We’ve been patiently waiting for the hot hatch to make its production car debut ever since Mini previewed it with a namesake concept back in September 2017 for the Frankfurt Motor Show. It’s been spotted multiple times since then, and even teased in road-going guise, but it looks like we’ll have to wait some more for the official premiere. Thankfully, spy videos such as this one ease our wait until a possible debut at this year’s IAA a few months from now.
Two prototypes are featured in this video shot at the Nürburgring where Mini is currently based to put the finishing touches on its fastest, most powerful road car it has ever built. Despite the typical yellow and black swirly camo all over the body, we can easily observe the aggressive body reserved for the John Cooper Works GP.
It appears we’re looking a prototype boasting just about all of the production bits, which will be toned down compared to the concept from two years ago. Honestly, that’s a good thing as the racy showcar was perhaps a bit too much whereas the version you’ll be able to buy looks just right. It’s quite aggressive, with a massive wing at the back wider than the car’s actual body, while the beefier air intakes up front denote something special is going on underneath that vented hood.
Indeed, the Mini JCW GP will feature the same turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine as the BMW X2 M35i and the recently revealed M135i. That means output should stand at 302 horsepower (225 kilowatts) and 450 Newton-meters (332 pound-feet) of torque. There will be one major difference between the flagship Mini and the two Bimmers as while the “35i” models come with all-wheel drive, the JCW GP will feature a front-wheel-drive layout.
Gallery: Mini Cooper JCW GP interior spy photos
The new footage shot at the Green Hell doesn’t reveal the prototype’s interior, but we have attached (above) some recent spy shots of a different test vehicle showing off the body-hugging seats and the gear lever belonging to an automatic transmission. It remains to be seen whether a manual will be offered, but we have a feeling the ultimate Mini will come exclusively with an eight-speed, two-pedal setup like the aforementioned BMWs are using, complete with launch control.
In the press release accompanying the teaser images, Mini mentioned the 8:23 Nürburgring lap time of the previous JCW GP, leading us to believe the new one will achieve a faster lap thanks to more power and lower weight. It has a long way to go if it wants to claim the record for the fastest production car at the Nordschleife as it would have to complete the lap in under the 7:40 needed by the Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R.
To keep it exclusive and likely try to justify what will be a high price tag, Mini will build only 3,000 examples of the JCW GP.
Video: Automotive Mike / YouTube