• 2020 Mini Cooper JCW F350 by Manhart

The Iconic German tuner is here to make an angry hot hatch angrier

LISTEN 05:18

Manhart Racing is back with a new aftermarket program. This time, the German tuner has set it sights on the Mini John Cooper Works GP, the 301-horsepower performance-spec version of the Mini JCW. It’s an intriguing choice on the part of Manhart Racing. On its own, the JCW GP already fits the profile of an edgy hot hatch with enough power and performance characteristics to make some of its rivals look tame by comparison.

Why does this Mini John Cooper Works GP look the way it does?

2020 Mini Cooper JCW F350 by Manhart Exterior
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For those who are intro flashy-looking JCW GPs, Manhart Racing is offering a unique livery for all JCW GPs that it gets its hands on. The model on the press photos, for example, sports wears a British Racing Green exterior finish with matching red accents and highlights throughout the hot hatch’s body. Manhart even tapped Dutch specialist JD Customs to create the foil design that you see on this JCW GP. There’s also a bit of a Christmas theme going on with this particular example, but it’s also a one-off livery; other Mini JCW GPs that the tuner works on will wear different exterior colors and accents.

2020 Mini Cooper JCW F350 by Manhart Exterior
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Outside of the exclusive two-color look, Manhart is also offering a fresh new set of 19-inch Concave One alloy wheels finished in matte black with matching red accent lines. The wheels are wrapped in 235/30 ZR19 tires.

What kind of power and performance upgrades should we expect?

2020 Mini Cooper JCW F350 by Manhart Drivetrain
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The name of the program says it all.

Manhart Racing made some tweaks to the JCW GP’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine to raise the unit’s output to a tidy 350 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque.

The tuner managed to coax that figure thanks to a software upgrade that involved remapping the four-cylinder engine’s ECU unit while also adding an in-house intercooler. The tuner also equipped the JCW GP with a gasoline particle filter replacement pipe and a car-back exhaust system, the latter of which was provided by Remus.

The raised output equals an increase of 49 horsepower and 58 pound-feet of torque compared to the engine’s standard output of 301 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque.

More importantly, the new output is more than the 330-horsepower output of the 2021 Volkswagen Golf R and it also puts the JCW GP F350 on the same level as the 350-horsepower Ford Focus RS.

2020 Mini Cooper JCW F350 by Manhart Exterior
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That’d be a race we’d love to see. Manhart Racing didn’t divulge the JCW GP F350’s performance numbers, but it’s not unreasonable to think that with the software tune and all the supplementary upgrades and modifications in place, the F350 could be capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in around 4.7 seconds, right around the claimed acceleration times of both the Golf R and the Focus RS.

On the suspension side of things, the German tuner is installing a set of lowering springs that drops the ride height of the F350 by 20 millimeters at the front and 15 millimeters at the back.

Likewise, the German tuner is also offering three versions of fully adjustable coilovers for the JCW GP. These coilovers are provided by the Dutch suspension company AST Suspension.

What’s the cost of Manhart’s F350 program for the Mini John Cooper Works GP?

2020 Mini Cooper JCW F350 by Manhart Exterior
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Manhart Racing didn’t divulge pricing details with regards to its F350 program for the Mini John Cooper Works GP. Perhaps that’s due to the cost flexibility that comes with a program that has a personalized element to it, specifically pertaining to the exclusive paint finish that each unit of the F350 will eventually wear. We do know that the 2021 Mini JCW GP starts at $45,000 so if you’re looking for the entire Manhart F350 experience, you’re going to have to start with buying a John Cooper Works GP and then maybe adding another $20,000 to your cost to accommodate Manhart’s new tuning kit for the hot hatch.

Final Thoughts

2020 Mini Cooper JCW F350 by Manhart Exterior
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I like that Manhart Racing’s F350 tuning program for the Mini John Cooper Works GP focuses on all the right things. As extraordinary as the hot hatch already is, it belongs in a segment where rivals like the Volkswagen Golf R and Ford Focus RS put the Mini at a disadvantage. Well, Manhart addressed all of that with a program that not only brings the JCW GP up to the level of its rivals but, more importantly, also gives the Mini hot hatch a unique identity of its own. It’s a home run of a program.

  • Leave it
    • Cost could be steep
    • Not everyone can handle a Mini JCW GP
    • Availability is an issue
Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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