BMW’s Mini division is about to unleash its ultimate hot hatchback. The Mini John Cooper Works GP concept that first appeared at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show will go into production in 2020, the automaker confirmed in a statement. Based on what we’ve seen of the John Cooper Works GP so far, it should be worth the wait.
A quick glance at the show car is all it takes to tell it isn’t an ordinary Cooper hatchback. This one looks like it has amassed thousands of experience points and evolved, Pokemon-style. The basic body is reminiscent of the Cooper we know and love, but it wears one of the most aggressive body kits we’ve ever seen on England’s favorite city car. The front end receives a deeper front bumper with three air dams, while designers added fender flares with built-in ducts to channel cooling air to the brakes. The hood scoop hints that something powerful lurks between the front wheels.
The back end is even more extreme than the front. The fender flares match the ones on the front in terms of width, but they extend into fins that would put any car short of a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado to shame. The back end of the roof panel wears a spoiler the size of a bench in Central Park, while Union Jack tail lamps and a massive emblem on the trunk lid add a finishing touch to the look. It’s proud of its roots, and it’s ready to rumble.
The interior is stripped of every piece of equipment deemed superfluous, including the carpet, the sound-deadening material, and the rear seats. It receives sport seats for the front passengers, a fire extinguisher in lieu of the normal model’s Starbucks-cup-friendly center console, and a full roll cage. We also see a concept-specific infotainment system, but Mini isn’t ready to talk about it.
While the concept car picks up where previous pocket rockets with GP badging left off, the company chose not to release technical specifications. Gauges for the oil and coolant temperature suggest the concept isn’t part of the brand’s electrification strategy, and the lack of a clutch pedal in the driver’s footwell tells us it’s equipped with an automatic transmission. The driver can select gears manually using shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel.
Launched in 2006 and 2012, respectively, the two previous John Cooper Works GP-badged models were each a massive hit among enthusiasts. While the concept is a preview of what the next-generation 2020 production model will look like, don’t expect the assortment of the fins, wings, and spoilers to make the transition from concept to production. Mini is keeping details of the final production version, like the price, to itself for now.
While the John Cooper Works GP shows that Mini hasn’t given up on old-school performance, the automaker also plans to launch its first all-electric model in 2019.
Updated on November 20, 2018: Added confirmation of production in 2020.