Mini made a massive dynamic improvement to the previous GP simply by swapping the JCW’s runflat tyres for something grippier and more forgiving. This time around it has repeated that trick but gone a stage further.
This GP’s Kumho tyres and fully adjustable coil-over suspension give it a quieter and less trolleyjack-like secondary ride than the JCW Coupé or Cooper S Countryman. That ends up feeling like an enormous bonus when you consider the formidable grip and tautness of body control that Mini has also added.
The GP came to us with its suspension configured as it will be from the factory, with room for both compliance and firmness to be dialled in. The good news is that, whether you’ve fast road driving or track days in mind, you can leave well enough alone if you want to.
Out of the box, the ride is entirely free from harshness over all but the most severely broken surfaces. The springing and damping is progressive – sensible over the first couple of inches of wheel travel, uncompromising thereafter. Lean on the car on a circuit, though, and you’ll find it poised and proportionate.
There is no extra directness to the GP’s steering but, at 2.4 turns between locks, there didn’t need to be. The track-bred running gear simply adds the adhesion, feedback and instant directional response that often seems too transient in the rest of the range.
In the GP, the dynamic package is much more coherent. Bumps are dealt with that bit easier, directional precision is cleaner and your sense of control feels vivid and direct – but real, rather than synthesised.
We’re disappointed that an LSD has been axed from the GP’s mechanical specification. The previous car was a better one for that inclusion and, in our book, this one would have been, too: more adjustable, more involving, better distinguished in a performance context. But with that caveat, we’d change very little.