The brand new Mini GP, which is able to solely be offered for one yr, is already onerous sufficient to pin down—do you have to be fortunate sufficient to get your palms on one via a supplier 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 one by one.
First, nonetheless, just a little background: That is the third-generation Mini GP. Every model has been a works Mini for the street. It’s not a bundle. 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 automotive that, doubtless, you’ll personal and the one different GP you’ll ever see might 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 probably the most highly effective, and never by just a bit bit. The 2013 automotive 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 almost 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 value is $45,570. A virtually-as-fast Honda Civic Kind R is means cheaper, at $37,950. That automotive has front-wheel drive, just like the Mini GP, and each are restricted consequently. The Honda’s 306 hp, and 0-60 occasions (about 5 seconds flat) in addition to different efficiency features 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 lots simpler to drive, and, consequently, it shoots to 60 mph a half-second faster, since it might 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 street, not ripping via the front-wheel-driven tires of each the Mini and, to a lesser extent thanks to essentially 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 once you need that, for the monitor. Additionally, the Honda comes with a row-your-own guide six-speed gearbox. You may have both a DSG twin-clutch computerized within the VW, or a guide. The Mini solely comes with an eight-speed computerized.
So the Mini prices extra and has much less tech. Why doesn’t that matter? Maintain studying.
Argument No. 2: The Mini GP is Too Hairball.
Right here’s the information: 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 non-public, 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 just a little terrifying. Positive, the GP’s monitor was widened versus the inventory Hardtop. It sits on distinctive springs and dampers, and will get massive anti-roll bars, plus Mini binned the rear seats solely, placing a cross-chassis bridge that spans the inside of the cabin proper about the place your chest can be if these seats nonetheless existed. Mini bolted up chassis bracing in every single place else the engineers might handle, too.
Price observe: The 18-inch wheels mounted to GP-specific, 235/35 Hankook tires—and the hey-there, cartoonish, carbon-fiber bolstered plastic fenders with built-in numbering (indicating which automotive within the collection you personal). These are purposeful, designed to vent away warmth from the tires and from the huge, and wonderful, 14-inch brakes. Mini engineers added an enormous roof wing, to extend downforce—and to sign in unapologetically bonkers model that no different Mini on the street has what you’ve.
However none of those needed measures can totally mood the aforementioned 331 lb-ft of torque, and whereas the suspension is decidedly super-glued to the bottom, and the automotive 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 automotive can be higher both with a official guide gearbox (Mini/BMW don’t have one that would deal with this output) or dual-clutch computerized, particularly on the monitor, the place quick-downshifts have been too regularly vetoed by the eight-speed-autobox.
As for the suspension, it’s simply sadistically stiff. Mini makes different vehicles for you, nonetheless, if that’s how you’re feeling.
I’ll say that they might’ve finished extra work on downforce. This can be a quick automotive. It’s greater than two toes shy of the size of the Honda Civic Kind R, a hatch that Honda massaged extensively to make certain it will 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 just a little spooky. I didn’t rocket anyplace close to its 165 mph prime pace, and given the way it felt nudging above 130 mph, I don’t need to.
Then once more, this can be a very gentle automotive, 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. Whenever you’re not sweating for apexes, the GP is positively, hysterically flickable. Lighter vehicles have that massive 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?
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 way more cargo capability, to not point out, neither has a large 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 no less than two different vehicles and a really sizable chunk have three different vehicles. They’ve a BMW X5 as a result of it’s sensible. Possibly they’ve a fair 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 must be sensible as a result of they drive their vehicles each day. The GP isn’t that in any respect. On goal. Additionally, if I didn’t say this already, nearly all the GP’s are spoken for already. So the critics could be proper all they need about how a automotive provides up on paper. Mini’s simply going to maintain throwing a too-loud, too-raucous occasion and see who comes. Gosh, I want extra carmakers would strive that.
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