2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4

Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo 1.6L I4
Power:
215 HP / 207 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Manual
0-60 Time:
7.0 Sec (62 mph)
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,260 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
12.4 / 41.3 CU-FT
A John Cooper Works On All Fours With Love Handles



How long will it take for a Mini-branded vehicle to cross the two-ton threshold? We already have the four-door Countryman and it's a small crossover, so how far off is a tall and longer Mini with third-row seating? Say what you like about the Countryman, though; the best expression for how it's selling in the United States and just about everywhere else is "like hotcakes." It's the same love-hate situation with Porsche and its wildly successful Cayenne revisited, albeit at a cuter and more affordable dimension.

Honestly, though, as much as we dive with enthusiasm into any John Cooper Works model, we have to admit that Mini is really stretching the definition of its JCW brand with this – at minimum – 3,260-pound Countryman John Cooper Works. With the optional six-speed automatic, it weighs in at 3,315 pounds. To help set off the high-riding heft, Mini/BMW has fitted its new 1.6-liter N18 transverse turbo four-cylinder, good for 215 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. The non-adaptive standard sport suspension is also more rigid and brings the JCW four tenths of an inch closer to Earth than more ordinary Countrymans (Countrymen?). Our test car carried the standard 18-inch wheelset dressed in Pirelli P Zero treads – 225/45 R18 91V front and rear – though a 19-inch setup is available as an option. (Hint: The 18-inchers do the job nicely).

It's pretty clear that Mini knows it's stretching the Works shrinkwrap just to see how far it can market its aura before buyers reject it. So far, however, the Mini stratagem is going undeniably well. Yet however much we played on the roads in and around Germany's Taunus region north of Frankfurt, we wanted more of a sense that this largest of all JCWs is getting trickle-down benefits from the 2,650-pound Countryman-based Prodrive World Rally Championship car. No, we don't really expect the entire rear seating setup to be ripped out, the front seats to go carbon fiber shell and down to the very floor, or for a production Countryman JCW to come with a navigating co-pilot barking orders at us in Europese. But for us, the final product does not feel quite 'Works' enough to wear the label. This Countryman JCW is a terrific sporty compact CUV that gets to 60 mph in just under seven seconds, but throttle oomph and the side-to-side movements of the chassis go much further away from "crisp" than we want in a Works-branded car.
2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 side view2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 front view2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 rear view

Yes, we're very exacting when talking about this level of car – as we are with Audi and its RS models, Chrysler's SRT brand, and others. Taking a piece of glorious sporting heritage and applying it to the softer, fatter and dolled-up mainstream is a dicey science. We're still willing to give Mini a pass from this point of view, but they're pushing it with a Countryman JCW. But, hell, this thing largely behaves as well as any Mini and will mostly be piloted through sensible suburbs already filled with other image rides when deliveries to North American customers start in November.

We enjoy the presentation and look, for one thing. Nine different body colors are available, but we like this black treatment with optional Chili Red aesthetics package inside and out. Riding lower and with slightly augmented aero bits, the Countryman JCW does work hard to look the part. The temptation to touch up and detail Mini's inherent adorableness has got to be irresistible in the company's design department, and at times, we feel the designers have gone a bit too kitsch for their own good. But, again, we still give Mini a pass this time around and just hope they can keep riding that aesthetic bleeding edge.

2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 interior2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 front seats2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 rear seats2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 rear cargo area

The JCW treatment on the Countryman's passenger accommodations and cargo is excellent, and Mini continues also riding the fine line between good and not-so-good plastics with uncanny talent. The well-done flexibility of the cargo space can range from 12.4 cubic feet on up to 41.3 cubic feet, and the added stowage beneath the rear floor is undeniably handy.

But, this is a John Cooper Works and is made to be driven in a sporting fashion, no? To that end, the Sport switch at the base of the center stack increases the steering weight, throttle response and exhaust sound. If you do opt for the six-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted paddles, the shift timings will also be dealt with. Manifested best in Sport mode, too, is the additional 14 lb-ft of torque overboost available for short bursts, a particularly useful tool for overtaking on two-lane highways.

2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 engine

Color us sacrilegious, but at least on the Countryman's tubbier format, we can't help but wonder if the $1,250 six-speed automatic with its paddles and sport shift mapping might not be the better choice than the three-pedal setup. The manual six, even with sport throttle engaged, has the N18 working like a bear to get this show on the road when conditions allow sportier curve hunting. We'll need to wait to see, though, since no auto-equipped Countryman John Cooper Works All4s were on hand for us to try at the launch event.

The electrically assisted steering is pretty good here, and when Sport mode is on call, feel at the wheel improves several-fold. This and the default sport suspension setup are terrific together, the damper/spring combo working wonders all day long. Speaking with Mini's dynamics people, however, we learned that the anti-roll bars fore and aft were simply those from the stock Countryman. Hmmm.

Autoblog Short Cuts: 2013 Mini Countryman JCW

Through the many desirable curves on our day's drive, it was the tough to corral side-to-side sway that convinced us most that Mini needs to invest a tad more in getting this Countryman up to JCW snuff. The steering feel, the ride and the reaction time of the solid All4 all-wheel drive all aim to please, but the physics of the added weight and momentum have not been sufficiently accounted for.

2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 driving
2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 headlight2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 wheel2013 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4 badge

Along the lines of the still-high hip point (despite the 0.4-in. lowering), the standard front sport seats need another inch or so of downward adjustability. At present, it feels like the driver sits too high, a reality that also can't be helping matters dynamically. We'd be sorely tempted to add the $2,750 Recaro sport seats and the JCW strut brace and JCW-specific sport suspension, but in doing so, things get horribly expensive quickly. If pricing for the Countryman JCW All4 follows the German market's 24-percent premium over the stock Countryman Cooper S All4, in the States, this means the JCW could start at a bit over $34,000. With options as we think we'd like it done, our Countryman JCW would hit closer to ... *deep breath* ... $45,000.

Reconciling all of our criticism with the reality that most JCW models will be purchased as image cars and not as performance cars, and having the hottest chassis treatment or lowest h-point possible will take back seats to selling creature comforts and sheer style for two or three people aboard. This is certainly what Mini intends and so it should keep right on selling like hotcakes in this guise. Doesn't mean we always need to love it, though.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 43 Comments
      untitledfolder
      • 2 Years Ago
      I love my R56, and in it's lightweight package the 1.6 T is great... but in this, what is MINI thinking? I can't believe someone would buy this. They need to throw the 2.0 in there to make it a true JCW...
      zoom_zoom_zoom
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ugly, tacky, and overpriced.
        Jon Acton
        • 2 Years Ago
        @zoom_zoom_zoom
        Does it really need all of those stripes? It takes clown car to the next level IMO. I like the Countryman just fine but this is just plain stupidity. I have to agree for this thing to wear the JCW badge it needs to be more like the WRC car. This is a bastardization of a great name as are most of the new Mini JCW cars.
      domingorobusto
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bloody hell that's too expensive. JCW stuff is great, but always insanely overpriced. I mean really, THIRTY FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS TO START? That's STI money, and I damn sure know which one I'm going to pick in that matchup. I cannot fathom how anyone looks at a matchup like that and comes down on the side of the Countryman. It doesn't even have the regular Mini's cute factor going for it. If this was a $27-$30k car, OK, I'd see the appeal. But in that range it's going toe to toe with SERIOUS competiton, and it it COMPLETELY overmatched. I mean for the cost of the JCW at top spec you could go buy a Golf R (a seriously overpriced car itself), a seemingly much better car in every way, and still have money left over. It's a neat little thing, but holy hell that's too much money.
        Kyle K
        • 2 Years Ago
        @domingorobusto
        No need to have a top spec JCW, the base JCW and Golf R both start at 34K. I'd take the R.
          Dayv
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Kyle K
          I bought a Golf R, even if the price is a bit dear, and I think the JCW Countryman ventures into "a fool and his money" territory.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @domingorobusto
        [blocked]
      protovici
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow not a mini price at all!
        MacProMan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @protovici
        avg car is almost $30k, and MINIs are not avg
          MacProMan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @MacProMan
          desinerd, thats ridiculous and an insult but I am sure you don't drive a newer vehicle or anything like the products people are discussing in this thread, or do you? salvage title? haha
      Cheetahjab
      • 2 Years Ago
      Min tries it's best to duplicate cool factor of A-Team Van... Fails.
        Dayv
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Cheetahjab
        They should go all the way and do an ad with the original cast.
      BRKF06
      • 2 Years Ago
      Engine is too small. Put the BMW N20 in it and tune that to 280 HP. Now it's a JCW car. That 1.6 turbo struggled on my Cooper S hatchbackl. On a monster like the Countryman, it's just too darn small to move the vehicle with authority. If BMW wants a JCW Countryman...then do it up crazy!
      jtav2002
      • 2 Years Ago
      Needs a longer name.
      Frisky_Dingo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Can someone please explain to me why this vehicle even exists?? Let alone why it's 45 freaking grand and looks gaudy as hell....
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Frisky_Dingo
        [blocked]
        Dayv
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Frisky_Dingo
        It's only 45 grand if you go crazy on the options, but it is pretty outrageous that it can get there at all.
      Justin Campanale
      • 2 Years Ago
      JCW models, particularly this one, are overpriced and underperforming. They do look good, but they are simply not worth the price. Signed, a Countryman All4 owner.
        domingorobusto
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        I wouldn't call JCWs underperforming. Go to any autocross event, and I guarantee you a well driven JCW Cooper will be one of the fastest times of the day. They are VERY fast on tight courses, and have an almost ridiculous dominance in the classes they compete in. It's just that they are WAY overpriced for that capability. It's an extremely good set of equipment, and if it was a $4000 package like it should be, the JCW would be the best thing ever. It's just that at the insane prices they want for it, it's not good value for investment.
        MacProMan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        sad... I hope MINI is listening... I really want them to polish their game here and maybe things will dramatically improve starting with the F56 Hardtop
      Ducman69
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sure its overly expensive and gaudy, but no other small SUV is quite as absorbent as the Maxi.
      FuelToTheFire
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hmmmmm......for $34 k, I can buy this 200 hp girl's car with a tacky interior and a lackluster, Haldex based FWD-until wheelslip AWD. Or, I could get a Subaru Impreza WRX STi with a real, world-class AWD system, front and rear LSDs, 300 hp out of a 2.5 boxer 4, and a record Nurburgring time for sedans (7:55) I wonder.....which one is the better product and the best deal.
        MacProMan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        have fun pumping gas constantly in the Subie, not everyone wants as high a performance model as the WRX STi, and MINI is clearly not aiming at that but can agree at your price argument... MINI, pay attention and take action!
      AnalogJesse
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hilariously ugly. Hilariously overpriced. Keep it up, Mini.
        MacProMan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @AnalogJesse
        so mr. negative, what is the better buy?
          pavsterrocks
          • 2 Years Ago
          @MacProMan
          Sorry dominigo but an Impreza and a MINI are in very different leagues in terms of comfort and interior materials quality. It comes down to what's important to you, and I personally could not ignore the cheap interior of the Impreza/WRX/STi, no matter how the economics work out
          domingorobusto
          • 2 Years Ago
          @MacProMan
          WRX Premium hatch. Still AWD. Still a 5 door hatch. Still very performance oriented. Way more power and torque. Barely heavier even though it's significantly larger inside. Similar levels of handling capability. All for ~$29k. And put that $6k in mods and the WRX will be an absolute monster. Assuming you just don't go get an STI hatch, which starts at just $1k more expensive than the JCW does. The Golf R also comes to mind.
          FuelToTheFire
          • 2 Years Ago
          @MacProMan
          I agree with domingo. The WRX can be ha for $8 k less, and at the same price, you can get an STi sedan, which holds the record for the fastest sedan on the Nurburgring. I'm not sure how the interior of the Mini is so much better than the WRX.The Mini has a super tacky interior layout. I honestly couldn't care less about if my interior is made ou of soft plastics, hard plastics, hard cabbage, or soft cabbage. Do you touch the dashboard while driving? The WRX can come with leather and power seats if you want a luxurious interior. Same goes for the Evo MR Touring.
          MacProMan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @MacProMan
          I do agree the MINIs are pricey, and this one is not trying or going to be a volume model like the WRX or Golf, perhaps therein lies the problem or key in the debate... MINI makes some nice vehicles and are far from perfect. The JD Power Satisfaction survey still placed MINI on top two years in a row, so the customers are really happy despite a few flaws...
        GN
        • 2 Years Ago
        @AnalogJesse
        Agreed!
        • 2 Years Ago
        @AnalogJesse
        [blocked]
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