New Model News

2021 MINI John Cooper Works GP is full of MINImalism, delivers a go-kart drive experience

Today, MINI debuted the 2021 MINI John Cooper Works GP, a sporty model.

Photo courtesy of MINI

MINI has revealed its sportiest model to day. The limited edition MINI John Cooper Works GP is a highly dynamic model that combines the essence of classic MINI design with the hallmark behind-the-wheel experience of go kart racing. It follows in the tread of the limited-edition John Cooper Works GP that was sold in 2006 and 2013.

At the front of the model the focus is on its wide track, large front apron, flared wheel arches, and a giant rear wing that is visible even from the front. Its hexagonal grille design and hood scoop project sportiness as well. From the side, the car is modern MINI meets wing. It's hard to see anything but that.

2021 MINI John Cooper Works GP

2021 MINI John Cooper Works GP

Photo courtesy of MINI


The model is finished in a Racing Grey metallic paint job that changes depending on the light shining on it between light grey and blue-violet. Its mirror caps are Melting Silver colored and all the typical chrome elements have been given a blackout treatment.

While the aesthetics may be unique, the car is full of what the brand calls "MINImalism". It has carbon fiber elements throughout car that improves its power-to-weight ratio. The car's forged 18-inch wheels are the lightest MINI has ever made. By optimizing the axle load distribution, the car delivers a true go-kart drive experience.

The interior of the model has traditional MINI design elements but ups the the ante with colorful accents and a new free-standing digital instrument cluster on the steering column.

A number of components in the model are 3D printed including elements of the aluminum shift paddles on the steering wheel. The steering wheel clasp and the individual decorative trim strip in the passenger area are also 3D printed.

The MINI John Cooper Works GP is a coupe with no back seat, delivering a weight savings to improve drive dynamics.

The car gets its power from a twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 201 horsepower.

Just 3,000 of the models will be produced. It will go on sale in the U.S. later this year. Pricing has yet to be announced.

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The FITS system allows customers to create custom components for their truck.

Ford

Ford has taken a refreshing DIY approach with the new Maverick pickup truck. Owners have taken to building their own ski racks, and the truck's Flexbed system allows owners to buy or build several other cargo management solutions. Taking things a step further, Ford just released 3D printer plans for the truck's interior accessory system to allow customers to create their own accessories.

2022 Ford MaverickIn addition to the 3d printer plans, Ford offers accessories for sale.Ford

The system is called FITS, or Ford Integrated Tether System. It allows owners to 3D print their own accessories or choose from a handful of Ford-made products, such as cup holders, a phone cord organizer, bag hooks, a trash bag, and under-seat dividers. The FITS receivers are located on the back of the center console and under the rear seat in the new Maverick.

Though Ford released its own files, the tiny slot offers huge possibilities, as shown by the number of customer-created accessories. We're talking everything from handheld video game console mounts to grocery bag hooks and more. Anyone with a 3D printer and some time can design a FITS component and release the idea to other Maverick owners. There's even an accessory that uses screws to attach so non-FITS vehicles can use the system.

2022 Ford MaverickThe Maverick has FITS receivers on the back of the center console and under the back seat.Ford

The neat, technology-driven feature is currently only available to Maverick owners, but that could change in the future. In the meantime, however, Ford's newest pickup truck is so popular that demand has far outstripped supply to the point that the automaker stopped taking new orders for the 2022 model year.

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What was your best car-related experience this year?

Chris Teague

This year has been a lot of things, but it hasn't been boring. Even if we focus only on the car world, there's plenty to talk about, from microchip-related new vehicle shortages to the wave of new electric vehicles hitting the market. That leaves us with a question for all of you: What was the best or most memorable car moment for you in 2021? I'll get the conversation started.

Porsche Cayenne GTSMy SoCal Cayenne śaw snow for the first time in its nearly 200k-mile life last week.Chris Teague

I'd spent a good portion of 2021 wanting a new-old car to drive when I wasn't testing a new vehicle. That's harder than you'd think for someone who thinks, talks, and writes about cars all day, because there are so many interesting, risky, and downright funky options out there in every price range. The added headache for me was that I'd chosen to shop for a "fun" car in one of the most volatile car markets ever seen. Even the extremely high-mileage "untouchable" European cars I wanted to buy were commanding ridiculous prices.

After a solid few months of waffling between various rattletrap Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and Audi S/RS cars, I landed on an option that had escaped me before: The Porsche Cayenne. First-generation Cayennes are a real bargain now, but the 955/957 (Porsche's internal code for the SUVs) can experience major problems that occur with or without regular maintenance and care. I was determined to buy one, and wasn't overly concerned about mileage, as long as I could count the number of owners on one hand. There was a beautiful 2009 Cayenne GTS with 90,000 miles but nine owners, a gorgeous 2004 Cayenne Turbo with a concerning engine tick, and many more just like them. Finally, I decided to risky-click a 196,000-mile Cayenne GTS in Southern California. It had one owner and one dealer-owner for a month or two prior to sale, its condition looked decent in photos, and I was able to negotiate a reasonable enough price that shipping it from San Diego to Maine wasn't a huge problem.

Porsche Cayenne GTSThe pics look great, but hands-on tells another story.Chris Teague

I had two traveling Euro mechanics check the car out, and both confirmed that it was well-worn but mechanically sound, so I jumped. Ten days later, on a snowy, icy, dark Maine afternoon, the Cayenne arrived. Cosmetically, there were a few things the dealer and mechanics failed to mention, but overall, it looked good. The SUV passed Maine safety and emissions testing without problem, got a new set of Michelins, and I was on my way.

Porsche Cayenne GTSI'm in danger, but thankfully this should be a reasonable fix.Chris Teague

A few days of driving revealed what I was really in for. A check engine light revealed a camshaft position sensor error and the Cayenne displayed a nasty vibration at idle. A new sensor and motor mounts, and I'm on my way. I'll update you as more things break or miraculously work, but I want to hear your memories from 2021.

Email me at chris@automotivemap.com, and I will compile the best and most interesting stories for a story on New Year's Day. May you all have a wonderful 2022.

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