Mini John Cooper Works GP: The fastest Mini ever?

2012 Mini John Cooper Works GP front three-quarter viewSaying, “I drive a Mini” is a really vague statement. BMW’s revival of the classic British hatchback may have started with one model, but now Mini is legion. From the Coupe to the Countryman, there is a Mini for everyone. It’s not just body styles either: Minis are endlessly customizable. That makes them perfect for people who care less about cargo space, and more about speed. Witness the redesigned Mini John Cooper Works GP.

Mini says the John Cooper Works GP is its fastest ever. It was also tested the Nurburgring, the German racetrack where nearly every car company tests its high-performance models. The John Cooper Works GP set a lap time of 8:23, 19 seconds faster than the previous, 2006 John Cooper Works GP.

Mini is keeping most of the John Cooper Works GP’s mechanical features a secret until it is ready to put the car on sale. The company is only saying that the John Cooper Works GP’s engine will be turbocharged, which isn’t much of a clue. The current Mini performance leader, the John Cooper Works (no GP), has a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-banger, so it is likely that the GP will have a more powerful version. The regular John Cooper Works has 208 horsepower; the 2006 John Cooper Works GP had a 1.6-liter supercharged engine with 214 hp.

Over 200 horsepower in one of the world’s smallest cars should make for lively acceleration, but handling has always been the Mini’s calling card. The John Cooper Works GP shouldn’t disappoint, since it will have adjustable suspension and race-spec tires and brakes. They look pretty good with the unorthodox four-spoke wheels. The body also gets some aerodynamic adjustments, including a carbon fiber rear spoiler, to improve downforce. Finally, the rear seats are left at the factory to make the car lighter.

The original John Cooper Works GP was a limited edition model that sent the first-generation BMW Mini out with a bang. The new version will probably do the same. Like the first GP, only 2,000 will be made. Since Mini is planning on launching a new Cooper soon, this could be the last variant built on the current platform. If the John Cooper Works GP turns out to be the fastest Mini ever, it will make an excellent swan song for the current Mini. It should also be easy to sell 2,000 of them.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

With the roomy and speedy 2019 Continental, you can take Lincoln seriously again

With the 2019 Continental, Lincoln is on a mission to rekindle ties with its glamorous past. The firm's flagship sedan is short on tech, but it's comfortable, spacious, and smooth -- just like a Lincoln should be.
Cars

Someone just paid supercar money for the very first 2020 Toyota Supra

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.
Cars

This Chevy Silverado pickup truck is made from more than 300,000 Lego bricks

To promote The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Lego and Chevrolet teamed up on a life-size replica of the automaker's Silverado pickup truck made from more than 300,000 plastic bricks.
Cars

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.
Cars

Prices for using Tesla Supercharging just skyrocketed

Tesla is updating their Supercharging pricing based on local electricity rates and customer demand, which has lead to an increase in charging costs by as much as 33 percent in some regions.
Cars

Can electric motors finally make three-wheeled cars great?

Every few years, someone tries to sell a three-wheeled vehicle to Americans. Historically, it hasn’t gone very well. We’ve got our suspicions about why people don’t buy trikes, and they boil down to this: a trike is just not a real…
Outdoors

Is Uber planning to put its self-driving tech into bikes and scooters?

Uber reportedly has its eye on building autonomous electric bikes and scooters that ride to a user when summoned by an app. The technology could also be used to make its two-wheelers safer with obstacle avoidance systems.
Cars

Lincoln’s stately, limited-edition flagship sedan sells out in a month

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.
Cars

Volkswagen is planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car will head to the Nürburgring for a lap-record attempt. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car with the I.D. R.
Home Theater

Report: Spotify preparing to launch $100 in-car streaming device

According to a report, people familiar with Spotify's plans say the company is readying a dedicated in-car music streamer that will cost $100. It will work with any Bluetooth-enabled audio system and can be controlled by voice.
Cars

Tesla given go-ahead to start deliveries of Model 3 to Europe

Tesla has been given the green light to start deliveries of its Model 3 electric sedan to Europe, giving it the chance to compete more effectively with the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz in the region's premium car market.
Cars

Royal fans bid big money as Prince Philip ‘car crash parts’ hit eBay

A couple of days after a car crash that involved the 97-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II, debris apparently from the scene of the accident showed up on eBay. And people wanted to buy it.
Cars

If Batman became a race car driver, he’d hit the track in the Vuhl 05RR

Mexican sports car Vuhl revealed the hardcore 05RR, a roadster that blurs the line between a track car and a street-legal car. The 05RR stands out with a design that looks right out of a video game and a 385-horsepower engine.