Mini's 300bhp John Cooper Works GP spied for the first time

Production of hottest Mini ever confirmed for 2020, and spyshots show styling closely in-line with the concept

Hours after Mini released details and the first teaser images of its most powerful and fastest model yet, spyshots of the upcoming John Cooper Works GP have surfaced. 

The fresh shots, which show the performance car on a transporter in the typical body disguise, tell us that the production GP is likely to retain an extreme rear wing design, aggressive bodykit and bespoke wheels.

The British firm previously revealed that the limited-run hot hatchback will arrive with over 300bhp, with hardcore styling that will match that of 2017’s GP Concept.

The four-cylinder turbocharged engine will make the GP the fastest and most powerful road-going Mini ever built by the company. No performance figures have been confirmed, although the company appears to be targeting the 8:23 Nürburgring-Nordschleife lap time achieved by its predecessor.

Teaser images released by Mini show a close-up of the rear diffuser, appearing to preview revised design from the original concept, and the four-spoke alloy wheels aren’t as motorsport-inspired as the centre-locking 19in wheels used on the concept.

The 2017 concept’s large front and rear aprons are unlikely to be carried over in their entirety to the production model, although the LED rear lights that display half of the Union Jack, in a nod to the car’s British origin, have since become standard on the regular Mini hatchback.

The prominent use of lightweight materials including carbonfibre, which Mini said optimised the car’s power-to-weight ratio, may yet make it into the final car, although it would come with an increase in price.

Inside, the concept had a rollcage and pair of low-mounted bucket seats, with gearshifts controlled by paddles on the steering wheel. Mini has yet to reveal if the production version will follow suit.

The BMW-owned British brand said the concept is inspired by its triumphs at the Monte Carlo Rally in the 1960s, “embodying dynamic flair and the ultimate in driving fun”.

BMW board member Peter Schwarzenbauer previously told Autocar that a JCW GP model was likely to appear again. “The John Cooper Works GP is an important part of the Mini brand,” he said. “It has worked well for us in the past.”

Both the original and second-generation modern Minis offered a JCW GP model near the end of the mainstream models’ lifecycle, in 2006 and 2012 respectively. The new JCW GP will arrive shortly before the predicted launch of the new Mini hatchback.

The most recent JCW GP, launched in 2012, used a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine delivering 215bhp, a 7bhp increase over the standard JCW at that time. It hit 0-62mph in 6.3sec and cost £28,790.

The current standard JCW adopted a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit with 227bhp and also hits 0-62mph in 6.3sec, so expect improvement in both power and speed for the third-generation JCW GP.

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The 10 best used Minis you can buy 



Source: Autocar Online

GM and Amazon look to invest in EV start-up Rivian

Rivian R1S LA motor show

Reports say Amazon and GM’s potential investment could value fledgling Rivian at over £1bn

US electric car start-up Rivian has attracted big interest since its LA motor show debut, with reports claiming General Motors and Amazon are lined up to invest in the firm. 

Sources close to the matter have told Reuters and Bloomberg that the two global giants are in talks to agree a joint investment. The projected figures would value Rivian at between $1bn and $2bn (£770m to £1.5bn). 

The deal, which would depend on successful negotiations and may still fall through, would still see GM and Amazon listed as minority shareholders in Rivian. The EV brand is aiming to bring the first electric pick-up to market, and only went public last year despite having developed and produced electric platforms since 2009. 

Rivian R1S SUV and R1T pick-up aim to shake-up the 4×4 market

Rivian is hoping to have the kind of impact Tesla has made in shaking up the established automotive set and believes it has found a niche with the creation of go-anywhere electric vehicles.

The R1T and R1S, the first and second in a series of models eventually planned, are built on a bespoke electric ‘skateboard’ chassis, that’s modular and can be used on all different types and sizes of vehicles. The initial pair are closely related, the chief difference being a slightly shorter wheelbase in the R1S. The R1S is 5040mm long, making it Range Rover-sized, while the 5465mm-long R1-T is marginally longer than the Mercedes-Benz X-Class.

In both cars the lithium-ion battery pack is mounted in the floor, and in the in the R1T is good for a 230-mile range in its standard 105kWh capacity, 300-mile range in a 130kWh capacity, or up to 400 miles with the 180kWh ‘mega pack’. In the R1S, the same battery packs are offered with figures of 240, 310 and 420 miles respectively.

The two models share their drivetrains, too. Four electric motors, one for each wheel, give the electric models four-wheel drive. Each motor produces 197bhp (total combined figures through the gearbox are 754bhp and 826lb ft in the 135kWh version), which allows for prodigious performance. It’s claimed both vehicles can crack 0-60mph in just 3.0sec, and 0-100mph in less than 7.0sec in the 135kWh versions.

Double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension features, alongside air springs and adaptive dampers. Rivian claims the electric drivetrain and chassis set-up allows for both impressive on-road performance and handling and precise off-road control that surpasses any existing mechanical solutions off the asphalt. Its flat floor is also reinforced with carbonfibre and Kevlar to protect the battery pack, while both models get five-star crash test safety ratings in the US.

A distinctive front-end exterior design appears on both cars, while the spacious interiors get premium but durable materials that are easy to clean, in keeping with the cars’ off-road lifestyle brief. Two screens feature inside, that run Rivian’s own software and graphics.

There are packs of novel hidden features and clever solutions in both models, including a 330-litre front storage under the nose, and in the truck a full width storage hole that runs between the rear doors and rear wheels that’s good for housing golf clubs.

Rivian, first formed in 2009, is looking to do things differently to other start-ups by having its entire business plan and funding in place before going public with its intentions, and even then keeping targets conservative.

Company founder and CEO, RJ Scaringe, has already gone through two stillborn versions of the R1T to get to this third, production-ready version.

The US-based company is backed by investors from the Middle East, and employs some 560 people worldwide. It’s design and engineering centre is based in Plymouth, Michigan and other key sites include a battery development facility in Irvine, California. It has opened an advanced engineering centre in Chertsey, Surrey, too.

Manufacturing will take place at an old Mitsubishi plant in Illinois, which Rivian purchased for $16 million (£12.5m) last year. This has a capacity of up to 350,000 units per year.

Rivian’s initial ambitions are much lower than that initially, with plans to be selling some 50-60,000 of its premium electric off-roaders by 2025/26. It does however plan to offer its electric skateboard chassis to other companies, either car makers or indeed any brand looking to launch an electric car, so long as their products do not compete with Rivian’s own. The R1T will go into production in late 2020 with the R1S in early 2021, the former prices from around $70,000 (£55,000). Right-hand drive production for the UK will follow around a year later.

The R1T will go into production in late 2020, with the R1S following in early 2021. Prices for the former will start from $61,500 after federal tax rebates (£48,000), with Rivian accepting refundable $1000 pre-order deposits now. Right-hand drive production for the UK will follow around a year later.

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Source: Autocar Online

First ride: 2019 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 2019 first ride review - hero front

We take a ride in the new-generation model on Welsh roads to see if it can improve on the original

Having produced a design masterpiece in the original Range Rover Evoque – first as a concept in 2008 and then as a showroom hit from 2011 – Land Rover was never likely to move far away from the original when it came time to launch this second-generation car.

That relationship was instantly proven when we clapped eyes on the new machine for the first time outside of a show stand. It was waiting beside one of the challenging Welsh roads on which it had been developed over the past 18 months, ready to be demonstrated by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) dynamics expert Mike Cross.

Keep looking and you see that the 2019 Evoque is modernised in almost every detail but that it continues to use every one of the original’s key design cues: bold front wheel arches, prominent rear haunches, a rising belt line and a falling roof (the designers cheerfully acknowledging that a compromised rear three-quarter view is worth it for the visual drama), a very short rear overhang and large wheels.

The rear-facing cameras help the view behind, but in tight going, the front is downright remarkable because of the much ballyhooed ‘see-through bonnet’.

But investigating these things is not my mission. Today, we’re to sample the car at higher speeds on the variable, challenging roads around Welshpool, a favourite haunt of Cross’s chassis teams because the roads are at times wide and quick, then abruptly narrow and rough edged, bounded by encroaching rock faces. You need a composed, supple-riding and precise-steering car for this. And because we’re several hours from JLR’s Midlands bases, you also need a car with refinement and long legs to kill fatigue.

Our mount is a high-spec HSE Dynamic, powered by a 296bhp twin-turbo petrol four driving through a discreetly smooth nine-speed ZF automatic. Cross soon proves we have an abundance of torque and ratios for the quick passing that this kind of motoring needs.

Inside is the latest expression of design boss Gerry McGovern’s preference for elegantly simple interiors, with a clean fascia, and seats covered in the new-theory Kvadrat textile much favoured by JLR’s modern-minded colour and trim experts. It’s so much nicer than leather.

The latest Evoque introduces a new floorpan that improves its body rigidity by around 17%. It lengthens the wheelbase by around 20mm (all of which goes into rear leg room) while maintaining overall length and weight.

Much work has been done refining suspension rates and reducing road noise, to levels well below those of competitive German models. That surface quietness has made it necessary to chase away wind and mechanical noise (the 296bhp four is now only plainly audible when accelerating hard) and the result seems to be a small Range Rover that is just about as quiet – even over bitumen ruts – as its twice-the-price parents.

Cross demonstrates the car with immaculate smoothness, but there’s no missing the fact that much of the time it seems to glide along. The Evoque seems to function best on its supple Normal chassis settings, rather than the selectable Sport that stiffens dampers, holds on to gears and makes the steering a shade heavier.

Our car has adaptive damping that reacts to surfaces and circumstances, but Cross claims the cheaper passive set-up is “also very good”.

In all, this new SUV is an Evoque in every detail. No one’s going to miss that from the looks. But once you’re inside and on the move, according to the judgement of my ears and the all-important backside test, this is more a Range Rover than ever.

READ MORE

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Source: Autocar Online

First ride: 2019 Range Rover Evoque

Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 2019 first ride review - hero front

We take a ride in the new-generation model on Welsh roads to see if it can improve on the original

Having produced a design masterpiece in the original Range Rover Evoque – first as a concept in 2008 and then as a showroom hit from 2011 – Land Rover was never likely to move far away from the original when it came time to launch this second-generation car.

That relationship was instantly proven when we clapped eyes on the new machine for the first time outside of a show stand. It was waiting beside one of the challenging Welsh roads on which it had been developed over the past 18 months, ready to be demonstrated by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) dynamics expert Mike Cross.

Keep looking and you see that the 2019 Evoque is modernised in almost every detail but that it continues to use every one of the original’s key design cues: bold front wheel arches, prominent rear haunches, a rising belt line and a falling roof (the designers cheerfully acknowledging that a compromised rear three-quarter view is worth it for the visual drama), a very short rear overhang and large wheels.

The rear-facing cameras help the view behind, but in tight going, the front is downright remarkable because of the much ballyhooed ‘see-through bonnet’.

But investigating these things is not my mission. Today, we’re to sample the car at higher speeds on the variable, challenging roads around Welshpool, a favourite haunt of Cross’s chassis teams because the roads are at times wide and quick, then abruptly narrow and rough edged, bounded by encroaching rock faces. You need a composed, supple-riding and precise-steering car for this. And because we’re several hours from JLR’s Midlands bases, you also need a car with refinement and long legs to kill fatigue.

Our mount is a high-spec HSE Dynamic, powered by a 296bhp twin-turbo petrol four driving through a discreetly smooth nine-speed ZF automatic. Cross soon proves we have an abundance of torque and ratios for the quick passing that this kind of motoring needs.

Inside is the latest expression of design boss Gerry McGovern’s preference for elegantly simple interiors, with a clean fascia, and seats covered in the new-theory Kvadrat textile much favoured by JLR’s modern-minded colour and trim experts. It’s so much nicer than leather.

The latest Evoque introduces a new floorpan that improves its body rigidity by around 17%. It lengthens the wheelbase by around 20mm (all of which goes into rear leg room) while maintaining overall length and weight.

Much work has been done refining suspension rates and reducing road noise, to levels well below those of competitive German models. That surface quietness has made it necessary to chase away wind and mechanical noise (the 296bhp four is now only plainly audible when accelerating hard) and the result seems to be a small Range Rover that is just about as quiet – even over bitumen ruts – as its twice-the-price parents.

Cross demonstrates the car with immaculate smoothness, but there’s no missing the fact that much of the time it seems to glide along. The Evoque seems to function best on its supple Normal chassis settings, rather than the selectable Sport that stiffens dampers, holds on to gears and makes the steering a shade heavier.

Our car has adaptive damping that reacts to surfaces and circumstances, but Cross claims the cheaper passive set-up is “also very good”.

In all, this new SUV is an Evoque in every detail. No one’s going to miss that from the looks. But once you’re inside and on the move, according to the judgement of my ears and the all-important backside test, this is more a Range Rover than ever.

READ MORE

2019 Range Rover Evoque revealed with new tech and mild-hybrid powertrain

2019 Range Rover Evoque: off-road first drive of new SUV

New Range Rover Sport HST gets JLR’s new straight-six petrol



Source: Autocar Online

Mark Blundell to compete in 2019 BTCC

Ex-Formula 1, IndyCar and Le Mans racer has signed a deal to compete in touring cars for the first time

Mark Blundell will make a return to frontline motorsport this year having signed to compete in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship.

Blundell was a winner at the Le Mans 24 Hours and in IndyCar, and has 61 Formula 1 grands prix on his CV. Now he will drive an Audi S3 saloon for the Trade Price Cars team alongside team-mate Jake Hill.

This will be the first time in Blundell’s 32-year racing career that he will have raced in a touring car series. He has signed to compete for the whole season.

“Once the opportunity arose to get back behind the wheel, it was something I was very keen to make happen,” said Blundell. “The British Touring Car Championship is a fantastic series that I have always wanted to race in but it has never been possible until now.

“It is going to be a new challenge for me but one I am really excited by. [BTCC boss] Alan Gow and I have been chatting for a number of years about taking part in the BTCC and I’m delighted that the time is right to finally make this step. At my age, I want to make sure that I am taking on such a prestigious championship while I am still geared up to do so competitively.”

Fifty-two-year-old Blundell claimed three podium finishes in his F1 career, along with an overall victory for Peugeot at Le Mans in 1992.  

“To attract a driver who has been on the podium in F1, and who has won at Le Mans and in IndyCar, is a big coup for us as a team, and we are delighted to bring him on board,” said Trade Price Cars team manager Shaun Hollamby. “With the testing programme we have in place, we’re confident that Mark will be up to speed by the time we get to Brands Hatch, and that he will work well with Jake to give us an exciting driver pairing in the Audis for the year ahead.”

The BTCC season starts at Brands Hatch on the weekend of 6-7 April.

READ MORE

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Source: Autocar Online

Ford planning to move production out of UK due to Brexit

Ford Dagenham plant

American-owned company issues warning in private call to Prime Minister over move that could affect 13,000 staff

Ford has warned the Prime Minister that it’s working on plans to move production out of the UK due to Brexit, according to reports.

The American-owned company’s bosses made the warning to Theresa May during a private call with business leaders, The Times has reported.

Ford, which has two plants in the UK and employs around 13,000 staff, revealed it was preparing alternative sites abroad but gave no further information.

It’s currently undergoing a massive global restructuring of its business, including its European arm. It’s planning a £14 billion cost-cutting programme, involving savings in manufacturing, engineering and purchasing, and will be evaluating its production sites as part of that process.

It recently cut around 400 jobs from its plant in Bridgend, South Wales.

British car industry officials have repeatedly warned of the damage that Brexit could cause. Several manufacturers are working on short-term contingency plans, including bringing forward production halts to just after 29 March, the day Britain is due to leave the European Union.

The Times reported that other businesses delivered a similar warning during the call. Nissan recently scrapped plans to produce the new X-Trail in Sunderland, citing Brexit concerns as well as the downturn in diesel popularity.

In response, May said that the Government is working on a package of financial support for businesses affected by a no-deal Brexit.

READ MORE

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Source: Autocar Online

Honda Urban EV: interior revealed ahead of Geneva debut

The production version of Honda’s electric, retro-themed Renault Zoe rival is due to be unveiled next month

Honda is readying the production version of the Urban EV for its Geneva motor show unveiling, and it has now released an image of the car’s interior.

The battery-electric model, Honda’s first to be sold in Europe, contrasts its classic exterior look with a futuristic interior that features an infotainment screen stretching right across the dashboard. Honda says it has been designed to “create a warm and engaging atmosphere” with “intuitive, user-focused technology”. 

The five-door hatchback was recently spotted testing on public roads and then previewed in an official image. It again shows a close similarity to the original concept, which was first revealed at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show.

The heavily camouflaged prototypes seen ahead of launch show a strong resemblance to the original concept, with similar dimensions and round headlights, although many of the car’s lines are still obscured. However, we can make out that it now has five doors instead of the concept’s three, while a curvier front-end design is likely due to pedestrian crash safety regulations. 

The concept that hinted at the design of a production model was well received when it was revealed at the Frankfurt motor show last September and subsequently displayed at the Geneva motor show.

Honda launches China-only EV brand at Beijing show

Indeed, it proved so popular that Honda has made very few changes to the final car’s design. Inside, the major changes will be the switch from four seats to five.

Speaking about opening order books in Britain, Honda UK boss Dave Hodgetts said the company expected the model to do “very well”. He added that it will “test people’s real attitude towards the car” beyond just liking the look of it.

Honda Sports EV revealed at Tokyo motor show 2017

However, few details about the car have been revealed, and Hodgetts said he “will push hard to get meaningful information” so that potential buyers know what they are committing to.

While it’s too early for pricing, Hodgetts recognised it would not be a cheap car despite being a supermini, and that Honda would position it as a premium model.

He added that he hoped electric vehicle pricing would start to come in line with combustion-engined models in two or three years’ time.

The electric car is built on a new dedicated electric platform and “sets the direction for the technology and design” of Honda’s future EVs.

The Urban EV concept has low and wide proportions and is 100mm shorter than the Jazz, making it 3895mm long. When on sale, the car will not steal sales from other models, which helped its case for production, according to a senior Honda source.

It also had a Honda emblem backlit in blue, previewing a new styling feature for future EVs from the brand.

At the front, between the headlights, interactive messages can be displayed including greetings, advice for other drivers or charging status updates.

Inside, Honda has intended to create maximum visibility for drivers thanks to slim A-pillars and a wide windscreen. Entry and exit from the concept is via rear-hinged coach doors.

A so-called floating dashboard console houses the steering wheel column, a set of simple control buttons and a panoramic screen. The wrap-around screen goes beyond the dashboard and extends into the doors, a feature that works as the car’s wing mirrors through digital camera display.

No powertrain or range details were given for the concept, but Honda said the car would include a high-density lightweight battery pack, integrated heat management and energy transfer functions both to and from the vehicle. A source at Honda suggested a short-to-middling range, so around 155 miles (250km) is expected.

The Japanese car maker recently announced that each of its new model lines from now on would feature electrified technology in Europe.

It hopes to have two-thirds of its new car sales in the region using electrified technology by 2025, five years earlier than its overall global goal.

Honda president Takahiro Hachigo explained: “Here in Europe, we see this move towards electrification gathering pace at an even higher rate than elsewhere.”

The firm unveiled its Honda Power Manager Concept last year, an integrated energy transfer system that can distribute electricity to and from the main grid, as well as directing power flow from renewable sources and managing an electric vehicle battery connected to the home.

Philip Ross, senior vice president for Honda Europe, said: “When appropriate, Power Manager can draw on energy from the EV battery to power the home and minimise the demand from the main grid. It even allows the energy stored in the EV to be sold back to the grid to generate an income for the owner.”

The technology is undergoing a trial in western France, as part of the development of a regional ‘smart grid’ that’s due to be completed in 2020.

Related story 

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Source: Autocar Online

Goodwood Festival to feature new ‘amphitheatre of action’ arena

Goodwood festival of speed 2018 - statue burnout

July event will feature revamped site, feature more drifting and stunts with a focus on ‘speed kings’

This year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed will feature a new ‘Arena’ feature, which will showcase drift cars and stunt displays.

The new attraction, which organisers describe as an “amphitheatre of action”, is being created as part of a layout revamp for the Sussex event, which this year will have a ‘speed kings’ theme.

The Arena will be located close to Goodwood House, in the Catherdral Paddock previously occupied by the Supercar Paddock. In turn, the supercars will now be located next to the hillclimb start line, in the space previously occupied by the Moving Motor Show stands. The First Glance Paddock, which houses unreleased, prototype and concept machines, will also move. It will now be located next to the FoS Future Lab technology showcase, adjacent to the car manufacturer stands.

The 2019 Festival will focus on “speed kings – motorsport’s record breakers”. It will celebrate all manner of automotive bests and firsts, from land speed records and fastest laps to the most successful drivers and manufacturers.

“We are delighted with this year’s theme, as it offers an opportunity to celebrate the ultimate heroes of motorsport past, present and future,” Will Kinsman, Goodwood’s head of motorsport content, said. “The team are working hard to ensure the paddocks are bursting with the most talented drivers and riders alongside the most iconic road and race machines in the world.

“They are also delving into the more obscure corners of the motorsport world to ensure the Festival of Speed maintains and enhances its reputation as the greatest motorsport show on earth.”

2019 marks twenty years since Nick Heidfeld set the outright record in the Goodwood hillclimb event, taking just 41.6 seconds to ascend the 1.26-mile course in a McLaren MP4/13 Formula One car. Last year, all eyes were on the Volkswagen I.D. R electric racer, which arrived at the event fresh from smashing the all-time Pikes Peak record. It was unable to get close to Heidfeld’s mark, but did set a new record for electric cars with a time of 43.05 seconds.

The event last year also included a parade of Land Rovers from the company’s 70-year history, distinctive one-off machines such as a V8-powered Aston Martin Cygnet, new car launches from the likes of Noble, Vazirani Automotive and a Porsche 911 964 reimagined by Singer and Williams. It also saw an autonomous race car navigate the hillclimb unassisted for the first time.

The annual event, which returns on the 4-7 July, has continued to rise in prominence in recent years and is widely considered to be the UK’s premier motoring event, with various manufacturers using it as an opportunity to launch new models in the UK.

Goodwood organisers have revealed the 2019 event will see several changes from previous years, including relocated exhibits and attractions, along with the introduction of new ones which will be revealed in the run-up to the festival.

The iconic central sculpture will get its own reveal in the coming months. The 2018 sculpture featured several of Porsche’s most iconic cars, in celebration of the marque’s 70th anniversary.

READ MORE

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Source: Autocar Online

New Range Rover Sport HST gets JLR's first mild-hybrid powertrain

First production mild hybrid is 3.0-litre straight-six Ingenium petrol engine making 395bhp, and is only available in special edition trim

Land Rover has added a new straight-six mild hybrid Ingenium petrol engine to the Range Rover Sport line-up, debuting first in a special edition model.

The Range Rover Sport HST, priced from £81,250, uses a 395bhp in-line six that replaces the old V6 petrol. It’s said to offer more performance and greater refinement, while at the same time improving fuel economy and emissions.

The unit features an electric supercharger, able to spool up to 120,000rpm in half a second to, the firm claims, “virtually eliminate” lag from the twin-scroll turbocharger. The motor itself produces 406lb ft of peak torque.

It’s also the first Jaguar Land Rover production model to market with a mild-hybrid system, as part of the firm’s plan to offer an electrified variant on every model launched from 2020. The 48v system harvests energy through regenerative braking, storing it in a small battery that can offer electrical assistance when pulling away.

The new engine makes the Range Rover Sport HST capable of 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds, while going on to a top speed of 140mph. Fuel economy is rated at 30.5mpg, with CO2 emissions of 213g/km, under the old NEDC measuring regime. 

Like the current range of four-cylinder Ingenium engines, the new straight-six has been designed and developed in-house and will be built at JLR’s Wolverhampton engine facility

The HST special edition also brings with it unique combinations of exterior and interior upgrades, including carbon fibre trim, red brake callipers, and ‘suede cloth’ detailing on the wheel and gear lever. 

Read more:

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Source: Autocar Online

Mini teases 2020 John Cooper Works GP with more than 300bhp

Mini John Cooper Works GP 2020 teaser - roof spoiler

First images show the most powerful road-going Mini ever looking set to match styling of the extreme GP concept

Mini has announced more details of the upcoming John Cooper Works GP, revealing the limited-run hot hatchback will arrive with over 300bhp and match the extreme styling of 2017’s GP Concept.

The four-cylinder turbocharged engine will make the GP the fastest and most powerful road-going Mini ever built by the company. No performance figures have been confirmed, although the company appears to be targeting the 8:23 Nürburgring-Nordschleife lap time achieved by its predecessor.

Teaser images released by Mini suggest the production car will use the same dramatic roof spoiler as the John Cooper Works GP concept, which made its debut at the Frankfurt motor show. A close-up of the rear diffuser appears to show a revised design from the original concept, and the four-spoke alloy wheels aren’t as motorsport-inspired as the centre-locking 19in wheels used on the concept.

The 2017 concept’s large front and rear aprons are unlikely to be carried over in their entirety to the production model, although the LED rear lights that display half of the Union Jack, in a nod to the car’s British origin, have since become standard on the regular Mini hatchback.

The prominent use of lightweight materials including carbonfibre, which Mini said optimised the car’s power-to-weight ratio, may yet make it into the final car, although it would come with an increase in price.

Inside, the concept had a rollcage and pair of low-mounted bucket seats, with gearshifts controlled by paddles on the steering wheel. Mini has yet to reveal if the production version will follow suit.

The BMW-owned British brand said the concept is inspired by its triumphs at the Monte Carlo Rally in the 1960s, “embodying dynamic flair and the ultimate in driving fun”.

BMW board member Peter Schwarzenbauer previously told Autocar that a JCW GP model was likely to appear again. “The John Cooper Works GP is an important part of the Mini brand,” he said. “It has worked well for us in the past.”

Both the original and second-generation modern Minis offered a JCW GP model near the end of the mainstream models’ lifecycle, in 2006 and 2012 respectively. The new JCW GP will arrive shortly before the predicted launch of the new Mini hatchback.

The most recent JCW GP, launched in 2012, used a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine delivering 215bhp, a 7bhp increase over the standard JCW at that time. It hit 0-62mph in 6.3sec and cost £28,790.

The current standard JCW adopted a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit with 227bhp and also hits 0-62mph in 6.3sec, so expect improvement in both power and speed for the third-generation JCW GP.

Related stories: 

Mini electric concept makes Goodwood Festival of Speed appearance 

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Source: Autocar Online

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