We first saw the MINI Coupé when it was released as a concept car back in 2009 and it was an instant hit with us. The car became a reality in 2011 and in truth the production version was pretty close to the original concept and we first saw this in Liverpool when it was launched in October 2011. However, the car we saw was a Cooper S in red and to be frank we were less than smitten. The car looked gauche and gawky, it lacked balance and in truth we went off the car big time.
For a while a Countryman looked likely and then they announced the JCW Countryman and we felt sure that this would be the next MINI for us. However, when we saw a JCW Countryman in the flesh the love wasn’t there. It ticked loads of boxes but it never tugged the heartstrings. It was a car we ought to have, not a car we wanted. Meanwhile, MINI revealed an aftermarket JCW spoiler for their Coupé. This was a larger fixed spoiler that replaced the active pop up standard spoiler and for us it gave the car balance. Gawky became cute, gauche became chic and all the heartstrings in Beastie Folly were pulled! We really liked this car.
This love hate thing had gone on now from late 2009 till late 2012 so our JCW Coupé purchase has not been an impulse buy by any means. Another big attraction for us was that we were able to create our perfect spec. for the Coupé. The silver white and red exterior carries on beautifully inside with the satellite grey seats, the red dash and door rings and the satellite grey door rests and dash trim – it was just what we wanted. Lots of techy goodies were added too – Karmon Hardon HiFi, Satellite Navigation, telephone and iPhone integration and so on.
It was instant love with this car. We went on to personalise it with our own number plate, SilverBeast name tags on the side indicators, red A-panels and from the start we had the fixed rear spoiler added. The GP2 rear diffuser was quickly added, as again this added an inch to the car’s length and gave it better visual balance. The Brake cooling intakes were changed to red, Daytime Running Lights were added and additional gauges fitted inside – all to reinforce the sporty intent. The car was becoming very focussed and we realised that we needed to consider exactly what this car was and what we wanted this car to be. Two and a half years into JCW Coupé ownership and with the love as great as ever we have determined where we want to take this car. First our thoughts turned to what we didn’t want and we quickly concluded that we do not want the fastest MINI money can buy, with mods to increase HP, top speed and 0-60 mph speeds, achieving this would compromise on-road functions. Necessarily this would be a superb track car but an uncomfortable on-road cruiser. Secondly we gave consideration to what exactly we did want. We concluded that our intent (building upon MINI’s own design mission) is to create a driver focussed car with form additions to facilitate its function – superb performance and handling. The fixed rear spoiler, the rear diffuser, The Daylight Running Lights and the auxiliary gauges, are form additions specifically to aid these functions. Red A-panels and front brake coolers are vanity projects in this context. Putting this another way, our JCW Coupé should be an alternative GP if you like, moderated to fully achieve GT (Grand Tourer) requisites by the initial specification of all home comforts, such as air conditioning, built in satellite navigation, Karmon Hardon HIFI combined with the initial form that gave us secure concealed luggage storage and total interior comfort. A car perfect to cross Europe in – hard and fast.
To achieve this a few more additions are needed. Next it is time to add the GP2 under-tray to streamline under the engine bay. This is the fibre composite MINI GP2 Engine Under-tray kit. This aerodynamic underfloor panelling gives much increased downforce with reduced air turbulence under the vehicle giving better stability at higher speeds. Really the rear diffuser is ornamental without this at the front completing the under-streaming – combined the two give a huge increase in vehicle aerodynamics, downforce and stability. Under-bonnet cooling is also aided with channelled air through pre moulded air vents. Once fitted, this also provides some underbody protection. Metallic heat shielding around the downpipe area also gives protection from high temperatures. There is a potential resultant fuel saving too, but I won’t hold my breath. After this it will be the new full white front spots that you get on the new F56 MINIs. It already has the turny bendy xenon lights but these will hint at a rally intent, or more realistically a pan European touring capability where crossing mountain passes through the night can be done in daylight! We think these last few additions will see SilverBeast truly become a GP-esque GT, demonstrating a form that totally screams the car’s functional intent!
Job done then, but that does not mean he does not need a MINI GP 1 as his playmate!