2021 MINI Hardtop 2 Door
- Not available
- March 2020
What to expect
- 302 horsepower and improved overall performance
- Limited to only 3,000 examples
- Reduced to a two-seat-only layout
- Part of the third Hardtop generation introduced for 2014
What is it?
With the recent introduction of high-performance hatchbacks, Mini couldn't just sit on the sidelines. Premiering at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show is the 2021 Mini John Cooper Works GP, the apex predator of the lineup that is based on the Hardtop 2 Door that was last redesigned for 2014.
This Mini JCW GP is limited to only 3,000 examples and goes on sale in March of 2020. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 302 horsepower (78 hp more than the standard JCW) and 332 lb-ft of torque. It's all routed to the front wheels through a sport-tuned eight-speed automatic transmission with manual control and a mechanical differential. Mini claims a 0-62 mph (100 kph) time of less than 5.2 seconds and a top speed around 164 mph.
Not satisfied with just increasing power output, Mini upgraded almost every other component to improve overall performance. That includes adding a lowered sport-tuned suspension, more powerful brakes, an engine oiling system to counteract sustained high-g cornering, and a special exhaust system. Mini also added extra chassis reinforcements, more rigid engine mounts for better responsiveness, and a retuned stability control system for a more rewarding performance.
On the outside, a large rear wing distinguishes the GP from other Minis, and its lightweight 18-inch wheels are tucked into some rather bizarre-looking wheel arches. Made from carbon-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic that is recycled from BMW i3 and i8 production, these odd add-ons are needed to cover the wider tires and wheels and also help direct airflow, somewhat like the barge boards seen on Formula 1 cars. Emblazoned on the front wheel arches is the production number of the vehicle.
Inside, the John Cooper Works GP changes the Mini formula by eliminating the rear seats. That's right, the GP is a two-seater with a sturdy-looking cross brace in the place of where rear passengers typically sit. A new digital instrument panel is standard equipment, as are numerous racy design elements. Other notable additions include 3D-printed trim parts, a marker at the steering wheel's 12 o'clock position and shift paddles. Expect the GP's interior to be quite a bit louder than that of other Minis since sound insulation has been reduced. Available options include automatic climate control, navigation and a wireless charging pad.
Why does it matter?
Mini has built its reputation on making sporty and fun cars. Yet compared to newer hot-hatch rivals, it's fair to say the Cooper Hardtop has gotten a bit stale. Mini is hoping the new GP brings more attention back to its brand. The 2021 Mini John Cooper Works GP represents the fastest and most powerful production Mini ever.
What does it compete with?
Primary rivals for the JCW GP include the Honda Civic Type R, the Hyundai Veloster N and the Volkswagen Golf R. If pricing is as high as we expect, other alternatives could include the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro.
Depending on your definition of fun, the 2021 Mini John Cooper Works GP could be the most entertaining street-legal hatchback from the British-German brand. Expect reduced overall comfort and a jump in price as a result, however.