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Mini announces 300-hp JCW GP

by Ronan Glon

It's hitting showrooms in 2020

Mini is expanding its line-up in two different directions. On one hand, it's preparing to release its first volume-produced electric car. On the other hand, it's working on a range-topping hot hatch named John Cooper Works GP that will be faster and more powerful than any car the brand has made to date.

We got a preview of the JCW GP at the 2017 Frankfurt auto show. The concept looked more muscular than the standard two-door Hardtop it was based on thanks in part to a full body kit that added a deeper front bumper, wider fenders, and a massive roof-mounted wing. In 2019, Mini released teaser images to confirm the wing will stay, and that carbon fiber will keep weight in check.

Power will come from a four-cylinder engine -- most likely a 2.0-liter unit -- turbocharged to make over 300 horsepower. Other specifications such as transmission options remain under wraps. We expect front-wheel drive will come standard, meaning Mini will need to find a way to keep a prodigious amount of torque steer in check.

Mini will continue testing the John Cooper Works GP over the following months, notably on race tracks. This suggests -- but doesn't confirm -- that we won't see the model next month at the Geneva auto show. Production will start in 2020, according to the firm, and only 3,000 examples will be built. Pricing and American availability will be confirmed after its official debut.

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