Mini's Biggest Gets the John Cooper Works Treatment, Becomes Brand's Most Powerful Ride

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Mini’s largest model is about to get the most powerful engine currently available to the brand from its parent company, BMW. The company will offer up its 2018 Countryman as the latest John Cooper Works model, adorned with polarizing paint jobs and a powerful 2.0-liter turbo.

While the idea of a performance crossover might seem like an oxymoron, as well as being a bit impractical — especially considering Mini already makes a quicker and more nimble JCW Cooper with the same engine — there’s a precedent of the concept working.

Second-generation Countrymans undergoing the John Cooper Works treatment receive a transversely mounted direct-injection turbo four-cylinder making 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Mini claims the motor will send the JCW Countryman screaming to sixty in 6.2 seconds. Peak torque comes on at 1,450 rpm.

That acceleration number trumps the Cooper S Countryman by almost a full second, but the lightweight two-door Mini Cooper JCW will remain the brand’s best performer. Despite being a little down on torque, the substantially smaller hardtop makes the same horsepower and boats slightly better acceleration.

The John Cooper Works Countryman brings All4 all-wheel drive, a sport suspension, Brembo brakes and 18-inch alloy wheels. Other standard equipment includes keyless entry, panoramic moonroof, backup camera, and rear-facing parking sensors.

A driving mode selector is also standard, allowing drivers to customize engine note, throttle response, steering weight, and transmission behavior. If you option in dynamic damper control, the selector also lets you adjust suspension stiffness on a whim.

Stylistic touches include borderline gaudy JCW-branded sport seats, a JCW-branded gear selector, and a JCW-branded sports steering wheel on the inside. Outside accents will be optional contrasting paint schemes and John Cooper Works themed badging.

Mini unveiled a redesigned Countryman in October, hoping its larger size and crossover characteristics would help solve the brand’s sales slump in the United States. Sales volume peaked in 2013 with 66,502 units and has suffered a gradual decline ever since. Last year, Mini sold 52,030 cars.

The new 2018 Mini John Cooper Works Countryman will go on sale in April.

[Images: BMW Group]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Quentin Quentin on Jan 19, 2017

    It will be interesting to see where they go with the plug in version. Good job on adding all the standard features that we had to get optional on my wife's Clubman S All4. The JCW Clubman is the same way. I think it would have been less than a $2k increase to get the JCW Clubman from what our S listed MSRP.

  • 05lgt 05lgt on Jan 21, 2017

    no hints at cost from the press release?

  • Alan Like all testing and analysis work you need a good set of requirements. If you don't you'll find or end up with gaps.
  • Alan In aviation there is more vigourous testing, well, until Boeing changed things.
  • Alan This outcome was certain.The US, Australia and Canada need to approach this differently. A policy towards plug in hybrids should of been a first step. As in CAFE gradually tighten FE from there.There's no reason why you can't have a 2 litre F-150 with electric motors putting out 400-500hp. A 2 litre turbo is good for 200hp more than enough to move a pickup.Also increase fuel tax/excise every year to fill the void in loss of revenue.
  • Doug brockman hardly. Their goals remain to punish us by mandating unsafe unreliable unaffordable battery powered cars
  • Lorenzo It looks like the curves are out and the boxy look is back. There's an upright windscreen, a decided lack of view obstructing swoop in the rear side panels, and you can even see out of the back window. Is Lexus borrowing from the G-Class Mercedes, or the Range Rover?
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