Mini took to the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show to reveal the hottest evolution of its iconic Mini Cooper Hardtop: the 2020 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works GP.
A stripped out, performance-maximizing version of the spicy John Cooper Works, the pricey GP variant ditches its back seats and sound-deadening material to rid itself of excess weight, aided by improvements to its chassis and powertrain. Front strut braces, stiffer bushings, and revised crossmembers make the GP's unibody the stiffest in Mini-land, and let the tweaked dampers and springs (which let the GP sit 10 millimeters lower) do their job.
Said job, of course, is to play a role in making the 2,855-pound JCW GP a nimble little scamp. A widened track, lightweight, 18-inch forged wheels, and "particularly high-performance" brakes (comprised of four-piston front calipers and single-piston rears) all play their roles, as do electronic assists such as Dynamic Stability Control. These can be turned down in the car's "GP" drive mode, and DSC can be turned off, though not all the GP's tricks can be silenced; its mechanical limited-slip differential is always there to save your applesauce.
It's also there to handle the extra power squeezed from the GP's 2.0-liter turbo-four engine, which leaps 75 horsepower from JCW spec to 306 horse in this application. Peak torque is a monumental 331 pound-feet, and comes on as low as 1,750 rpm. Divvied up to each front wheel through an automatic eight-speed transaxle, it will pull the GP from zero to 62 in a mere 5.2 seconds, and on the Autobahn it'll manage 164 mph.
Those kinds of speeds will make you grateful that the GP's anything-but-subtle aerodynamics aren't for show. New front and rear bumpers, individually numbered carbon fender flares, and that giant wing may help Mini sell all 3,000 of these limited-edition hatches, but they're really to give the JCW GP a Nürburgring time some 30 seconds quicker than the 8:23-clocking JCW. That's about a 7:53 lap time, or as bench racers will tell you, about 10 seconds slower than a Honda Civic Type R. It's also considerably more expensive than the superlative Honda, coming in at $45,750 delivered.
Should your hot hatch allegiances lie with Mini alone, you better get a word in with your local Mini dealer before order banks fill up. Deliveries commence in March of 2020, and extensive lapping of your local track immediately afterward.