Californian tuner reveals $140k Tesla-powered Mini Cooper EV | Top Gear
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Saturday 23rd September

Californian tuner reveals $140k Tesla-powered Mini Cooper EV

Classic Brit gets an American heart with 300bhp and a hefty price tag

Published: 06 Sep 2023

It’s called the Gildred Racing Super Cooper, and it is the equivalent of fitting a micro machine with a moon rocket. Perhaps aptly, said ‘rocket’ comes courtesy of Tesla.

Which means it’s an electric rocket. The Californian tuner has a fondness for modifying the original Mini, but this is the first time one of its creations has been powered by electrons.

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Many electrons, as it turns out. The company pinches the dual-motor Tesla small drive unit from a Model S or Model X for its new electrified Mini, punching out 300bhp and 250lb ft of torque. There’s a “high-capacity” battery on board that GR claims is good for 150 miles of range.

Naturally each car is bespoke, with the powertrain calibrated to each client’s driving preferences, apparently taking in such parameters as acceleration and regenerative braking. A mode selector is mentioned. Lift-off oversteer is not.

This first car features a blue exterior, a houndstooth cream and light grey fabric interior and the classic instrument setup. Naturally you’ll be able to spec air conditioning, or a better stereo, or a navigation system guiding you to the dark side of the moon, or the nearest roundabout.

Such personalisation costs, of course, with each car starting at a frankly eye-watering $140,000. A lot of money for such a tiny footprint. GR mechanic and fabricator Nathan Hoagland unsurprisingly reckons it’s worth it, of course. “This is about the fastest, smoothest, best driving classic Mini that you can really hope for.

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“It looks and feels like a classic Mini, except with a whole lot more power, better drivability, and a much quieter experience for everyone inside the vehicle,” he added.

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