The MINI John Cooper Works GP, the most hardcore of them MINIs, is now available in Thailand. Our neighbour has been allocated 30 units of the GP, and each costs a hefty 4.2 million baht, which is equivalent to RM563,453. Yup, for a hot hatch.

But this ain’t no normal hot MINI. Unveiled in November 2019, the JCW GP is based on the 3 Door body and is powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 306 hp and 450 Nm of torque from 1,750 rpm to 4,500 rpm.

By the way, this is the same engine found in the JCW Countryman and Clubman, but unlike those larger ALL4 models, drive goes solely to the front wheels in this petite 3 Door, via an eight-speed automatic with an integrated mechanical locking differential. The 0-100 km/h sprint is done in just 5.2 seconds, and top speed is 265 km/h.

To compare, a Cooper S has a mere 192 hp/280 Nm, while the “regular JCW” gets 231 hp/320 Nm. The latter does 0-100 km/h in 6.1 seconds before reaching a top speed of 246 km/h. So, the GP’s power/speed advantage is big.

The specially tuned suspension includes swivel bearings of a new design for greater camber angles for the front wheels. Rear wheel camber is also increased, and stabiliser bearings with higher preload help optimise roll support. The underbody tunnel bridge has been replaced by a solid support for the modified rear axle member, while the front suspension is augmented with a strut brace.

No shortage of visuals to help it stand out, too. The GP is distinguished by red highlights applied to the lower bumper intakes, front grille strip, within the large tailgate spoiler and the lower sides of the car; while the distinctive carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) aero trim above each wheel also serve as wheelhouse extensions. Compared to the John Cooper Works, the GP has a wider track and 10 mm lower ride height.

Speaking of wheels, these are 18-inch forged alloys with 225/35 tyres. Each weigh less than nine kg and wear the GP logo on the hub caps. Braking is handled by four-piston 360 mm ventilated discs in front. The matte-brushed exhaust tips are 90 mm in diameter.

The John Cooper Works GP is a strict two-seater with reduced sound insulation and an aluminium cross-brace residing where the rear seats would have been. Standard cabin equipment here includes JCW sports seats trimmed in a leather and Dinamica combination with silver side edges, red accent seams, red belt straps and a GP badge under each integrated headrest.

Ahead of the driver is a steering wheel trimmed in Nappa leather and a metal centre marking at the 12 o’clock position. The gearshift paddles are metal, 3D-printed items like the numbering badge, with a honeycomb structure on the surfaces. The MINI John Cooper Works GP is a 3,000-unit limited run model, which means Thailand gets 1% of the global pie. How about Malaysia?