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New Hardcore Mini Could Decimate Honda Civic Type R

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The fastest, most hardcore Mini yet shows off at the Nordschleife.

There aren't a lot of front-drive hot hatches that can lap the Nürburgring in under eight minutes. The Renaultsport Megane Trophy-R can do it in 7:40. The Honda Civic Type R in 7:43.8. The Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S in 7:47.19. And the Seat Leon Cupra has done it in 7:58.4.

The last Mini John Cooper Works GP "only" managed a best time of 8:23. But the next one will shave almost have a minute off that time to be the first Mini (and likely the smallest four-wheeled vehicle) to crack the eight-minute barrier.

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With the process still ongoing, Mini has taken a break from development of its new pocket rocket to showcase the prototype at the Nordschleife this weekend during the 24-hour race there. And though still wrapped in camouflage, it's already looking the business.

Just scope out those extended wheel arches, the big alloys they're housing, and the revised aero kit – from the gaping front vents to the wing hanging off the roof's trailing edge. And it promises to pack the punch to back up its aggressive looks, with a turbo four engine slated to produce over 300 horsepower.

That's already a heck of a lot more than the current, 228-hp John Copper Works model, or the last JCW GP with its 211 hp. BMW's English retro brand will offer only 3,000 of them when production commences sometime next year, and you can expect each of them to sell for over $40k.

The JCW GP typically serves as the swan song for a generation of Mini hatches, and this one could very well send off the 2/3-door body-style for good, rumored as it is to be getting the axe (like so many Mini variants before it) as the 4/5-door model gains in popularity.