Thanks to the recent Coupé, a Mini cabin with its back seats deleted seems less like a limitation than it did when BMW first introduced its vision of a stripped-out Mini.
Like the Mk1 GP of 2006, the latest model’s rear bench is replaced by a scaffold-pole-thick strut brace, which at least reassures you that large, heavy items aren’t going to end up on the dashboard under braking. It’s not much use in protecting you from a spilt shopping bag, though, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself fishing oranges from under the seats at some point.
Architecturally, it’s standard Mini hatch fare up front, meaning oversized dials and plastic toggle switches in the usual ‘love it or hate it’ configuration. The car’s GP-ness is represented by red stitching (very fetching) and a stuck-on ‘1 of 2000’ badge (not so much).
Handsome Recaro seats are also included, but these, too, are blighted with the kind of fabric name tags that your mum might have sewn on an expensive coat as an afterthought.
Then there’s the standard kit. Despite representing the zenith of the Mini hatchback line-up, the GP doesn’t get the recycled version of BMW’s iDrive available to other Minis and has to make do with the itsy-bitsy buttons and dot-matrix readout of the basic stereo system. D
oubtless the manufacturer would argue that this reflects the raw nature of the GP and that adding the proper infotainment screen – along with luxuries such as sat-nav – would only have increased the price further. Okay, but why, then, does it come with heated seats, the lardy antithesis of such an ethos?
Equally, how does removing the rear wiper blade contribute to anything other than a lack of rear visibility? Trifling matters, perhaps, given the car’s purposefulness, but the more time you spend in the GP, the more irksome these questions become.