Thursday, 29 November 2012 00:00

Love the first MINI GP? Better hurry up if you want to get your hands on the second iteration

WORDS: Shane O' Donoghue  PICS: MINI/Richard Newton


MINI surprised us with the first GP, the loquaciously titled 'MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit' to give it its full name. As we awaited news of the second generation R56 MINI this hardcore hot hatch was pulled from the bag, sporting two seats, more power and a propensity to go around corners at speeds that shamed even the most accomplished MINI. This time we're ready though; we know what to expect of the John Cooper Works GP now, don't we?

The formula is largely the same, including the limited edition status, but this time MINI has crowned the John Cooper Works GP (that's the official name, but it is already affectionately referred to as the GP2 by MINI fans) its fastest car ever, with adjustable suspension, big brakes and trick aerodynamics taking it to 150mph and an eight-minute, 23-second lap of the Nürburgring North Loop. That's a full 18 seconds faster than its predecessor. And to prove its mettle we've been given free rein of the Circuito Mallorca Renn Arena circuit on the island of Palma de Mallorca.

MINI Speedster!
Thursday, 27 September 2012 00:00

Steve Jenner couldn’t find a MINI that suited his tastes so he went on to build his very own creation. We introduce you to the unique MINI Speedster



I stand aghast as Steve Jenner casually mutters, “It’s something to do, isn’t it?” in response to being asked why he built this MINI Speedster. I almost fall about in laughter at his blasé comment, before realising that it’ll take quite a bit of prying to discover the ins and outs of this mega project. You see in Steve’s world, making a custom MINI from scratch in your garage is a normal thing to do.

Ideas like this don’t just come out of nowhere. Steve cut his teeth in the custom Mini scene back in 2001 with his first creation: a roof-chopped classic Mini that he started when he was 19 and finished two years later. He used the Mini’s roof to form a tonneau panel for the rear and finely fettled the spaceframe-reinforced bodywork to create a unique one-off project, worthy of a magazine feature. He took the knowledge from this build to create his latest crazy offering from a Cat C, front-end damaged 2001 MINI One.

GP Ultimate Buying Guide
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 00:00

With the recent announcement that a turbo Cooper S JCW GP2 is to be built, we take a look at the original model that started the GP revolution

Words and pics: Martyn Collins


Rumours were rife throughout the later years of the first generation new MINI production of a faster, lighter and more focused version of the supercharged Cooper S. However, it wasn't until the 2006 MINI United event in Misano, Italy, that production of such a MINI was confirmed and the result was the R53 MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP kit.

Being BMW's answer to the aftermarket tuners that were producing performance parts for the MINI, the GP is almost like a baby M car, based on the more power, less weight concept.

Assembled by Bertone, the legendary Italian coachbuilding and manufacturing company, this Cooper S was the fastest MINI of all until the latest JCW GP was revealed at the most recent MINI United this year.

First Drive: MINI Roadster launch
Tuesday, 22 May 2012 00:00

MINI continues to rewrite the rulebook with its hotly-anticipated two-seater convertible – the first in the company’s history

Words: Sarah Harrington-James / Pics: MINI UK


MINI certainly doesn’t sit on its laurels. Hot on the wheels of the stunning Coupé comes the launch of the sixth unique model in the ever-expanding MINI family, the all-new MINI Roadster. Officially unveiled at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show in January and on sale in the UK from next spring, there will be a four model engine line-up with the range starting at Cooper level.

The Roadster is a niche model in the MINI line-up where currently the hatch has been the best performer for the first quarter of this year with 46 per cent of sales, followed by Countryman at 22 per cent and Coupé – another niche – at eight per cent. Interestingly, MINI has not estimated Roadster total sales, nor discussed the impact it may have on the current MINI Convertible.

First Generation MINI Buying Guide
Wednesday, 28 March 2012 00:00

Early MINIs have now never been so affordable; you can pick up an R50 One for around £2,000 and an R53 Cooper S for just a grand more! Here’s what you need to know

Words: Sarah Harrington-James


MINI is now officially more than ten years old and early models – the so called ‘first generation’ or ‘Gen 1’ made between 2001-2006 – are now within the price range for those looking to get behind the wheel of a luxury small car for the first time, including newly qualified drivers. Indeed, there seems to be no let up in the MINI’s popularity and it is still the only marque that appeals to all regardless of age, sex or class. How cool is that?


Do your homework

So you’ve decided you want a MINI but aren’t too sure where to start your search. There are certainly some bargains to be had out there, but we suggest you first work out what your priorities are. For example, if you will be just using your MINI to travel to and from work or as an occasional runabout, then opting for a decent but higher mileage secondhand MINI with a price that reflects this might be best. Is a full service history important to you, or the number of previous owners? And would you prefer to buy from a dealer or privately, remembering that traders can of course provide a warranty back-up for peace of mind...

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