With solid carbon fibre aero, no rear seats and over 300bhp beneath the bonnet, does the MINI JCW GP3 have what it takes to be an excellent sizzling hatch?
Evaluate first appeared in Efficiency MINI. Phrases: Martyn Collins.
It’s just a bit badge, however we’ll wager the ‘GP’ badge will get efficiency MINI homeowners simply as excited as us. Probably probably the most extremely anticipated third-generation MINI, the third quantity of the MINI GP components landed on UK roads final 12 months, as soon as once more based mostly on the extra energy and fewer weight idea.
And what an influence bounce! That is probably the most highly effective GP but, with 306bhp as customary – the results of a modified model of the two.0-litre, B48 four-cylinder TwinPower turbo engine. Prime pace is a licence-losing 164mph, with 0-62mph acceleration arising in simply 5.2 seconds.
All good things aimed on the enthusiastic MINI proprietor, however the MINI JCW GP3 isn’t with out its critics. The styling is a tad over-the-top for some, and most contentious of all is the actual fact the GP3 is an auto-only mannequin. It’s fitted with an eight-speed Steptronic transmission as customary, full with built-in differential lock to get the facility down.
Inside, we marvel on the GP’s glorious driving place; there’s loads of adjustment and the John Cooper Works sports activities seats really feel snug and supportive from the beginning. The brand new digital sprint is simple to learn, and the GP inside highlights basically are tastefully carried out too.
Flick the beginning button and the acquainted B48 engine roars into life. The soundtrack is louder and deeper than a normal JCW hatch, due to the shortage of again seats and people larger rear pipes. Then, slot the gear lever into Drive and we edge our manner on to the primary roads.
For such a hardcore automobile, issues are surprisingly docile and tractable round city, though the GP’s Auto transmission appears to carry on to gears for too lengthy, making easy progress at city speeds troublesome. Then there’s the experience which is tremendous stiff and unyielding, which is ok for a monitor day or a B-road little bit of enjoyable however a tad tiresome on longer journeys.
When the street opens up and the pace limits are much less restrictive, that’s while you realise you’re driving one thing particular. Look into the wing mirror and you may see the highest of the distinctive carbon rear arch.
This model of the GP’s exterior additions does divide opinion. We like them and really feel MINI has made extra of an effort with the GP3’s styling than the GP2. The Racing Gray paint reminds us of the GP1’s Thunder Gray, and it’s well-paired with the Melting Silver roof and mirrors.
Now I can knock the gear lever to the left, placing the gearbox in Guide mode. The ‘GP’ metallic gear paddles really feel particular as I flick by the gears and the pace builds so shortly. The GP3 is a really quick hatch.
Earlier than lengthy we’re on some first rate B-roads, one of many locations the place any MINI GP ought to excel. Excellent news is turn-in is sharp, the steering tremendous responsive, there’s loads of grip, little or no physique roll in corners, and the brakes are robust.
But on first acquaintance, this MINI frustrates. Why? As a result of it’s laborious to drive quick right here, due to torque-steer. I discover myself continually correcting the steering when urgent on. Additionally, personally, I at all times discover a handbook gearbox extra involving, and the GP3’s auto field ought to, for my part, be extra responsive.
We aren’t saying the GP3 is unruly, it’s not. It’s simply that the torque-steer and stiff suspension can result in a twitchy drive.
It’s at all times thrilling although; we get the sensation the MINI JCW GP3 is a automobile you’d should be taught to get the most effective out of and suppose it may be higher suited to the monitor.
I would favor a handbook gearbox, plus the mixture of torque-steer and stiff suspension make for a difficult drive, however does that put me off wanting one? Not an opportunity! I nonetheless need one simply as a lot as I did with the GP1 and GP2 fashions earlier than it.
Tech Spec: MINI JCW GP3
Engine: 2.0 litre, four-cylinder B48 turbocharged petrol engine, producing 306bhp
Transmission: Eight-speed Steptronic automated
Suspension: Specifically tuned stiffened springs, dampers and stabilisers
Wheels: Light-weight 18-inch four-spoke wheels
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