A new limited-edition Mini model is joining the lineup, and the automaker is calling it the "sportiest road-registered Mini ever made." The 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP is a sport-tuned, race-inspired version of the two-door hatchback. It builds off the Mini Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit that was available in 2006.
Mini says the GP uses an extensively modified version of the brand's 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder; it makes 211 horsepower. The new version is faster, beating the old model's lap time on Nurburgring's Grand Prix course by about 18 seconds, Mini says. In fact, Mini calls the GP "the fastest Mini ever built" and estimates a zero-to-60-mph time of 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 150 mph.
The car is on the stand at the L.A. Auto Show, and it's hard to miss—it's decked out in GP badging, racing stripes and specifically designed wheels and racing tires. Other exterior features include large front and rear aprons, unique side skirts and a rear spoiler and diffuser aimed at optimizing airflow. Inside, the rear seats have been removed.
Only 2,000 units will be made for sale in the U.S. and global markets, Mini says. Only 500 of those will be earmarked for the U.S. The car will go on sale in March and start at $39,950, including a $700 destination charge.