Those cute, fast little cars from The Italian Job just got faster. The world's fastest MINI has hit Canada, and it's fantastic.
No longer the exclusive domain of ex-pat Brits, nostalgic boomers and women, MINI's high performance John Cooper Works division has brought their speedy little GP to Canada.
This model that we're about to finally get our hands on is the second generation of the GP, and is both the sportiest and the fastest production model that MINI has ever produced. This limited edition road car, was built on racetrack-developed technology.
It's distinctive look is a clear identifier of the JCW brand- this isn't any ordinary MINI. While still cute, it boasts an aggressive looking front and rear, a powerful sports braking system and a roof mounted spoiler to reduce lift. Rolling on 17 inch alloy wheels and equipped with JCW's motorsport technology, this two-seater hatchback's offers performance to match it's distinctive looks. Intensive testing on the Nurburgring track ensured a finely tuned balance between engine, suspension and aerodynamics.
This perky but tough looking MINI is more than just a pretty face. Reaching a top speed of 242 km/h, the John Cooper Works GP can go 0 to 100 in 6.3 seconds. It's got a 1.6 litre turbocharged engine that puts out 218 horses with 207 lbs of torque. Equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox, it's also got a fully adjustable suspension and is 121 lbs lighter than the John Cooper Works hardtop; making it one of the lightest cars in it's class.
Inside, the rear seats have been removed to make more room for the front sport seats. A leather steering wheel and gearshift knob compliment the piano black interior accented with contrasting red stitching.
John Cooper Works, named after the man behind the MINI Cooper, was acquired by BMW, MINI's parent company, in 2007 to help strengthen the MINI brand. A big name in motor sports, Cooper's cars have won the Monte Carlo Rally three times. With the development and engineering resources of BMW behind them, JCW could easily become the MINI equivalent of BMW's "M" brand. The garage themed showrooms convey a very different attitude than those of big brother BMW. With 'Trim Your Rim" sales tools and a relaxed, atmosphere, JCW is reaching out to a younger, demographic. Their cars feature larger rims, with sport tires coming standard, more powerful engines, larger brakes, firmer suspensions and more bolstered seating.
With production capped at 2000 units, fans need to commit early, especially in Canada, where only 50 units have been allotted. Starting just shy of the $40,000 mark, it's the most expensive model in MINI's line-up.
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca