T1 which debuted in the X2 M35i and is used on the new JCW Clubman and Countryman. This engine features a number of physical changes over the previous JCW power plant. Reinforced crankshaft, larger main bearings and new pistons fitted with a reduced compression ratio (9.5:1 vs 10.2:1) all allows for a larger turbocharger and increased boost. The intake airflow tract is also improved on the B48A20T1 for higher flow while the cooling system has been upgraded to keep it all at a proper operating temperature.

Helping to put this power down to the road will be the same 8 speed automatic already found in the JCW Countryman and Clubman. While it’s a huge loss for those of us who love manuals, it allows BMW to implement ARB traction control which is how they’ve made 301 hp feel refined in front wheel drive form.

We’ll have much more on the all new JCW GP in the weeks ahead. In the meantime let us know what you think in the comments below.