This pocket rocket gets more oomph, the Manhart way

When you think about Manhart Performance, the first thing that pops up in your head is either a tweaked Audi, BMW, Mercedes, or Porsche. However, the company also does its magic on Lambos, Bentleys, and, well, Minis. Their latest work takes the already nippy Mini John Cooper Works GP to new heights in style.

What’s the deal with the JCW GP3 by Manhart?

Mini JCW GP3 F350 by Manhart
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For starters, Manhart worked with Dutch outfit MINIspeed.eu in developing this car. In case the name doesn’t ring any bells, know they can provide pretty much every aftermarket component you desire for you Mini, from anti-roll bars to roll cages and forged connecting rods.

Now, let’s get the lay of the land first.

The JCW GP, in bog-standard form, is the most hardcore Mini built to this day.

The stock 2.0-liter turbo-four mill cranks out 301 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque, which is 73 horsepower and 95 pound-feet more than the ‘regular’ Mini John Cooper Works.

Mini JCW GP3 F350 by Manhart
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Of course, normality isn’t a word known to Manhart. So through remapping the ECU coupled with the addition of an Airtec intercooler and a Remus cat-back exhaust setup, Manhart managed to extract 345 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque out of the turbo’ed four pot. That’s an increase of 44 horsepower and 58 pound-feet over the stock JCW GP.

Are there any visual changes?

Yes, there are:

  • fender flares
  • a large rear wing
  • gold stripes and accents
  • Manhart lettering
  • matte black Manhart Concave One wheels

Besides these, the JCW GP3 sits closer to the ground thanks to a set of lowering springs from AST Suspension, which are said to send it 20 mm closer to the ground in the front and 15 mm in the rear.

Mini JCW GP3 F350 by Manhart
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If that’s not enough to convince you, just be patient for a while because Manhart says in a couple of months you’ll be able to request other aftermarket bits and bobs, including a digital multi-function gauge, a carbon intake, downpipes, as well as another exhaust setup. We guess good things come to those who wait.

Mini JCW GP3 F350 by Manhart
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Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
About the author

Almost 20 years have passed since MINI were successfully revived as a BMW brand. The small car is particularly popular in the high-performance model variants, in which the much-cited go-kart feeling is particularly pronounced. The crowning glory is the limited John Cooper Works GP, which was recently launched in its third edition. Of course, the top version soon created interest at MANHART Performance and its Dutch partner MINIspeed.eu, powered by Beek Auto Racing. The result is the MANHART GP3 F350 – which, like the basic model, is produced in a strictly limited edition

As usual, the number in the new name stands for the performance value. Instead of the already generous performance of 306 HP and 450 Nm sent to the front wheels of the small car, the turbocharged B48 two-liter four-cylinder of the JCW GP now generates an impressive 350 HP, while the maximum torque increases to 530 Nm. This increase has been achieved through ECU remapping by the Dutch MINI specialists at Beek Auto Racing in The Hague and the installation of a MANHART intercooler from Airtec. The offer also includes a replacement pipe for the gasoline particulate filter and a MANHART cat-back exhaust system, manufactured by Remus. Thanks to a four-stage flap control, the latter allows an even more robust motorsport sound than the standard system.

In addition, the optimized MINI also receives adjustments in terms of its looks that further refine the extremely sporty appearance even in the standard condition, thanks in part to the fender flares and a large rear wing: the team from JDCustoms from the Netherlands provided the full black matt film, the heritage decorative stripes and accents in gold. The trunk strut with black MANHART lettering and the decorative stripes on the horns of the matt black MANHART Concave One rims have the same color. They are screwed to the MINI in 8.5×19 inches and covered with non-slip tires in 235/30 ZR19. Since the JCW GP has a convincing chassis ex works, MANHART limited itself in this regard to the installation of lowering springs manufactured by AST Suspension, which lowers the body by 20 millimeters at the front and 15 millimeters at the rear. In development is a full range with coil-over suspension systems from the Dutch specialists at AST Suspension.

When developing the components for the JCW GP, MANHART worked closely with the Beek Auto Racing team, who also operate one of Europe’s biggest MINI-themed webstores: MINIspeed.eu. In cooperation with this highly successful platform, MANHART will upon request offer various other tuning parts for the John Cooper Works GP, such as the additional digital multi-function gauge from P3Cars or exterior and interior attachments from Cravenspeed.

The F350 is not yet the end of the line for MANHART tuning for the JCW GP. At the moment there are already several other engine stage upgrades in the final phase of development: A carbon intake, as well as downpipes and another exhaust system setups are coming soon, which will make the MINI appear even more powerful. MANHART will soon release another limited edition of the same JCW GP, which will be characterized by another unique color scheme while also being modified in collaboration with its partners in through MANHART style.

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