From gas-powered track star to smooth electric city dweller, Mini has you covered in Frankfurt.
Mini isn’t letting any grass grow in Frankfurt when it comes to concept cars. The automaker sent the John Cooper Works GP Concept and the Electric Concept to the gala, showcasing very different directions for the iconic model. At the same time, both are said to still encapsulate the nimble, fun-to-drive nature that’s defined Mini for decades.
Of the two, the Mini Electric Concept is the car facing the biggest challenge in meeting that promise. Under the lights at Frankfurt its silver finish with sharply contrasting yellow trim is borderline radioactive, yet the color seems appropriate for the car’s all-electric mission. Unfortunately, Mini still hasn’t graced the world with details on power or range, despite a production version slated for the 2019 model year.
In its original press release, the manufacturer emphasized the Electric Concept as a vehicle that showcases “future mobility in the city,” designed for day-to-day urban use. Mini’s parent company BMW already has the i3 with a range of approximately 124 miles, so it’s probably not a stretch to expect something similar from the Electric Concept.
On the other end of the spectrum is the JCW GP Concept, which looks like it’s ready to eat the Electric Concept for breakfast. It’s decidedly not powered by electricity, but as with the Electric Concept, Mini hasn’t offered up details on how this winged warrior will get down the road. We do know the driver changes gears through paddle shifters on the steering wheel, and the interior is absolutely race-spec in the name of weight savings. There aren’t even door handles – to exit the GP Concept, driver and passenger have fabric straps to pull. And we suspect it will have no trouble whatsoever living up to Mini's fun-to-drive legacy.
Mini hasn’t confirmed whether a production version of the GP Concept will get a green light. The last time we saw a JCW GP variant in showrooms was 2012, near the end of previous model’s lifespan. A new Mini is expected in the next couple years, so don’t be surprised to see this machine – hopefully with every single scoop, flare, and wing still attached – make it to the streets as the last hurrah to the current generation.