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The MINI Countryman has received a significant bump in power in its refreshed John Cooper Works form.

24 Feb 2020


If it is about seeing and being seen in a MINI, perhaps the Countryman is your best bet.

Reason? Well, it is huge. It is the biggest MINI available today, in fact. And for 2020, this Countryman John Cooper Works (JCW) gets a major update in the power department.

Which, to feed our appetite for all things fast, does enough to justify its existence. And in this Countryman form, feeds the needs of the world.

Big and angry looks

We love the strong and angry snout of the MINI Countryman that's accentuated with JCW trim bits
Back in 2010, MINI launched the first generation Countryman and it was, and still is, a big shocker. Upsized in almost every possible way, the cute and chic MINI looks never quite matched up to the car's sizeable footprint.

This second generation Countryman is far from its pudgy predecessor. It takes a step away from its siblings, with angrier looking headlamps and a sharper snout that encompasses its grille.

The JCW treatment gives the Countryman bigger air intakes, bigger wheels, along with red accented highlights and JCW badging at every corner. There's quite a bit of strength showcased in its sheet metal, indeed.

Still a MINI inside

The Countryman JCW's fun and quirkier side is clearly evident, with the chequered flag motif past 200km/h on the speedo
Step inside and the Countryman feels every bit like how a MINI should. While stylish, it still manages to keep a lot of creature comforts within easy reach. Buttons and switches feel expensive, and the new BMW-esque gear selector certainly adds to that feel.

Again, there's a barrage of JCW reminders here. But there are two we especially like. The comfortable JCW Alcantara sports seats that offer plenty of butt-grip, and the chequered flag motif on the speedometer past 200km/h.

But the biggest take home from the JCW Countryman is the space. Lanky adults will have little to complain, for the rear bench can slide and recline, offering a more comfortable seating position for passengers at the back.

Adding on to that is a reasonably sized 450-litre boot space. Its wide opening offers much easier access, allowing larger sized items to fit without any fuss.

Big power!

The understated plastic engine cover might not seem like much, but the JCW makes 302bhp and 450Nm
Just as fuss-free is the main update for the JCW, which is more power.

It is no small power bump, mind you. The reworked 2.0-litre powerplant now pushes out a massive 302bhp and 450Nm of torque.

That's a good 74bhp and 100Nm more than the previous JCW Countryman, which wasn't a slow car by any fair margin.

Power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission. Push it hard and the car you see on this page will do the century sprint in 5.1 seconds.

To put those numbers into perspective, the Countryman JCW is faster than the three-door MINI John Cooper Works by a full second. And if the figures sound familiar, that's because it shares the same powertrain componentry of the hottest compact BMWs, like the M135i, the X2 M35i and the recently tested M235i Gran Coupe.

It won't beat three-door MINIs in handling prowess, but the Countryman JCW holds its own fairly well
Flick the drive mode to Sport, put your foot down, and there is no denying how quick the Countryman is.

Shifts get more aggressive, accompanied with a throaty and sonorous soundtrack as you build the revs.

There aren't significant pops and bangs out of the exhaust, but the car still offers a lot of that JCW performance and character we've come to know and love. This makes it easier to forget that you're in a near 1.7-tonne crossover.

That said, chuck the JCW through a series of bends and there's no defying the laws of physics.

Still, it is not too shabby a handler for a crossover. Thanks to the well-weighted steering wheel that offers good feedback and ample grip from all four rubbers, the car is far from uncontrollable, even when the traction nannies kick in to remind you you're at the limits of adhesion.

The three drive modes offer a small degree of customisation, offering harder damping settings and a more responsive throttle
So if you're scaring your passengers too much, flick the drive mode to Green. The dampers will then soften up, and the exhaust valve closes. It becomes your civilised Countryman, coasting quietly with no drama.

So I should get one?

It is a big MINI, with big space, and big power. What's not to like? Well, at $218,888 (as of 18 January 2020), it is the most expensive MINI you can buy today.

But if you're in the market for a fast crossover, nothing comes close for its price. The X2 M35i will set you back $46,000 more and while the Mercedes GLA 45 is a whole lot faster, it also costs a whole lot more, at $289,888.

You're getting a lot of power for your buck, and when it comes to looking good with a healthy dose of practicality, there's nothing quite like the Countryman JCW.

Need a better look of the Countryman? Or perhaps you need a better sense of just what 302bhp feels like? What our video review below as well!



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Car Information

This model is no longer being sold by local distributors
MINI John Cooper Works Countryman 2.0 (A)
Rate it

Price

: -

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve TwinPower Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1998cc

Horsepower

:

225kW (302 bhp) / 6200 rpm

Torque

:

450 Nm / 4500 rpm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A) Steptronic Sport

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

5.1sec

Top Speed

:

250km/h

Fuel consumption

:

12.7 km/L

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