Hot-rod Mini JCW GP and all-electric Cooper SE break cover in Monterey
Mini used the occasion of California’s Monterey Car Week and the Pebble Beach concours to celebrate Sir Alec Issigonis’ original Mini’s 60th birthday with two new high profile cars set to arrive at dealers. It was the first public showings anywhere for the high-performance Mini John Cooper Works GP and the battery-electric Mini Cooper SE. The two new Mini are said by the company to represent the breadth of offerings from the self-identified “British premium” brand of small cars, from earth-saving electrics to track-pounding sports cars.
The two new models were joined by a number of historic Minis to help celebrate the anniversary, but the new Minis are themselves historic in their own ways.
The John Cooper Works GP, to be limited to just 3000 units, will be the most powerful Mini ever made. Its 300+ horsepower twin turbo four cylinder engine, aerodynamic body bits, and a suspension tuned by the John Cooper Works team allow it to turn laps under the impressive eight-minute mark during testing on the Nurburgring’s north course. Powered by a 184-hp electric motor, the Mini Cooper SE is no slouch itself, and its low center of gravity from it’s floor mounted battery pack give it the kind of handling associated with Minis for six decades. It is the first series production electric car from the brand.
Alongside the two new Minis in Monterey were a rally-spec 1965 Mini Cooper S, two special edition Minis from 2000, the final year of production for the classic Mini, a first-generation BMW-made John Cooper Works, and the Mini E, the brand’s first electric car, which was built in small numbers 10 years ago to test the feasibility of electric propulsion.
The John Cooper Works GP will go on sale in 2020, while the electric Cooper SE will launch late this year.