Limited edition cars are cool and all, but they are only as cool as what makes them limited. Decals, special badging, or colors are cool, don’t get me wrong, but not that cool. The special editions that are really worthwhile are the ones that give the driver a little extra sumpthin’ sumpthin.’ The Mini JCW GP is one such limited edition car. Neither the Honda Civic Type R nor the Hyundai Veloster N could beat it.
The Mini John Cooper Works GP is setting records
Car and Driver tested the 2021 Mini JCW GP and found it to be the most powerful front-wheel-drive car they have ever tested. That may sound silly, but the GP comes out of the box with 301 hp. It not only has a bunch of horsepower, but it’s also very light. With carbon-fiber fender flares, no back seats, and the standard lightness of a Mini, it comes in at a teeny 2,625 lbs.
Mini has decided to limit the production of the lava-hot hatch to only 3,000 units. For comparison, the normal JCW is only at 228 hp. Mini didn’t just tweak that same 2.0-liter turbo to wring another 73 hp out of it; it also pulled the rear seats to save weight. If this all feels like a bit much for Mini, you aren’t wrong, but the fun little go-carts are clearly out for blood, but who’s?
The Mini JCW GP walked the Honda Civic Type R and the Hyundai Veloster N
Mini managed to get the GP to hit 60 mph in only 4.7 seconds. The quarter-mile only took it 13.1 seconds, and it got up to 110 mph. The Hyundai Veloster N came next with a 4.8 second 0-60 mph and the Honda Civic Type R holding the rear at 4.9 seconds.
What is strange is, all other JCW cars come standard with AWD except the GP. This feels like little more than pettiness to me. Why do that, Mini? As most of us know, front-wheel-drive cars come with a few unfortunate handicaps, mainly torque steer and understeer. These issues worsen with the power a car has, and Mini just gave the GP all of it.
The GP is the fastest of three but at what cost?
Car and Driver undoubtedly spent time on the race track with the JCW GP, but it’s on public roads where they spent most of their test. While the Honda Civic Type R and Hyundai Veloster N are a fraction of a second slower than the Mini, they are much more fun to rip a back road with. The Mini GP has been groomed for victory, but not for being the best. Car and Driver Describe the back-road experience as “irritating and borders on abusive.”
The Civic and Veloster are regular cars that can pretend to be race cars. The Mini appears to be a race car that pretends to be a regular car. The chassis is abusively stiff. C&D likens the experience to being at a Slayer show. While that is unquestionably awesome, sometimes you want to go to the store without Kerry King blasting your head off. To be fair, though, going to the store without Kerry King blasting your head off is clearly not what the Mini is promising. There is a rather large, bright-red racing strut in place of the back seats to keep everything in shape when pulling multiple Gs around a corner.
Speaking of Kerry King, at 70 mph, the Mini is making 77 decibels. That is really loud. The Honda Civic Type R rumbles 3 decibels quieter at that speed. At full clip, the cabin reads a mind-shattering 93 decibels. Again, if you wanted Clapton, get one of the other two hot hatches, the Mini is only going full-metal all the time.
The 2021 Mini JCW GP did not come to play with you
I can appreciate the Mini’s full-force attack on its driver. This is not meant to do everything. It’s meant only to trash your spine and scare the hell out of you. Period. I get the feeling that if you go into it with that understanding, it would be a shout to drive. As the old saying goes, “Don’t buy a Mini JCW GP if you don’t love Slayer.” OK… maybe I made that up, but the point still stands.