For anyone other than the staunchest Mini fan, a fair-minded appraisal of the GP’s talents is likely to swing back and forth on unaligned hinges: first, is it worthy of the reputation already established by the badge, and second, does it live up to its ominously large price?
Measured against much of our standard criteria – not least a stopwatch – this GP is undeniably an improvement over the last. Where the manufacturer has fleshed out the blueprint – namely, with an even more sophisticated suspension set-up and track tyres – it has reaped the inevitable benefits.
Nevertheless, there’s a nagging suspicion that BMW has honed this Mini right up to the point where a tape measure can be held to it and then declared the project a success. Some of the raucous impishness of the first car, that pointy diff-inspired dazzle, has gone.
The result is a more sophisticated prospect, but not necessarily a more entertaining one.
That distinction doesn’t prevent the car from earning its spurs as a proper GP edition, but in the hallowed company in which it finds itself courtesy of cost, it is an also-ran.