The brand new Mini GP, which can solely be offered for one yr, is already arduous sufficient to pin down—must you be fortunate sufficient to get your fingers on one by way of a vendor proper now. It’s more durable to label, written up elsewhere as, in no shot order: insane, impractical, overpriced, and too hairball. These critics are useless fallacious.

Let’s take these statistically pushed (and clearly not passion-driven) arguments on separately.

First, nevertheless, a bit background: That is the third-generation Mini GP. Every model has been a works Mini for the highway. It’s not a package deal. It’s not some scraps of “particular” leather-based trim and a few fake carbon-fiber sill plates and a CPU flash for 5 extra horsepower. It’s a bespoke, numbers-limited automobile that, probably, you’ll personal and the one different GP you’ll ever see can be at a Mini meet-up 5 states away.

Prior generations, in each 2006 and 2013, have been maxed at 2,000 vehicles worldwide. That’s expanded to three,000 vehicles worldwide for the 2021 GP, however nonetheless, we’re speaking about solely a fistful for North America. This third-generation GP is essentially the most highly effective, and never by just a bit bit. The 2013 automobile produced 211 hp. The 2021 will get basically the identical engine that’s in BMW’s M235i Gran Coupe, delivering 301 hp and at occasions practically untamable 331 lb-ft of torque.

As for what’s fallacious with it, and why that doesn’t matter, right here’s our take.

Argument No. 1: The Mini GP is Too Dang Costly

It definitely is. Base worth is $45,570. A virtually-as-fast Honda Civic Kind R is means cheaper, at $37,950. That automobile has front-wheel drive, just like the Mini GP, and each are restricted in consequence. The Honda’s 306 hp, and 0-60 occasions (about 5 seconds flat) in addition to different efficiency elements are related, too (extra on that within the subsequent part).

Arguably the “finest” sizzling hatch of the section is the $41,290 VW Golf R, just because all-wheel-drive makes it loads simpler to drive, and, in consequence, it shoots to 60 mph a half-second faster, since it could possibly put all its energy down extra readily (though it comes with a bit much less grunt at 288 hp). The identical factor occurs darting out of corners—the place you need the muscle on the highway, not ripping by way of the front-wheel-driven tires of each the Mini and, to a lesser extent thanks to actually good engineering, of the Honda.

One other key distinction is that each the Honda and the VW get adaptive suspensions, permitting them to really feel softer round city, and solely rock-rigid whenever you need that, for the monitor. Additionally, the Honda comes with a row-your-own handbook six-speed gearbox. You may have both a DSG twin-clutch computerized within the VW, or a handbook. The Mini solely comes with an eight-speed computerized.

So the Mini prices extra and has much less tech. Why doesn’t that matter? Hold studying.

Mini GP Media Track Program in Monticello, NY

Argument No. 2: The Mini GP is Too Hairball.

Right here’s the details: This Mini drives indignant. It brawls like an Englishman who’s had six pints and has simply seen his group lose at soccer (the different soccer, that’s).

We obtained to check the Mini GP at New York’s Monticello Motor Membership, a personal, members-only monitor within the Catskills. It’s an undulating, serpentine, 20-corner beast the place you’re sure to be fallacious greater than as soon as with each lap, and the place a front-wheel-drive torque monster just like the Mini GP can get a bit terrifying. Positive, the GP’s monitor was widened versus the inventory Hardtop. It sits on distinctive springs and dampers, and will get giant anti-roll bars, plus Mini binned the rear seats totally, placing a cross-chassis bridge that spans the inside of the cabin proper about the place your chest could be if these seats nonetheless existed. Mini bolted up chassis bracing all over the place else the engineers might handle, too.

Mini GP chassis

Price notice: The 18-inch wheels mounted to GP-specific, 235/35 Hankook tires—and the hey-there, cartoonish, carbon-fiber strengthened plastic fenders with built-in numbering (indicating which automobile within the sequence you personal). These are purposeful, designed to vent away warmth from the tires and from the huge, and glorious, 14-inch brakes. Mini engineers added an enormous roof wing, to extend downforce—and to sign in unapologetically bonkers type that no different Mini on the highway has what you’ve got.

mini GP

However none of those crucial measures can totally mood the aforementioned 331 lb-ft of torque, and whereas the suspension is decidedly super-glued to the bottom, and the automobile sits .four inches decrease than the already squat John Cooper Works version, it crabs and hops and claws for traction continuously everytime you’re deep within the throttle.

At Monticello, we have been all the time deep within the throttle.

Arguably, the automobile could be higher both with a legit handbook gearbox (Mini/BMW don’t have one that might deal with this output) or dual-clutch computerized, particularly on the monitor, the place quick-downshifts have been too often vetoed by the eight-speed-autobox.

Mini GP engine

As for the suspension, it’s simply sadistically stiff. Mini makes different vehicles for you, nevertheless, if that’s how you are feeling.

I’ll say that they might’ve carried out extra work on downforce. It is a brief automobile. It’s greater than two ft shy of the size of the Honda Civic Kind R, a hatch that Honda massaged extensively to make sure it might be protected at triple-digit speeds. Above 130 mph on the longest straight at Monticello, the Mini begins to hunt and drift and dance. It will get a bit spooky. I didn’t rocket wherever close to its 165 mph prime pace, and given the way it felt nudging above 130 mph, I don’t wish to.

Then once more, it is a very gentle automobile, weighing simply 2,860 kilos, versus 3,100 kilos for the Honda Civic Kind R, and a full 500 kilos lower than the Golf R. If you’re not sweating for apexes, the GP is positively, hysterically flickable. Lighter vehicles have that vast profit and Mini’s taken that playfulness and pushed it to 11/10ths, simply because.

The GP is doing the lampshade dance when all the opposite carmakers are tut-tutting. However who’s having extra enjoyable?

Mini GP cockpit

Argument No. 3: The Mini GP is Impractical

You sir, win the prize! This one is true. Each the Honda and the Golf R have legitimately useable backseats that flip ahead and supply much more cargo capability, to not point out, neither has an enormous crimson cross-brace the place a second row of seats belongs. Mini spokespersons confirmed us a slide that testified to why they don’t give a rat’s behind. The majority of their patrons have at the least two different vehicles and a really sizable chunk have three different vehicles. They’ve a BMW X5 as a result of it’s sensible. Perhaps they’ve a good greater one to tow their boat. In the event that they’re shopping for the GP it’s as a result of it’s NOT the identical grocery getter everybody else has on their block.

Positive, different “sizzling hatches” are extra pragmatic. However each the Golf R and the Honda Kind R skew towards a a lot youthful, a lot much less rich demographic. Their hatches should be sensible as a result of they drive their vehicles each day. The GP isn’t that in any respect. On function. Additionally, if I didn’t say this already, nearly the entire GP’s are spoken for already. So the critics may be proper all they need about how a automobile provides up on paper. Mini’s simply going to maintain throwing a too-loud, too-raucous social gathering and see who comes. Gosh, I want extra carmakers would attempt that.

Mini GP

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