Dream Drives – Spring 2020 Mini Cooper SE (electric) / Mini John Cooper Works GP

WORDS: Dean McMurtrie PHOTOGRAPHY Brian Usher

I had the pleasure of experiencing some British brilliance when given the opportunity to test both the new electric Mini and the MOST POWERFUL MINI EVER BUILT, the limited edition John Cooper Works GP build no 76.


Jasper and the team at Gold Coast Mini were most helpful and couldn’t get me in the car quick enough.  The excitement from the team when explaining the vehicles was enough to make me want to get on the road even quicker.

In 1959 the Mini was born, and can I tell you 60+ years later I have just driven the first Mini that doesn’t require you to pull into the petrol station.   That’s right NO FUEL – Electric is now the future…

It’s that simple – I think of it like my mobile phone really; use it during the day and plug it in at night ready to start the following day fully charged.

It really is the way of the future, and Mini has done a fantastic job with the new Cooper SE.  Firstly, if you haven’t driven an electric car before, you do have to get used to the fact you can’t hear the motor running. That sounds silly, but it does take some getting used to!

This tiny British EV is a quick, compact coupe with plenty of attitude for the streets of the Gold Coast.  The interior of the Mini has always been a talking point with no exceptions in these new models.  Huge central touch screen measuring 8.8 inches, adding your choice of colour around the controls makes for a real personal touch.

The Mini is designed to be a city car, allowing you approximately 200 km of travel before charging through your standard household power socket.

This will charge overnight giving you a fresh charge the following day. You may opt for an 11kw wall box to be installed into your home, allowing for 2.5-hour charging if required.  The Battery also has an 8-year warranty giving you peace of mind.

What’s impressive is that the new look more modern design has gone fully digital.  That’s right, this is the first model to apply a fully digital instrument cluster which displays available range, outside temp, traffic detection, and of course digital speedo all crystal clear on a 5.5-inch display.

You can also switch to sport mode, which sharpens the throttle take up and adds steering response.

The Electric motor delivers 135kw or 270Nm of torque, which is very impressive and has plenty of power.

The Mini Cooper SE is still roomy and accommodates four people comfortably.  It has the looks of a sporty coupe, handles like every Mini does and has state of the art technology onboard without a single drop of petrol.

Pretty impressive!

The Mini electric is a fun car to drive.  It adheres to the brand ethos of delivering a memorable experience from the way it performs to the way it looks and feels.

On returning the Cooper SE to the Gold Coast Mini dealership, I was given the John Cooper Works GP and asked to compare the cars.

Well, let me first start by saying this isn’t fair at all.

The Mini Cooper SE is a fantastic car. However, I just stepped inside the Supercar of Mini.  Yes, it’s the most powerful Mini ever built, so I took to the streets to find out what all the fuss was about.  The GP build number 76 is one of 3000 cars worldwide.

I felt rather privileged to experience what Mini can achieve as their high-performance sports car.

Pushing boundaries is in the DNA of John Cooper Works – and boy did it show from the moment I sat in the car.  Huge bucket racing seats and wrapping body kit; the only thing missing for me was a helmet as this car was ready for the racetrack.

The team of designers and engineers have taken things to the ultimate extreme and created a track focussed street racer.  301 horsepower from the 2.0-litre turbo engine is intense, and you can certainly feel it.

Suspension upgrades, fuel injector upgrades, an exhaust with straight-through pipes is the reason this GP gets the attention when it hits the streets.

Being one of 3000 in the world you certainly won’t find 2 of these at the same shopping centre. So individual style is essential for this car.

The original handbrake is added back to the car, and bright lights around the centre console have been deleted along with no reverse camera.

No back seats so not ideal for the school pick up but more for the Sunday drive to put a smile on your face as you wind the mountains or take to the racetrack…

The GP is the winner for me!

* For your chance to experience the Mini Cooper SE see Jasper and the team at Gold Coast Mini, 285 Nerang Road Southport, 07 55477990