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New MINI Countryman JCW aims to deliver performance and practicality

The new MINI Countryman JCW gets 296bhp and four-wheel drive

A new MINI Countryman has arrived, and to give it some sporty appeal a John Cooper Works (JCW) variant has just gone on sale. It features uprated performance and plenty of cosmetic tweaks inside and out. 

Since MINI revived the Countryman name back in 2010, the hottest variant of the car has been the JCW and the nameplate has returned for the latest third-generation model. The new MINI sits on the same UKL2 platform as the current BMW X1, but the formula remains the same as the previous car: a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine sends power to an ‘ALL4’ four-wheel drive system. 

Sport suspension has also been fitted to the JCW as standard which lowers the ride height by 16mm, along with a “high performance braking system”. 

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This latest model, which for the first time features the new JCW badge, has 296bhp and 400Nm of torque, which is 5bhp and 50Nm less than the old car. As a result, it’s a fraction slower to 62mph, taking 5.4 seconds instead of 5.1 – although that does mean it’s 0.2 seconds quicker to 62mph than the new all-electric Countryman SE. Top speed stands at 155mph. 

The JCW’s gearbox has also been changed from an eight-speed automatic to a seven-speed auto. With fuel economy standing at 36.2mpg, it’s also slightly thistier than the old model, although it gets a larger 54-litre fuel tank than the standard Countryman. 

There’s plenty on the outside to mark the JCW out as the hottest version. It’s only available in ‘Sport Trim’, with bespoke bumpers front and rear, a new grille design finished in gloss black, a contrasting roof and bonnet stripes. It comes as standard with 19-inch wheels, and 20-inch rims come in as a £600 option - both wrapped in wider tyres than you’d find on the old car. There’s a quad-tip exhaust system too, finished in gloss black.

The interior also gives a few nods to the extra performance on offer. The sport seats are upholstered in black, with red stitching and JCW emblems front and rear. The steering wheel is unique to the JCW as well, with silver accents and further red stitching. 

The Countryman JCW kicks off from £42,120 and gets a 9.4-inch central touchscreen, an uprated sound system, two-zone climate control, sliding rear seats and heated front seats, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, plus a new set of driving modes including a sporty ‘GO-KART’ setting.

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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