What has two seats, a turbocharged engine, and is 18 seconds quicker around the Nurburgring than its predecessor? In this case, the answer is the second-generation, 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP, which will debut at the Paris Motor Show later this month.
The last time we saw a Mini John Cooper Works GP (Mini GP for shorthand), it was 2006 and the first generation of the retro-styled Mini was ending its product run. The GP, which was limited to 2000 units, took a stock Mini John Cooper Works hardtop and added power and suspension upgrades. Its supercharged 1.6-liter I-4 made 214 horsepower, which made the most powerful production Mini money could buy at the time.
Fast forward six years: Mini is once again readying a new generation of Coopers, and the current-generation Mini’s swansong is once again a Mini GP — although this one promises to be a bit different than the last one.
To start, the second-gen GP’s engine is turbocharged, not supercharged. Still, the uprated powerplant–a 1.6-liter, twin-scroll turbocharged I-4–makes 218 horsepower, which is sent through a six-speed manual transmission to the front wheels. For most of the time, the GP makes 192 lb-ft of torque, but as with other turbocharged Minis it has an overboost function that can briefly increase torque to 207 lb-ft. With that power on tap, Mini estimates the GP will hit 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and top out at 150 mph.
To keep the party going when the road gets twisty, Mini also fitted uprated brakes, stickier tires, and unique suspension hardware. The GP is the first Mini to come with adjustable coilovers, which allow drivers to lower the ride height by up to 20 mm. Engineers tweaked the car’s suspension geometry to provide more grip and decrease understeer. When the driving gets even more spirited, the GP has a modified traction/stability control system that promises reduced intervention. It also instigates torque vectoring by braking the inside wheel in a turn, which helps increase speed during cornering.
Exterior amendments include a full aerodynamic kit, complete with a new front apron, rear diffuser, and a rear deck spoiler. Fans of the last GP’s hot four-spoke wheels will be happy to know those visual cues return. Inside, the front seats are supplied by Recaro, and the rear seats are replaced by a bright red strut tower brace.
Details tied to pricing and availability haven’t yet been announced, other than to say that 2000 will be made in 2013 and that some of them will reach the United States. Still, we’d suggest calling your Mini dealer very soon and getting ready to cut a big check: less than 500 of the last GP Mini made it to our shores at a price well above that of the Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop. For die-hard Mini fans, however, it’ll be well worth the cost.