First-generation BMW Mini bows out with limited-edition performance version
29 October 2005

BMW’s hugely successful new Mini will bow in out in spectacular style next summer with this special stripped-out version of the Mini Cooper S.

Dubbed the ‘John Cooper Works GP kit’, it offers less weight, more power and a dramatic new look. Just 2000 examples will be built by Italian coachbuilder Bertone for worldwide launch next July, with around 400 examples coming to the UK priced at around £22,000.

The JCW GP is expected to be the last hurrah for the current Mini, before it is replaced by a re-engineered new model. The engine-tuning package also marks a high point for the supercharged 1.6-litre Chrysler-sourced Mini engine before it is also phased out in favour of a new range of turbocharged engines.

According to BMW, the new engine package boosts power by 8bhp to 210bhp, though torque stays the same as the Cooper S Works’ at 180lb ft and the JCW GP will be fitted with a much-needed limited-slip differential. Although the power hike is modest, the JCW GP is around 40kg lighter than the standard Works car. There are Recaro front seats and the rear seats have been removed altogether, along with the air-conditioning system and most of the sound-deadening. BMW engineers have also fitted new aluminium longitudinal control arms to the rear axle.

Sadly, BMW didn’t plump for the carbonfibre bonnet shown at a recent John Cooper Works exhibition. Insiders say it was too costly to homologate for global sales, especially as the GP has been squeezed in at the end of the current Mini’s production run.

On the outside, the GP is distinguished by a new aerodynamics package. This includes front and rear aprons, a wing-shaped rear spoiler, underbody panels and new sculpted sill covers. BMW claims a reduced drag coefficient and enhanced downforce on both front and rear axles.

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