While we got a first look at the new generation Mini John Cooper Works Countryman a couple of months ago, the official reveal came Wednesday night. The sportiest version of Mini’s small SUV combines more aggressive styling with the most powerful engine Mini has offered so far.
The powertrain itself is fairly familiar as a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. But power has increased from 301 to 312 ponies. Curiously, the horsepower gain seems to have come at the cost of torque, which is down from 331 to 295 pound-feet of torque. Mini didn’t provide any dyno charts, so it’s unclear if perhaps there’s more torque available elsewhere in the powerband. Despite the extra power, the JCW Countryman’s 0-62 mph time is 5.4 seconds, half a second behind the outgoing model.
Like the past JCW models, the new Countryman also gets upgraded brakes and suspension, as well as an adaptive exhaust system. It’s now fitted with wider tires all the way around at 245 mm compared to the old model’s 225 mm. So there’s potential for this new version to be grippier and better-handling. Granted, we won’t know for sure until we’re behind the wheel, and hopefully we’ll get more details about the braking and chassis changes closer to the on-sale date.
Styling has been changed to match the increased performance. The JCW Countryman gets different front and rear bumpers with larger grilles and unique accents. Lighting patterns are tweaked, too, and 19- and 20-inch wheels are available in designs specific to the JCW. Of particular note are the indentations in the hood that suggest intake scoops above the grille. The interior is swathed in red and black accents everywhere, including the recycled polyester textile dashboard covering. And although Mini hasn’t gone into detail about features, the JCW is likely packed with goodies including an advanced highway driving assist that can even execute lane changes.
For once with a new model reveal, we actually do have pricing, and it’s not cheap. The Mini John Cooper Works Countryman will start at $47,895 including destination charge. Production begins this coming March with examples reaching dealers in May.