If the first two Mini GPs didn’t have enough grunt, well, number 3 seems like it has more than enough… and some! 😉
So much power and in such a small chassis, this would be one very fun car to put through its paces.
Check out this in-depth and fun review of the 2020 MINI GP from CarSales.
Like a Pit Bull Terrier, the Mini GP is a tiny ball of muscle possessed with incredible athletic performance. Developed from the ground up for white knuckle driving, this is the most powerful and fastest Mini ever built. What makes it so special? Let’s find out.
Just like a Pit Bull terrier, this car is a bit ugly and can be very aggressive, but there’s no denying, it’s got some serious hardware. The third generation Mini GP, or GP 3 as the Mini nerds call it, rides on these lovely forged 18 inch alloy wheels. Now they’re a little bit lighter, and with these high performance Hankook tyres, you’re gonna get a lot more grip as well.
These tasty-looking brake rotors are bigger, stronger 360-mm items clamped by chunky four piston callipers.
It rides 10 millimetres lower than its Mini JC W cousin and features drastically stiffer suspension along with re-calibrated dampers to sharpen its handling dynamics. And check out these carbon fibre wheel arch extensions. Not only are they made from recycled materials from the BMW I3, they also give the car a wider footprint, and they’re only the start of the wild aero body work on this car.
There’s so much eye candy here, and while not all of it is functional, it suits the car’s agro attitude.
There’s a bigger and bolder front apron with larger lateral air intakes and this neatly integrated lower lip spoiler. The specially developed stainless steel dual exhaust system is surrounded by a new rear bumper, and the massive dual element rear wing is almost as ridiculous as the ironing board that adorns the rear-end of the Honda Civic Type R. I love the individual vehicle number on the front guards, so you’ll never get your car confused with the other 2999 vehicles out there.
The blunt nose, front drive, British missile generates its rapid pace from this upgraded 2 litre turbo petrol engine. We’re talking reinforced pistons, a heavy-duty crankshaft, tweaked turbo, an up-rated cooling system. This engine is not mucking around.
Mini has gone to extreme lengths to reduce weight and increase body rigidity, and it starts with the removal of the rear seats. Cop that, back seat drivers. Instead, there’s a bright red strut bar that aims to improve body rigidity and more room for your groceries.
Oh, and the rear wiper is deleted too.
These GP sports bucket seats are unique to the car, and I’m really liking them. They’ve got really good bolsters and they’ve got a primo finish too. This leather and suede finish, really lovely.
In terms of tech, you get an 8.8 inch touch screen with wireless Apple Car Play, while a 5-inch digital instrument cluster is a new addition to the GP and a rather nice touch at that. The unique steering wheel looks and feels amazing.
I love this little 12 o’clock indicator, and believe it or not, these panel shifters are 3D printed. And look, the tactile response feels a bit like a button, I don’t love that. But, these are real metal. That is cool.
Straight off the bat, that engine is bonkers. It’s ludicrously muscular, and despite the lack of a manual transmission, the connection between your right foot and the car’s controlled aggression is crystal clear. It may sound like an oxymoron, but this is a monstrous Mini.
There’s no doubt about it, this car is one of the fastest hot hatches out there, both from standstill and in gear.
Acceleration is intense, and the way it gets its power to the road is clinical. But this surgical precision makes it feel more like a BMW than a Mini, and those firecracker exhaust explosions of the previous model are long gone, as is the chaotic wheel spin and torque steer. Anyone can drive this car at warp speed without breaking a sweat, and don’t get me wrong, this is a barrel of fun.
It’s agile, engaging and rewarding, but it’s lost some of its character. It’s still a Pit Bull Terrier, only without the blood lust. Would I prefer a slower but wilder Mini GP with a bit more character? You know what? I really would, but that’s just me. The suspension is incredibly firm, which ensures an astonishing amount of grip, at least on smooth roads. This track spec suspension, rear seat removal, and that massive turbo kick make this quicker around the Nürburgring than the standard BMW M2.
On a tight and twisty road, this car will run rings around all but the most potent of performance cars.
I haven’t mentioned price yet, because well, it’s irrelevant. They’re all sold out, which makes this drive a little bit more special and this whole product review, a little bit pointless. But for the record, the Mini GP costs a smidge under $64,000 and only 67 of the 3000 cars built are coming to Australia.
Despite not being as feral as its predecessors, the GP3 is definitely faster. Much, much faster.
It feels like a special occasion every time you go for a blast, but bear in mind, it’s stiffer than a titanium con rod and you’ll need bi-monthly spinal re-adjustments if this is your daily run about.
Despite losing some of its mongrel temperament, there is no denying the Mini GP’s incredible corner carving capability. Chuck in a manual gear box and I’d be sold. Well, I would be, if you could still buy one.
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