MINI has revealed its fastest and most extreme model ever - the MINI John Cooper Works GP. It was first shown in concept form at the MINI United festival in France back in May, but the car shown at the Paris Motor Show is a full production model, and we have all the details.
Power comes from an upgraded version of the 1.6-litre turbo fitted to the standard JCW hatch, with 215bhp. That's 7bhp more, and thanks partly to a weight reduction of 55kg, it sprints from 0-62 in 6.3 seconds - two tenths of a second faster - and onto a top speed of 150mph.
But straight-line speed is only half the story; this car has been carefully honed on the Nurburgring to make it fast though the corners, not just on the straights. It's already clocked a time of 8 minutes 23 seconds around the German circuit - 18 seconds faster than its predecessor from 2006 - the MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Tuning Kit.
Key to its pace is its individually adjustable threaded suspension, which allows the car to be lowered by up to 20mm. The front shock absorbers are also mounted upside down in their tubes, which according to MINI increases overall stiffness.
Increased front camber and specially-designed Pirelli sports tyres (wrapped around lightweight 17-inch wheels), help to improve grip and eradicate understeer, while an upgraded sports braking system makes sure the MINI JCW GP stops as well as it goes.
An extra driving mode - a 'GP' setting - has also been added which allows you to switch of the traction control but still benefit from the electronic differential, which brakes the front wheel with the least grip in corners.
Separating the GP from the rest of the range is its Thunder Grey metallic paint, red highlights, GP decals and unique alloys. On the inside Recaro racing seats hold the driver and passenger in place, while the entire rear bench has been removed.
Only 2,000 units of the MINI JCW GP will go on sale from November, costing from £28,790 - £6,335 more than the standard JCW hatch - although only 200 of those will make it to the UK.