10 Nov, 2012 7:45pm Damion Smy

Our verdict on the fastest MINI ever built, the new 216bhp MINI John Cooper Works GP II


The GP II is the ultimate MINI – both for exclusivity and pure driving enjoyment. It takes the inherent potential of the car’s fantastic chassis to the next level by offering effective set-up changes instead of simply adding more power. But while it’s a special package, it comes at a very high price – around £6,000 more than the standard JCW model.

The new MINI JCW GP II features race-inspired technology that means it’s the fastest MINI ever.

It sits above the standard JCW in the line-up and makes 8bhp more than that car – a total of 216bhp from the 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo engine.

That cuts the 0-62mph time from 6.5 to 6.3 seconds, but MINI’s head of dynamics Jorg Weidinger says the focus was on the driving experience rather than just the acceleration or top speed figures. “It’s more important that you feel the sportiness,” he explained.

To that end, the GP features firmer adjustable suspension with front and rear strut braces. It sits about halfway between the JCW and a MINI Challenge race car for chassis stiffness, and the rear seats have also been taken out to make room for a strut brace.

There are also significant aerodynamic revisions, with attention paid to making the most of the extra grip from the GP’s larger tyres. The aggressive front bumper channels air to a flatter undertray, which flows it through to a new rear diffuser, improving stability. MINI claims an incredible 90 per cent increase in downforce.

This means the GP hangs on in corners better than any other MINI. You can really use the 1.6-litre engine’s power, while the firmer chassis and bigger brakes allow faster entry into corners. You can get on the power much earlier than in a standard JCW.

The stability control has a GP setting, allowing a little more slip before it kicks in, while the electronic diff – which brakes the front wheel with the least grip in bends – stays fully active.

This is an incredible package that’s perfect for track day fun, but only the most dedicated MINI fanatics will be able to swallow the £28,790 price.

Key specs

  • Price: £28,790
  • Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl turbo
  • Power: 216bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 6.3 seconds
  • Top speed: 150mph
  • Economy: 39.8mpg
  • CO2: 165g/km
  • Equipment: Adjustable sports suspension, racing brakes, ESP
  • On sale: Now