Senior EVO staff writer Jetro Bovingdon asks the question many MF readers have been wondering for almost a year now; is this a ‘cynical marketing exercise or baby M car?’ His conclusion will delight the GP lovers out there. Here’s an excerpt from the article appearing in this month’s EVO:

>More Power, less weight, no compromise. That, BMW would have us believe, is the mantra embodied by the Mini Cooper S works GP. ‘Think of it as a baby M car,’, they say, ‘maybe even a junior CSL…’

>Of course, they would say that. Another view is that the GP is just a Chintsy limited special edition pitched at hapless victims who are prepared to pay through the nose for the ‘ultimate Mini’. At £22000 and with just 8bhp more than the 210bhp, £19120 Mini Cooper S Works, its tempting to dismiss it as a cynical marketing exercise.

>BMW’s reasoning behind the John Copper Works GP kit (unlike the regular ‘Works’ Kit, John Cooper garages had no involvement with the GP’s development) raises your expectations, however, Andreas Dechar, leader of the chassis validation team, is passionate about the car and what it stands for. ‘Some of the tuning products for the mini are terrible and obviously we have no control over it’, says Decher, almost with a wince. ‘The GP gives us the chance to do it properly.’ So what was the target with the GP? Decher smiles. ‘To fulfill the ultimate potential of the Mini’.

>…You’ll find the throttle is a great an influence on the GP’s attitude as the steering wheel too… With the chassis fully loaded you can shut down the power and feel the rear gently give up its grip, pre-empting the diff by killing understeer with a bit of rear steering. Through quick corners its particularly satisfying, the GP perfectly poised and obedient to your every whim. Its at moments like these that the GP seems worth the premium over a Cooper S Works. £22000 is a lot of money but the GP serves up massive entertainment.

>EVO rating: 5 stars
>+ Storming engine, responsive chassis
>- Looks divide opinion, no rear seat

Be sure to look for this month’s EVO at your local magazine shop for the full article and accompanying photos.

Big thanks to Tony for sending this tip in.