Two-seat hatchbacks have existed for a long time. Just look at the previous Group B homologation specials like the Lancia Delta S4 or Renault 5 Turbo 2, or nutty creations dreamt up engineers wandering if you can shove a V6 is the middle of a Clio. Still each time a carmaker launches a lightweight keep track of-variation of a product originally intended for commuting and purchasing outings, there is typically a collective sigh when lots of inquire: “what’s the issue?”

Granted, on paper at minimum, the full two-seater notion doesn’t make a enormous total of sense. They are not nearly as smooth as a function-developed sports activities car and a lot of of them keep their foundation car’s front-wheel travel structure. But the reality is vastly different, with incredibly hot hatch heroes like the Renault Megane R26.R and Volkswagen Golfing GTI Clubsport S proving that some of the most effective driving encounters come in familiar packages.

One of the first to convey jointly the format with properly sharp handling was the authentic Mini John Cooper Works GP. In a natural way, it had a persons scratching their heads when it arrived on the scene in 2006, with the rear seats swapped out for a strut brace and a little bit of netting to hold the contents of your shopping from getting unleashed all over the cabin.

But the numbers discuss for them selves. The primary GP weighs in at just 1,090kg, marking a 50kg conserving on the previously admirably mild R53 Cooper S. The updates do not end there, possibly. The suspension was stiffened up, the ride height lowered and a restricted-slip differential was fitted to the front axle. Ability from the 1.6-litre supercharged 4-pot was a little bit amplified in excess of the John Cooper Operates R53, increasing from 210hp to 218hp on the GP. Despite the fact that when you consider that the existing GP3 – with far more energy than any Mini which is appear prior to – has rarely been as effectively obtained as the former two generations, it goes to present how BMW hit the nail on the head with the R53 hatchback.

Presented its lightweight nature, you’d think the GP would be a nightmare to reside with. But, finally, this is a BMW-developed Mini at the end of day, so it will get the very same interior quality that we have occur to count on from the R53 – together with some neat touches. The equipment lever is carbon fibre with the JCW brand displayed on leading, alongside with Recaro sports seats and GP branding on the door sills.

What can make the GP that minimal little bit extra specific is that it was assembled by Bertone. This example has absent on really the journey, with the physique remaining despatched from the Mini plant in Oxford to Bertone’s assembly plant in Grugliasco, Italy, before a last journey back again to Blighty. And it would sign up for only a number of hundred other Uk-sure Mini GPs out of the total 2,000-solid output run. The cherry on leading is a sticker earlier mentioned the doors with the car’s manufacturing quantity – this one particular remaining #1190.

So, it is relatively particular – and which is extremely significantly reflected in Mini GP resale values. The automobile we have here was registered again in 2006 and has covered 75,000 miles because. It’s priced at £17,995 admittedly quite a little bit more than what a JCW of the period will set you back again, but the Mini GP provides a vastly much more centered driving practical experience than many contemporaneous very hot hatches. Plus, with other hardcore rivals commanding broad sums of income and getting significantly difficult to come across, this Mini GP is a wonderful way into possessing a thing exceptional – without the need of the guilt of spending Porsche Cayman money…


Motor: 1,598cc, four cylinders, supercharged
Transmission: six-pace manual, entrance-wheel travel
Ability (hp): 218@7,100rpm
Torque (lb ft):
MPG: 32.8
CO2: 207g/km
12 months registered: 2006
Recorded miles: 75,000
Value new: £22,000
Yours for: £17,995