MINIs under the BMW aegis just keep getting sportier. And the newest line of high-performance, classic Brit compacts is the John Cooper Works series, a higher-performance series of all of the company’s current models.
The John Cooper Works Countryman is the company’s newest entry in the series. With a top speed of 145MPH, the 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine—borrowed from the JCW Clubman, and sporting the VALVETRONIC valve control system—produces 231 horses that will take the Works Countryman from standstill to sixty in 6.5 seconds. BMW details confirm it as the most powerful engine ever fitted to a production MINI. The JCW countryman also features Brembo brakes, a six-speed manual standard transmission upgradable to an 8-speed Steptronic with launch control, ALL4 all-wheel drive, and a higher performance, adjustable suspension—which the company calls Dynamic Damper Control.
The Dynamic Damper Control system—developed by BMW—automatically compensates for changing road conditions to offer drivers greater control and a smoother ride. The system electronically and individually monitors each wheel 400 times per second, and adjusts the shock absorbers accordingly.
The JCW Countryman’s lines emphasize aerodynamics and air intake; larger air inlets in the front of the vehicle allow greater cooling, and a longer and wider wheelbase increase stability. Preset driving modes, Comfort Access and LED headlamps are part of the design, and are offered as standard; if ‘Comfort Access’ sounds a little like marketing division execs earning their paychecks with a dash of linguistic dazzle, well, that’s no surprise: it’s really just a keyless entry and ignition system—a nice convenience, though.
The cabin also gets a sportier flair, with JCW sports seats (five of ‘em), sports steering wheel with multifunction controls, and anthracite roof liner. The expandable luggage compartment triples available storage space.
The JCW Countryman will be available in the U.S. in the spring of this year. Pricing TBD.