Automotive

This will be the fastest Mini Cooper on the road

Only 3,000 will be produced

LOS ANGELES - Mini Cooper unveiled its fastest street legal model yet at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week.

The Mini Cooper John Cooper Works GP has a 301-horsepower engine that offers a top speed of 165 miles an hour. This small but mighty car has just two seats inside and a big wing hanging off the back.

Only 3,000 of these cars will be produced and each will be individually numbered in a noticeable way. The production number, from 0001 through 3000, will appear in large digits on the corner of the car's front fender flare.

Mini has already decided that car number 0001 will go to a customer in the United States, but hasn't decided yet how they will choose who will get it. It will not be decided through an auction, said Mike Peyton, Mini's vice president for the Americas.

The fender flares themselves, which have openings to allow air to flow through them, are made from carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. The material is recycled waste left over from the production of BMW i3 and i8 plug-in cars. (Mini is a subsidiary of BMW.)

The rear wing is actually two wings combined and provides aerodynamic downforce at the back of the car to keep it pressed to the ground at high speeds. It's matched with a small wing that's incorporated into the front bumper to provide downforce at the front of the car.

The turbocharged four-cylinder engine is the most powerful that has ever been used in a Mini. It has 75 horsepower more than the next most-powerful Mini John Cooper Works model.

The John Cooper Works GP has a special eight-speed automatic transmission, according to the company. It also has paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel so the driver can shift gears manually. To save weight, the car has minimal sound insulation and no back seats at all. The front seats are special lightweight sports seats.

There's no choice of paint color on this Mini Cooper. The cars will be painted in Racing Gray, with the mirrors finished in Melting Silver.

The cars are named for John Cooper, a racing driver and race car designer who collaborated with the British Motor Corporation to create performance versions of the original Minis in the 1960s. Those cars became extremely popular with rally racers.

The Mini Cooper John Cooper Works GP will go into production in March 2020 at the companies factory in Oxford, England. Prices will start at about $45,000 in the US.


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