The 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP is billed as the fastest production vehicle the British automaker has ever made. And while it's certainly swift, the GP stands out for two other equally important traits: minimalism and exclusivity.

 As its name suggests, the 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP is a more extreme variant of the range-topping JCW version of the Mini Hardtop. The John Cooper Works GP's engine has been tuned to make slightly more horsepower - 211 vs. 208 in the regular JCW model - all driving the front wheels. With a stated 0-60 mph time of 5.9 seconds, the 2013 JCW GP is three-tenths of a second quicker than the regular JCW, and is the first production Mini to zip to that speed in under 6 seconds. Top speed is 150 mph, which is 2 mph faster than the JCW.

Just as important as its sheer velocities are the JCW GP's other performance-enhancing bits such as 6-piston brakes and owner-adjustable coilover sport suspension, a first for a production Mini. A crisp-shifting 6-speed manual is the sole transmission offered.

One thing the GP doesn't have is a rear seat. Ditching it helps the GP shed a total of 67 pounds compared with the regular JCW, and further emphasizes the JCW GP's stripped-down, no-holds nature. In place of the rear seats is an expanded cargo bay and a crossbrace, which Mini says is more for securing cargo than adding structural rigidity.

We had a chance to take this hot hatch for a quick spin in the hills high above Puerto Rico and were impressed overall with the GP's performance. While its off-the-line performance is similar to that of the lower-priced and higher-powered MazdaSpeed3, unlike Mazda's deviant the 2013 JCW GP doesn't have torque steer that demands a gorilla grip on the steering wheel during hard acceleration. Most impressive is the GP's rock-solid stability in corners and its tenacious braking power.

The extra performance doesn't come cheap. When Mini's hottest hatch goes on sale in March, it will arrive with a maxi price tag of $39,950. That's about $9,000 more than the regular Hardtop JCW, and nearly $16,000 above the already-impressive Cooper S.

Is the 2013 Mini JCW GP worth the price? That's where the exclusivity factor comes into play. Like the last GP - made back in 2006 - this one is truly limited. Just 2,000 will be offered worldwide, with only 500 of the numbered models allotted to the United States. Of those 500, about half have already been claimed, Mini says. And the automaker isn't planning on building another GP for several more years to come. Nearly $40,000 is a big ask for a Mini, but those devoted to the brand are already lining up to get the Maximus of Minis while they can.


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