Driving the Insanely Maxed Out Mini GP

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The brand new Mini GP, which is able to solely be offered for one 12 months, is already onerous sufficient to pin down—do you have to be fortunate sufficient to get your fingers on one via a supplier proper now. It’s tougher to label, written up elsewhere as, in no shot order: insane, impractical, overpriced, and too hairball. These critics are lifeless fallacious.

Let’s take these statistically pushed (and clearly not passion-driven) arguments on separately.

First, nevertheless, somewhat background: That is the third-generation Mini GP. Every model has been a works Mini for the highway. It’s not a bundle. It’s not some scraps of “particular” leather-based trim and a few fake carbon-fiber sill plates and a CPU flash for 5 extra horsepower. It’s a bespoke, numbers-limited automotive that, possible, you’ll personal and the one different GP you’ll ever see shall be at a Mini meet-up 5 states away.

Mini GP spolier

Prior generations, in each 2006 and 2013, had been maxed at 2,000 automobiles worldwide. That’s expanded to three,000 automobiles worldwide for the 2021 GP, however nonetheless, we’re speaking about solely a fistful for North America. This third-generation GP is probably the most highly effective, and never by just a bit bit. The 2013 automotive produced 211 hp. The 2021 will get basically the identical engine that’s in BMW’s M235i Gran Coupe, delivering 301 hp and at occasions almost untamable 331 lb-ft of torque.

As for what’s fallacious with it, and why that doesn’t matter, right here’s our take.

Argument No. 1: The Mini GP is Too Dang Costly

It definitely is. Base value is $45,570. A virtually-as-fast Honda Civic Kind R is means cheaper, at $37,950. That automotive has front-wheel drive, just like the Mini GP, and each are restricted in consequence. The Honda’s 306 hp, and 0-60 occasions (about 5 seconds flat) in addition to different efficiency points are comparable, too (extra on that within the subsequent part).

Arguably the “finest” sizzling hatch of the phase is the $41,290 VW Golf R, just because all-wheel-drive makes it quite a bit simpler to drive, and, in consequence, it shoots to 60 mph a half-second faster, since it may possibly put all its energy down extra readily (though it comes with a bit much less grunt at 288 hp). The identical factor occurs darting out of corners—the place you need the muscle on the highway, not ripping via the front-wheel-driven tires of each the Mini and, to a lesser extent thanks to actually good engineering, of the Honda.

One other key distinction is that each the Honda and the VW get adaptive suspensions, permitting them to really feel softer round city, and solely rock-rigid whenever you need that, for the monitor. Additionally, the Honda comes with a row-your-own guide six-speed gearbox. You’ll be able to have both a DSG twin-clutch automated within the VW, or a guide. The Mini solely comes with an eight-speed automated.

So the Mini prices extra and has much less tech. Why doesn’t that matter? Maintain studying.

Mini GP Media Track Program in Monticello, NY

Argument No. 2: The Mini GP is Too Hairball.

Right here’s the info: This Mini drives offended. It brawls like an Englishman who’s had six pints and has simply seen his staff lose at soccer (the different soccer, that’s).

We bought to check the Mini GP at New York’s Monticello Motor Membership, a non-public, members-only monitor within the Catskills. It’s an undulating, serpentine, 20-corner beast the place you’re certain to be fallacious greater than as soon as with each lap, and the place a front-wheel-drive torque monster just like the Mini GP can get somewhat terrifying. Positive, the GP’s monitor was widened versus the inventory Hardtop. It sits on distinctive springs and dampers, and will get giant anti-roll bars, plus Mini binned the rear seats solely, placing a cross-chassis bridge that spans the inside of the cabin proper about the place your chest can be if these seats nonetheless existed. Mini bolted up chassis bracing in every single place else the engineers might handle, too.

Mini GP chassis

Value be aware: The 18-inch wheels mounted to GP-specific, 235/35 Hankook tires—and the hey-there, cartoonish, carbon-fiber bolstered plastic fenders with built-in numbering (indicating which automotive within the collection you personal). These are practical, designed to vent away warmth from the tires and from the large, and wonderful, 14-inch brakes. Mini engineers added an enormous roof wing, to extend downforce—and to sign in unapologetically bonkers fashion that no different Mini on the highway has what you’ve gotten.

mini GP

However none of those vital measures can totally mood the aforementioned 331 lb-ft of torque, and whereas the suspension is decidedly super-glued to the bottom, and the automotive sits .4 inches decrease than the already squat John Cooper Works version, it crabs and hops and claws for traction always everytime you’re deep within the throttle.

At Monticello, we had been at all times deep within the throttle.

Arguably, the automotive can be higher both with a official guide gearbox (Mini/BMW don’t have one that might deal with this output) or dual-clutch automated, particularly on the monitor, the place quick-downshifts had been too continuously vetoed by the eight-speed-autobox.

Mini GP engine

As for the suspension, it’s simply sadistically stiff. Mini makes different automobiles for you, nevertheless, if that’s how you’re feeling.

I’ll say that they may’ve completed extra work on downforce. It is a brief automotive. It’s greater than two ft shy of the size of the Honda Civic Kind R, a hatch that Honda massaged extensively to make certain it will be secure at triple-digit speeds. Above 130 mph on the longest straight at Monticello, the Mini begins to hunt and drift and dance. It will get somewhat spooky. I didn’t rocket wherever close to its 165 mph prime pace, and given the way it felt nudging above 130 mph, I don’t wish to.

Then once more, this can be a very mild automotive, weighing simply 2,860 kilos, versus 3,100 kilos for the Honda Civic Kind R, and a full 500 kilos lower than the Golf R. Once you’re not sweating for apexes, the GP is positively, hysterically flickable. Lighter automobiles have that vast profit and Mini’s taken that playfulness and pushed it to 11/10ths, simply because.

The GP is doing the lampshade dance when all the opposite carmakers are tut-tutting. However who’s having extra enjoyable?

Mini GP cockpit

Argument No. 3: The Mini GP is Impractical

You sir, win the prize! This one is true. Each the Honda and the Golf R have legitimately useable backseats that flip ahead and supply way more cargo capability, to not point out, neither has a large purple cross-brace the place a second row of seats belongs. Mini spokespersons confirmed us a slide that testified to why they don’t give a rat’s behind. The majority of their consumers have no less than two different automobiles and a really sizable chunk have three different automobiles. They’ve a BMW X5 as a result of it’s sensible. Perhaps they’ve a fair greater one to tow their boat. In the event that they’re shopping for the GP it’s as a result of it’s NOT the identical grocery getter everybody else has on their block.

Positive, different “sizzling hatches” are extra pragmatic. However each the Golf R and the Honda Kind R skew towards a a lot youthful, a lot much less rich demographic. Their hatches have to be sensible as a result of they drive their automobiles every day. The GP isn’t that in any respect. On objective. Additionally, if I didn’t say this already, nearly the entire GP’s are spoken for already. So the critics could be proper all they need about how a automotive provides up on paper. Mini’s simply going to maintain throwing a too-loud, too-raucous get together and see who comes. Gosh, I want extra carmakers would attempt that.

Mini GP


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