What is it?
If you appetite a bright adumbration of how the car industry has acquired in the accomplished 50-odd years, attending no added than Mini. Specifically the car we accept here, the Mini Countryman JCW.
When the aboriginal Mini Cooper S launched in the 1960s it was the apotheosis of bunched performance, and the advertiser to the avant-garde hot hatch. It was pint-sized, active but had abundant achievement from 1.0-litre agent to abash bigger, added big-ticket cars.
Fast advanced to 2020 and Mini is now a exceptional brand, a analysis of German behemothic BMW and authoritative cars that, while baby by avant-garde standards, dwarf the original.
The Countryman is Mini’s access into the booming SUV market, allusive the brand of the BMW X1, Audi Q2 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. While it’s accessible in a ambit of models, we’re sampling the top-of-the-line JCW version.
Does it accept any antagonism pedigree?
JCW stands for John Cooper Works, which is the brand’s aerial achievement archetypal appellation and a accolade to Formula 1 fable John Cooper. For those unfamiliar, Cooper was the architect of the mid-engine F1 machines that took Sir Jack Brabham to his aboriginal two apple titles.
But Cooper was complex in added than aloof F1 and assertive Mini’s then-owners, British Motor Corporation, to let him actualize the aboriginal Mini Cooper S to use in rallies and added competitions. The rest, as they say, is history, with the Mini Cooper S activity on to adore success on both the appropriate date and the racetrack – including the 1966 Bathurst 500.
What’s beneath the bonnet?
While bigger than best hot hatches the Countryman JCW follows the aforementioned attempt as the blow – with a small, turbocharged agent for motivation. Specifically its a BMW-designed 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol assemblage that’s additionally begin in the BMW M135i.
It’s one of the abundant avant-garde hot bear engines, boasting affluence of bite with 225kW of ability and 450Nm of torque, while additionally activity aesthetic and adjustable beyond the rev range.
Mini pairs it with an eight-speed automated manual and all-wheel drive, with automated limited-slip cogwheel for best traction.
It’s a candied combination, alms accomplished achievement appropriate beyond the spectrum. There’s a bang in the aback aback you take-off, able affairs ability through the mid-range and it keeps affairs adamantine all the way to the redline.
It’s not absolutely as active as a hot hatch, because it’s a bunched SUV, but it will still administer to barrage from aught to 100km/h in 5.1 seconds, which is accelerated for a agent of this size.
How does it handle?
Under BMW’s ascendancy Mini has consistently accustomed its ‘go-kart-like handling’ and while the Countryman has elements of that character, if you appetite the best-handling Mini JCW again you charge to buy the aboriginal – the three-door hatch, it’s the aces of the agglomeration acknowledgment to its bunched size.
What the Countryman offers is article different, sportiness and space, aggregate the fun and action of a hot bear with the acumen of a baby SUV. Acutely it’s bigger and taller than an ideal achievement car should be, so you apprehension added angular aback cornering than you’d anytime acquisition in a go-kart. And it acutely feels added than a accepted JCW Hatch, let abandoned a go-kart.
It’s still aciculate though, with absolute and candid council accumulated with a anatomy that may be slower to acknowledge than some, but it’s predictable. And that makes it agreeable to drive.
Where would you best like to drive it?
JCW may accept its origins on the track, but the Countryman JCW would be added at home on a assemblage date – a arced abundance alley (sealed or not) that would acquiesce you to abstract the best from its firecracker agent and poised, all-wheel drive chassis.
What’s the autogenous like?
Modern Mini is as abundant about appearance as annihilation else. The aggregation has nailed the antithesis amid awakening and avant-garde architecture as able-bodied as accumulation the latest technology and trends.
The Countryman JCW has those archetypal Mini architecture elements, including the huge annular centre awning that harks aback to the aboriginal axial speedo but is now home to the infotainment functions.
Every aspect of the Mini berth feels able-bodied anticipation out from a architecture perspective, from the comfortable, leather-lined seats to the old-school switchgear.
The account of the Countryman over the blow of the Mini ambit is the added amplitude offered in the aback seats. There’s absolutely allowance for four adults in the Countryman, which makes it a acceptable car for alley trips with accompany or family; although the cossack is a almost baby 450-litres.
Is it acceptable amount for money?
Priced from $65,990 the Countryman JCW fills a alcove in the bazaar and offers acceptable amount for those who appetite luxury, achievement and appearance in a distinct package.
Ironically the abutting adversary is the carefully mechanically-related BMW X2 M235i, which starts at $69,900. The Mini looks alike added ambrosial aback you attending at the Mercedes-AMG GLA35, which offers 225kW/400Nm but starts at $82,935.
Audi has the added almighty RSQ3 but that boasts 294kW/480Nm from its five-cylinder turbo and starts at $89,900, which makes the Mini added ambrosial for those attractive to save their dollars.
Would I buy one?
I accept that bunched SUVs aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, decidedly those attractive for a achievement car. But the Countryman JCW does an absorbing job of accumulation the archetypal Mini appearance with avant-garde performance.
2020 Mini Countryman JCW amount and specifications