Works Cooper delivers barrels of excitement
This is . . . civilised. And that is true of the whole car
Mini Cooper S John Cooper Works GP
Model:Mini Cooper S John Cooper Works GP
Fuel:Petrol and diesel
Date Reviewed:May 25, 2013
The traction and stability control system can be set up to stop the car sliding out of control, but without interrupting engine power. The body kit may look silly but it cuts rear-end aerodynamic lift by a claimed 90 per cent, so it keeps the GP planted to the road.
The steering is just about perfectly weighted, and feed back a constant chatter of road surface data to your fingers. That long-held Mini trait of seemingly endless front-end grip is magnified here, so that the nose flicks into tight, fast corners with a tenacity that borders on the terrier-like. But it never feels nervous. Even on a proper, bumpy, wet, puddle-and-mud strewn Irish back road, the Mini GP feels secure, sure footed and above all, fun.
While it might be set up for the racetrack (and the suspension is fully adjustable for that if you have the time, tools and inclination) it is a supremely talented road car, able to devour favourite stretches in madcap dashes of fizzing revs and limpet grip. And it can then settle down and be a surprisingly comfy, quiet and capable motorway cruiser, or at least a far better one than the GT3 styling would have you believe.
Downsides? Well, the lack of rear seats means it’s either a two-seater with a massive boot or a seriously impractical van. The brakes, which are so brilliant and reassuring on fast runs, are irritatingly snatchy and sudden around town. And it costs €47,640. For a Mini. With no back seats.
For all that, I’d be amazed if the GP did not sell out fast. For a select few, those with the right roads on their doorstep and a love for the Mini brand, it is a brilliant little thing, all pumped-up aggression with a bass line of usability.
Yes, it’s silly and overpriced but then so are most Hollywood film stars, and the world would be a poorer place without them too. It’s not quite the best hot hatch around (Renault Megane RS, step forward) but it is just terrific fun, missing seats and all.
The lowdown: Mini Cooper S John Cooper Works GP
ENGINE: 1,598cc 4-cylinder turbo petrol with 218bhp @ 6,000rpm and 260Nm of torque @ 1,750rpm.
Official l/100km: 7.1l/100km (39.7mpg)
EMISSIONS (motor tax): 165g/km (€570)
FEATURES: Unique paint, body kit and decals, 17” alloy wheels, tuned engine, modified, adjustable suspension, climate control, Bluetooth phone and USB connection, leather bucket seats (no back ones though).