The BMW-owned MINI brand is striking hard and casting a wide net at the Frankfurt Auto Show.
MINI Electric Concept
For starters, we’ll be seeing the MINI Electric Concept, but BMW has unveiled little information about it so far. We know that it will feature a lithium-ion battery, that the front grille will be closed to improve aerodynamics and that its colours will be Reflection Silver and Interchange Yellow.
In 2008, MINI built roughly 600 units of an electric MINI—called the MINI E—which laid the foundations for the current BMW i3. But we still don’t know much about the concept to be unveiled in Frankfurt, including the electric motor’s output, the battery’s kWh or the charging time.
The MINI Electric Concept won’t remain a concept for long, as production has already been announced. This MINI Electric (will it be called the MINI E like before?) will arrive for the 2019 model year and will be based on the three-door version. It will be built at the same Oxford plant where all MINIs are built, while the motors will come from the Dingolfing and Landshut plants.
MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept
Although the electric MINI is sure to be an interesting model, performance enthusiasts will be eagerly anticipating the MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept (aka the MINI JCW GP Concept), a car that promises hours of fun – and several visits to the chiropractor.
If the pairing of the letters JCW and GP rings a bell, it’s that MINI has already produced speedsters like these for previous generations. The concept vehicle that will be introduced in Frankfurt, however, will surpass – and then some – even these extreme MINIs.
Although MINI hasn’t disclosed the engine power, you can expect it to be greater than the 211 horsepower found in the 2013 JCW GP. The concept features an automatic gearbox (no word on the number of gears) and until we hear information to the contrary, we assume that it will be a front-wheel drive.
While MINI is tight-lipped when it comes to technical data, you can’t shut them up when the topic of conversation turns to style.
Firstly, MINI says this will be a much wider car than the usual version, though they won’t specify the exact dimensions. A wider car can accommodate wider tires and wider front and rear track widths as well (more space between the front wheels and between the back wheels), which ensures better handling.
The huge front air intakes, the large aerodynamic additions and the air intake on the roof (that doesn’t seem to be functional, by the way) catch the eye and pique curiosity. To lighten the load, the front deflector is made of carbon fibre.
For added punch, the MINI JCW GP comes in Black Jack Anthracite (which ranges from grey to black depending on the lighting), and several parts or body sections come in matte-finish Curbside Red or Highspeed Orange. On the sides, the number 0059 pays homage to the first-ever Mini, released in 1959.
The JCW GP’s cabin is not built for comfort. No carpet, no fabric covering the ceiling and no back seat. All this has been eliminated in the name of making weight. But there are still two moulded seats with five-point seat belts and a safety cage!
Will the production version of the JCW GP be as extreme? Something tells me that, esthetically, it won’t change much. From a technical standpoint, it should be in line with the Honda Civic Type R. If the JCW GP isn’t on par with the Civic (or at the very least the Ford Focus ST), hopes will be dashed far and wide.