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.