MINI Specialist Cars MINI

28 September 2012

Laura Trott


Specialist Cars at the weekend welcomed their sponsored double Olympic gold medal winning cyclist Laura Trott to our three dealerships in Tring, Luton and Stevenage for the Ultimate Drive Event, 22-23 September.

Laura won gold medals in both of her Track Cycling events at the London 2012 Olympic Games, setting a new world record in the Women’s Team Pursuit alongside teammates Joanna Rowsell and Dani King, before winning individual gold in the six-discipline Omnium event.

Specialist Cars supported Laura on her quest to the London 2012 Olympic Games over the last two years helping to build support in the local area and providing her with a car.

Laura brought both of her gold medals with her to our three Specialist Cars dealerships for the Ultimate Drive Event, and visitors had the chance to speak to the 20-year-old Olympian about training, her success and the experience of competing at a home Games.

For more information and to see pictures of Laura Trott at our Ultimate Drive Events visit our Facebook page.

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20 September 2012

MINI Cooper D the most ‘Fun Green Car

What Car? has named the MINI Cooper D the most ‘Fun Green Car’ for the second year running at the publication’s annual Green Awards.

Combining a wealth of innovative environmental technology with a frugal 1.6 litre diesel engine, the MINI Cooper D emits just 99g/km of CO2 and achieves 74.3mpg without compromising its legendary ‘go-kart’ handling.

The MINI Cooper D is fitted with MINI’s highly acclaimed MINIMALISM technologies, which are standard across the entire MINI range, and include features such as Auto Start Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration and Shift Point Display. Combined, these technologies ensure that MINI customers get the most from each tank of fuel without detracting from the driving experience.

Chas Hallett, What Car? Editor in Chief said; “The MINI Cooper D proves it is absolutely possible to minimise transport impact on the environment and still have a lot of fun behind the wheel. It’s exempt from road tax and congestion charges, which makes it a great commuter vehicle, and it’s equally at home on country lanes and motorways. For all-round appeal, it’s hard to beat a MINI.”

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18 September 2012

BMW Ultimate Drive Event

Specialist Cars will be welcoming their sponsored double Olympic gold medal winning cyclist Laura Trott to its three BMW dealerships in Tring, Luton and Stevenage for the BMW Ultimate Drive Event, 22-23 September.

Laura won gold medals in both of her Track Cycling events at the London 2012 Olympic Games, setting a new world record in the Women’s Team Pursuit alongside teammates Joanna Rowsell and Dani King, before winning individual gold in the six-discipline Omnium event.

Laura will have both of her gold medals with her as she visits the three Specialist Cars dealerships for the Ultimate Drive Event, and visitors will have the chance to speak to the 20-year-old Olympian about training, her success and the experience of competing at a home Games.

And Laura won’t be the only star on show at the dealerships. Visitors to the BMW Ultimate Drive Events will get to see the new BMW 3 Series Touring, the BMW 1 Series 3-door Hatch, the awe-inspiring new BMW M6 Coupé and Convertible, the versatile BMW X1 and, the flagship of the range, the new BMW 7 Series. What’s more, every guest can enter a free prize draw for the chance to win a BMW for every season, as well as tickets to BMW hospitality events throughout the year.

Discover tempting offers across the BMW range, and discover impressive performance thanks to BMW EfficientDynamics. These technologies were one of the main reasons BMW was selected as Official Automotive Partner for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The BMW Ultimate Drive Event takes place at all three BMW dealerships from Saturday 22 to Sunday 23 September. Laura Trott will be at Tring on 22 September from 1pm – 2.30pm, at Stevenage from 3.30pm – 5pm, and Luton on 23 September from 1.30pm – 3.30pm.

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14 September 2012

MINI Paceman


A sporty new exterior design, lowered suspension for a dynamic ride and an exciting reinterpretation of the familiar interior – feast your eyes on the all-new MINI Paceman, set for UK launch in March 2013.

Styled as a coupé interpretation of the Countryman, four versions will be available when it arrives in showrooms next spring, including the MINI Cooper S Paceman which will have a 0-62mph of just 7.5 seconds. The seventh unique member of the family, it will sell alongside the Hatch, Clubman, Convertible, Countryman, Coupé and Roadster.

Packed with MINI character and obvious design cues which tie it to the rest of the range, the three-door Paceman’s unique exterior styling is what immediately catches the eye. Built on the Countryman platform, bumper to bumper the car is 4,109 mm (4,115mm for MINI Cooper S Paceman and Cooper SD Paceman), which makes it almost identical in size to its sibling.

With a contemporary and expressive body shape, the Paceman has been created to appeal to a new type of design-conscious customer. The prominent horizontal lines and dynamic curved surfaces give the promise of sporting performance, yet there is an elegant simplicity to the overall form of the car.

The upright front grille, complete with hexagonal radiator grille and broad chrome surround, gives the Paceman genuine presence. Its coupé-style stretched side profile features long doors, while the blacked-out pillars create a ‘floating’ roof concept, as already seen on the MINI Coupé. Available in either black, white or body colour, the roof gently slopes towards the rear of the car, ending at the integrated spoiler. The horizontal arrangement of the rear lights, which accentuates the car’s width, is a first for MINI. The Paceman is the only member of the brand’s line-up to be identified by a rear nameplate.

The car’s interior has been designed specifically for this model. Its highlight is the innovative rear seat, which has been styled around a lounge concept. Two individual chairs provide generous levels of head, shoulder and knee room with outstanding comfort and support. Armrests have been integrated into the rear trim. A two-section version of the MINI Centre Rail storage and attachment system – first seen in the Countryman – comes as standard. A full-length variant is available as an option.

The Paceman is a strict four-seater, though practicality has not been sacrificed. Folding down the rear seats expands the rear load-carrying capacity from 330 litres to a maximum of 1,080 litres. Access is via a large and high-opening tailgate, offering extra practicality for owners.

In the front, the raised seating position gives the driver and passenger an excellent view in every direction. The instrument panel includes many familiar components, including the large round central speedo. However, its black surround and decorative inner rings in high-gloss black or chrome are new, as are the redesigned air vent surrounds. Buttons for the windows, which have been toggle switches below the speedo on every MINI to date, have moved to the door trim panel.

MINI’s trademark go-kart handling will be a key part of the Paceman’s appeal, enhanced by the optional all-wheel drive transmission. Lowered sports suspension as standard will help provide customers with an outstanding driving experience, though regular suspension and ride height are available as a no-cost option.

From launch, Paceman customers will have the choice of four powerful four-cylinder engines, two petrol and two diesel. All come with a six-speed manual gearbox, or the optional six-speed automatic with Steptronic function for manual control.

For petrol buyers, the MINI Cooper Paceman features a 1.6-litre 122bhp unit offering a 0-62mph time of 10.4 seconds, fuel economy of 47.1mpg with CO2 emissions of 140 g/km. The MINI Cooper S Paceman uses the same engine, tuned to deliver 184bhp. It will sprint to 62mph in 7.5 seconds. Fuel economy is 46.3mpg and emissions are 143g/km.

For those who prefer diesel, the MINI Cooper D Paceman uses a 1.6-litre 112bhp turbocharged engine with a 0-62mph time of 10.8 seconds. It will provide owners with a frugal 64.2mpg fuel economy and 115g/km emissions. The flagship diesel is the MINI Cooper SD Paceman, which gets a 2.0-litre 143bhp engine. Its 0-62mph time is 9.2 seconds. Fuel economy is 61.4mpg with an emissions figure of 122g/km.

For buyers who want the reassuring grip that comes with four-wheel drive, MINI’s ALL4 system is available on the Cooper D, SD and Cooper S Paceman, models. And for those seeking the ultimate in MINI performance and desirability, a John Cooper Works Paceman version is in development.

Under the Paceman’s body shell, sophisticated chassis technology includes MacPherson spring struts and forged cross members at the front axle, a multi-link rear axle and electric power steering with Servotronic function. These combine to provide a sure-footed yet dynamic driving experience. Extra fun can be summoned via the sport button, optional on Cooper and Cooper D, which tweaks the engine’s responses and the power assistance provided by the steering.

Driver aids include Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) as standard across the range, with Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) including Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC) on the MINI Cooper S Paceman, Cooper SD Paceman and Cooper D Paceman ALL4. Light alloy wheels in 16-inch and 17-inch sizes are standard, with 18-inch or 19-inch on the options list.

The state-of-the-art powertrain and suspension technology is married to MINI’s acclaimed MINIMALISM environmental systems, which are fitted as standard. They include Auto Start/Stop, Shift Point Display, Brake Energy Regeneration and on-demand operation of ancillary units, all of which help cut fuel use and reduce emissions.

Outstanding occupant protection is provided by an extensive range of safety equipment including front and side airbags. Side curtain airbags are fitted in both the front and back. ISOFIX child seat attachments in the rear and a tyre pressure warning are on every Paceman.

Other standard equipment includes air conditioning, powered door mirrors and front sports seats. Popular options will include Xenon Adaptive Headlights, Park Distance Control, an electrically operated glass roof plus the MINI navigation system. Advanced infotainment functions are available via MINI Connected. A range of optional equipment packages will also be available providing customers excellent value and helping to promote strong residual values.

Eight exterior paint shades are available including the new Brilliant Copper and Blazing Red. Starlight Blue also previously unseen and unique to the Paceman. As always with MINI, personalisation is expected to be very popular and there is an extensive choice of bonnet stripes, upholstery variants, interior surfaces and Colour Lines.

It will go sale on 16 March 2013 with prices starting at just £18,970 on the road.

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10 September 2012

MINI John Cooper Works Countryman

The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman

Introduction of the latest new model to wear the badge of MINI’s John Cooper Works sub-brand; MINI John Cooper Works Countryman is the performance model of the range and the first to come with MINI ALL4 all-wheel drive; MINI John Cooper Works Countryman combines racing passion on the road with extreme driving fun on rough terrain; authentic embodiment of traditional motor sport expertise and the current rally racing programme; introducing this distinctive racing feel into another new vehicle segment opens up additional target groups for the John Cooper Works brand.

  • Newly developed four-cylinder turbocharged engine with 1.6-litre displacement and maximum output of 160 kW/218 hp; peak torque: 280 Newton metres / 207 lb-ft (with overboost: 300 Nm / 221 lb-ft); most powerful drive unit in the MINI model range, featuring construction principles and materials adapted specially from race-trim cars; innovative combination of twin-scroll turbocharger, petrol direct injection and fully variable valve management based on the BMW Group’s VALVETRONIC technology; compelling performance – acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.0 seconds – and stand-out efficiency in this output class; extensive range of MINIMALISM technology, including Brake Energy Regeneration, Gear Shift Indicator, Auto Start-Stop function and Electric Power Steering.
  • Six-speed manual gearbox fitted as standard, six-speed automatic gearbox with Steptronic function and steering wheel shift paddles available as an option; standard sports exhaust produces stirring soundtrack; standard Sport Button tweaks the engine’s responses and vocal character, the power assistance provided by the steering and the shift dynamics of the optional automatic gearbox.
  • MINI ALL4 permanent all-wheel drive makes its debut in a John Cooper Works model; distribution of power varied seamlessly between the front and rear axles by an electromagnetic centre differential positioned directly on the final drive; DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) including DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) and EDLC (Electronic Differential Lock Control) linked up toALL4 all-wheel drive as standard; hallmark MINI handling characteristics expressed in maximum intensity and with a new, traction-led character.
  • Sophisticated chassis technology with MacPherson struts at the front axle and a central-arm rear axle adapted specially for the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman; standard sports suspension with particularly firmly tuned springs and dampers, strengthened anti-roll bars and a 10-millimetre drop in ride height; powerful brakes with red callipers; extra-lightweight 18-inch Twin Spoke light-alloy wheels fitted as standard; exclusive 19-inch wheels available as an option.
  • Standard-fitted aerodynamic kit provides striking appearance and optimised airflow; John Cooper Works logo on the radiator grille and tailgate; front foglamps fitted as standard; selection of seven exterior paint shades available; contrast paint finish for the roof and exterior mirror caps can be ordered in white and black, as well as the red shade available exclusively for John Cooper Works models; Sport Stripes in white, black or red are optional.
  • Special John Cooper Works cockpit design with sports seats, sports steering wheel, interior trim strips in Piano Black, anthracite-coloured roof liner and dark speedometer and rev counter dials; John Cooper Works door sills; optional: sports seats with Lounge Leather trim in Carbon Black Championship Red, interior trim strips in Chili Red.
  • First John Cooper Works model with four doors and a large tailgate; rear compartment can be ordered with either a seat bench for three passengers or a pair 
  • The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman will cost £28,595 in the UK.

The MINI family is constantly expanding, and new additions have also been made to the range of John Cooper Works models. For the first time, race-bred thrills can be experienced in combination with the transfer of power through all four wheels. The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, fitted with the most powerful engine in the MINI model range and equipped as standard with the ALL4 all-wheel-drive system, assures the driver of extreme driving fun on any terrain. Powertrain and chassis technology underpinned by extensive motor sport expertise teams up with the vehicle concept of the first MINI with four doors, a large tailgate and up to five seats to introduce the famed handling characteristics and looks of John Cooper Works models to additional target groups in another new segment. The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman will cost £28,595 in the UK.

The MINI Countryman has displayed its sporting potential in a string of impressive performances in the World Rally Championship (WRC) – proof, were it needed, that the brand’s first five-seater shares the racing genes which define the character of every MINI. Now John Cooper Works has polished these inherent talents to dazzling effect in a production model.

Unique combination: variable-usage interior, impressive output, poise and assurance in an extremely wide range of road conditions.

Within its class, the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman brings an unrivalled combination of race-focused powertrain technology, all-wheel drive, premium profile and versatile interior to the table. And its inimitable style also comes to the fore through various design features and an exclusive selection of paint finishes, light-alloy wheels and interior materials. The standard equipment of the sixth model in the John Cooper Works line-up includes an aerodynamic kit which lends extra muscle to the front and rear apron, as well as bespoke side skirts, 18-inch light-alloy wheels and the sports car cockpit ambience which has become a speciality of John Cooper Works models.

The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman captures the imagination by imbuing the traditional MINI go-kart handling characteristics with an even sharper edge. The fast and precise responses of the all-wheel-drive system allow it to demonstrate impressive poise and assurance in challenging road and weather conditions and off the beaten track. The 4,133-millimetre-long, 1,789-millimetre-wide and 1,549-millimetre-tall MINI John Cooper Works Countryman is equally adept when it comes to crossing the boundaries of urban mobility, and its generous levels of space and seating comfort encourage the driver and passengers to admire the qualities of this versatile performance athlete over longer journeys as well.

Four or five seats, up to 1,170 litres of luggage space.

With short overhangs, a high waistline and a powerful over-the-wheel stance, the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman draws its design inspiration from the time-honoured MINI template. The family ties are also emphasised by styling cues such as the characteristic contours of the radiator grille, large headlights set into the bonnet, voluminous wheel arches and vertical rear light clusters. Features particular to this model include the John Cooper Works badges on the radiator grille and tailgate, and red-backed, anthracite-coloured side indicator surrounds on the diagonal link between the A-pillars and the front wheel arches. Customers can choose from a selection of seven exterior paint shades. The contrast paint finish for the roof and exterior mirror can be ordered in the red shade exclusive to John Cooper Works models, as well as white and black. Sport Stripes in the same colours are available as an option.

The rear of the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman can be specified with either a seat bench for three passengers or – as a no-cost option – two individual seats. The rear seats can slide fore and aft in a 60 : 40 split (if the three-seat bench is specified) or individually, and their backrests can be adjusted for tilt and folded down individually or in a 40 : 20 : 40 split (three-seat bench) to increase boot capacity from 350 to as much as 1,170 litres.

The Centre Rail storage and attachment system is also part of standard specification.

The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman will be built at the BMW Group’s partner firm Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik in Graz, Austria. Production will take place alongside the other variants of the MINI Countryman on a separate assembly line set up and operated according to the exacting standards of the BMW Group. As with all the brand’s models, the high-performance powerplant for this sharpest of all MINI Countryman models will be sourced from the Hams Hall engine plant, one corner of the MINI Production Triangle in England.

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07 September 2012

The classic Mini

The classic Mini – top of the pile once again.

53 years ago, in September 1959, sales began of the Morris Mini-Minor and Austin Seven, and the classic Mini duly embarked on what was to be a triumphant assault on the world’s consciousness. 41 years later production had passed the 5.3 million unit mark, the revolutionary small car having blossomed into a legend. The classic Mini remains a motoring icon today – particularly so in its native Britain, but also much further afield. The car’s special place in the hearts of British car fans is reflected in a recent survey conducted by motoring magazine Autocar, in which it was crowned the “greatest British car ever made” – the best and most important car ever built in the British Isles.

The Autocar poll was carried out as part of a report on the recent boom in the British automotive industry, in which the successor to the classic Mini has played a significant role. More than two million cars have been produced at MINI Plant Oxford since the relaunch of the brand in 2001. The MINI production triangle – which includes the press shop in Swindon and the Hams Hall engine factory, as well as the Oxford assembly plant – is currently preparing for its latest expansion in production capacity. The move takes the BMW Group’s investment in its British production facilities over the last 15 years beyond the £1.75 billion mark.

This investment secures the long-term future of a traditional cornerstone of the British car industry. The first Morris Mini-Minor rolled off the production line in Oxford in 1959. Together with its sister model offered under the Austin brand, the four-seater – designed by Deputy Technical Director of the British Motor Corporation (BMC) Alec Issigonis – triggered the start of an automotive revolution, the effects of which can be felt to this day. BMC wanted its new development to be affordable to buy and run, but its greatest impact came in the form of the myriad innovations which would go on to become essential elements of small and compact vehicles across the board. Issigonis had designed his 3.05-metre-long model not only with front-wheel drive but also with a four-cylinder engine mounted transversely at the front and a gearbox positioned below it. This principle, together with wheels positioned at each corner of the body, allowed maximum interior space to be created on the smallest possible footprint.

Issigonis also broke new ground with the chassis construction of his new car. A subframe for the powertrain, steering and suspension, homokinetic joints to reduce torque steer, and rubber springs all combined to imbue the classic Mini with a go-kart feeling that continues to put smiles on faces today. All in all, its construction enabled the diminutive Brit not only to provide miraculous levels of space and deceptively good storage capability, but also to display supreme cornering gifts and impressively agile handling.

This brilliant concept could work for more than just a car, and sure enough a Mini van and fully glazed estate version with longer wheelbase and twin rear doors – launched as the Morris Mini-Traveller and Austin Seven Countryman – soon hit the road. The sporting talents of the classic Mini inspired Formula One racing car designer John Cooper to come up with a specially tuned performance version. The Mini Cooper, boasting engine output increased from 34 to 55 hp, duly arrived as early as 1961, to be followed two years later by the Mini Cooper S developing 70 hp. In road trim, the two models were quickly embraced by sporty drivers in the know, while on race tracks and rally courses they took on the role of giant-slayers, leaving larger and more powerful rivals trailing time and again in their wake. The trio of overall victories notched up in the Monte Carlo Rally between 1964 and 1967 represent indelible milestones in the life of the classic Mini.

Three decades later, the popularity of the nippy urban car – all but unchanged in its basic form – was still very much intact. By this time, customers had long had a wide variety of front-wheel-drive small and compact cars from which to choose, but only one model could claim to be the original, groundbreaking car in this class: the classic Mini. It was named “Car of the Century” in an Autocar vote in 1995, and there was only one winner in the latest survey, too. The magazine’s writers can understand why: “It’s no surprise the Mini came out on top. It had a bigger impact on Britain’s car industry that any other car.”

As the trailblazer for a new vehicle concept and a byword for driving fun in a compact vehicle, the modern MINI has followed successfully in the tyre tracks of the original. In 2011 a jury assembled by German car magazine Automobilwoche named it “Car of the Decade”, their reasoning recalling Autocar’s latest eulogy to the classic Mini: no other model, the Automobilwoche experts concluded, had influenced the development of the automotive industry to a greater degree since the beginning of the 21st century than the MINI. As the first small car in the premium segment, the MINI has inspired numerous other manufacturers to produce similar concepts. But it has also kept alive its position as the original in its class, not to mention as market leader.

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06 September 2012

MINI John Cooper Works GP

A limited-edition road car with race track-developed technology, the MINI John Cooper Works GP is the sportiest and fastest production model ever built under the nameplate of this British premium brand. The MINI John Cooper Works GP will cost £28,790 in the UK. It will make its world debut at the Paris Motor Show (29 September to 4 October 2012), and production of a limited edition of just 2,000 units will start later this year. Extensively equipped with John Cooper Works motor sport technology, this two-seater boasts outstanding performance to match its distinctive looks. An extensively modified four-cylinder turbo engine capable of developing 160 kW/ 218 hp, adjustable coilover suspension, an extra-powerful sports brake system and model-specific alloy wheels and sports tyres ensure superb handling and outstanding driving enjoyment. The standard-fitted high-traction sports tyres offer awesome cornering grip, impeccable braking response and impressive performance. And to top it all off, with a DIN unladen weight of 1,160 kilograms, the MINI John Cooper Works GP is one of the lightest sports cars in its class.The balance between the engine, the suspension and the aerodynamics was fine-tuned during intensive testing on the Nürburgring North Loop (the old grand prix circuit), where the MINI John Cooper Works GP promptly clocked up a best lap time of 8:23 minutes – streets ahead of many big-name sports cars from higher segments. With its 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint time of 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 242 km/h (150 mph), the GP brings an authentic race car feel to everyday driving.

The MINI John Cooper Works GP is the latest incarnation of a racing heritage that dates back more than 50 years, to when the legendary sports car designer John Cooper developed a version of the classic Mini that was to become the ultimate fun-to-drive road machine. This car also carved out a highly successful career in motor sport, where it was three-times winner of the Monte Carlo Rally. The modern-day MINI has continued this tradition: the John Cooper Works products and models, with their close links to the British-built premium small car, continue to be a byword for top-class motor sport engineering. The most impressive incarnation to date of this shared passion for motor sport was the 2006 MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Tuning Kit. That model, too, was built in a limited edition of 2,000 units, and soon became a coveted collector’s item.

The MINI John Cooper Works GP is another stunning example of the time-tested principle of taking the natural sporty DNA of the MINI to a new level by combining it with a whole string of features taken straight from the race track. With this elite sporting machine, the John Cooper Works brand, now a sub-brand of MINI, has raised the stakes yet again – the new model has shaved a whole 18 seconds off its predecessor’s best lap time during testing on the Nürburgring North Loop. This new best time reflects continuous advances in engineering, which have been tuned to the highest performance standards by John Cooper Works.

The responsive power and excellent revving ability of the MINI John Cooper Works GP’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine are reflected in dazzling performance figures. This zesty character is down to a cutting-edge engineering package and extensive technology transfers from the world of motor sport. Among the highlights are the aluminium cylinder block and bearing mounts, reinforced pistons, sturdier cylinder head, low-weight crankshafts and sodium-filled exhaust valves. Twin-scroll turbocharging produces high boost pressure, and direct petrol injection ensures precisely controlled fuel supply, while fully variable valve control, based on the BMW Group’s VALVETRONIC technology, helps to maximise engine responsiveness and efficiency.

The state-of-the-art powerplant responds instantly to throttle commands and delivers maximum torque of 260 Newton metres from just 1,750 rpm. For extra punch when accelerating, peak torque can be increased for short periods to 280 Nm from 2,000 rpm, thanks to the overboost function. Maximum power of 160 kW/218 hp is delivered at 6,000 rpm. It is transferred to the wheels via a six-speed manual transmission, which is precisely matched to the performance characteristics of the engine.

The astonishing torque gives the MINI John Cooper Works GP a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) time of 6.3 seconds. Mid-range acceleration is impressive too, with an 80 to 120 km/h (50–75 mph) time in fifth gear of just 5.9 seconds. Top speed is 242 km/h (150 mph). The turbocharged engine also delivers outstanding efficiency. This is further enhanced by MINIMALISM features which keep the average EU test cycle consumption of the MINI John Cooper Works GP down to 7.1 litres/100 km (39.8 mpg imp), corresponding to CO2 emissions of 165 grams per kilometre.

The MINI John Cooper Works GP’s exclusive suspension technology, too, relies heavily on motor sport. For the first time on a MINI, it features an individually adjustable coilover suspension, which allows ride height to be lowered by up to 20 millimetres. Among other things, this means the suspension set-up can be fine-tuned to different circuit conditions whenever the MINI goes out onto the track.

The front shock absorbers are mounted upside down in the tube, with the piston rod pointing down, in order to increase longitudinal and lateral stiffness.

The front camber has been increased compared with the regular MINI John Cooper Works, so that the performance potential of the sports tyres – which differ significantly from road tyres – can be used to full effect, without the penalties of early understeer, inevitably leading to increased tyre wear. Other features include reduced front-wheel toe-in and increased rear camber, which alters the forward weight transfer so as to give more speed and more neutral steering when driving close to the limit. At the same time, the reduced toe-in improves agility and cornering confidence.

Outstanding braking performance is provided by the MINI John Cooper Works GP’s racing-derived sports brake system, featuring six-piston fixed-calliper disc brakes, vented at the front. The front discs are 330 millimetres in diameter and 25 millimetres thick, with 280 x 10 mm discs at the rear. The low-weight 17-inch alloy wheels, again exclusive to the MINI John Cooper Works GP, run on high-traction 215/40 R17 sports tyres. Optionally, standard-size 205/45 R17 tyres are available on the same wheels, offering a good sporty balance between performance and good handling in wet or low-temperature conditions. The 7.5 x 17 H2 ET45 wheels, which were specially developed for the MINI John Cooper Works GP, are derived from the MINI Challenge race car, and feature lightweight contours on flow-formed rims.

On the MINI John Cooper Works GP, the DSC Dynamic Stability Control is not combined with DTC, as would normally be the case, but with a special GP racing mode. Under hard driving, the driver may often not want ASC engine power reduction cutting in, so instead this system offers just ASC braking, based on the EDLC (Electronic Differential Lock Control) subfunction. The EDLC software brakes the wheel on the inside of the turn, and the drive power that would otherwise be lost at this wheel is redirected to the outer wheel, where the contact forces are greater.

With its conspicuous and distinctive appearance, the MINI John Cooper Works GP is upfront about its performance credentials right from the word go. The body is painted in the exclusive colour Thunder Grey metallic, with red for the edging round the bonnet opening as well as for the exterior mirror caps and the side air intakes in the front apron. John Cooper Works insignia appear on the lower air intake and the tailgate. The final proof of identity is provided by “GP”-badged side stripes running between the front and rear wheel arches. The standard specification of the MINI John Cooper Works GP includes xenon headlights in black shells, foglamps, sun protection glazing, air conditioning, DSC with special GP mode, and a Sport button. The aerodynamic body parts like the large front and rear aprons, striking side sills and model-specific roof spoiler not only add to the eye-catching appearance but also play an important part in controlling air flow. The rear diffusor, together with the underside panelling and the roof-edge spoiler, reduce lift forces at the rear axle by 90 per cent, for impeccable handling control even under high-speed cornering and when driving at or near the limit.

A six per cent reduction in drag is reflected in improved fuel economy and a higher top speed. The air flow round the front of the car has been significantly improved with the help of a large spoiler and full aerodynamic shielding of the engine compartment underside. This aerodynamic shield not only reduces drag and front axle lift, but also improves air flow through the engine compartment. Slits in the centre of the shield help to expel air from the intercooler. The slits are situated in an area of fast air flow and high vacuum force, so that the air is literally sucked out of the engine compartment, thereby improving the performance of the intercooler.

The exciting race car feel is raised a further notch by an interior ambience which, partly due to the absence of a rear seat bench, is focused entirely on the needs of the driver and “co-driver”, both of whom can savour the performance of the MINI John Cooper Works GP to the full thanks to Recaro sports seats with special GP stitching. A cargo guard prevents items from sliding forward out of the luggage compartment in sporty driving situations. The John Cooper Works thick-rimmed leather steering wheel and the gearshift knob with chrome ring and red shift diagram help give the driver a more direct feel for the car. Finally, with features like the anthracite roof liner, the piano black interior surfaces and door grips, and the anthracite rev counter and speedometer dials, this interior also helps to improve the driver’s concentration and focus on the road.

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