All-new Mini JCW Countryman: And it’s an SUV?

By J.A. Ackley
Nov 8, 2023 | Mini, jcw, Countryman, Mini Countryman, Mini JCW Countryman

Photography Courtesy Mini

Love Minis, love performance, but want more space? Mini has an answer. The company just debuted its all-new Mini JCW Countryman, and it’s classified in the U.S. as an SUV–a Mini first.

What does that mean, though?

The term SUV has been muddied in this era of crossovers. Essentially, the Countryman is an LDT–light duty truck. Rather than get into the boring regulatory details, we'll say it means that you can do truck-like things with it, like more easily go off-road (and this might be the model for that). Plus, it will come with a stated towing capacity (no official number offered yet).

Mini execs said they felt a need to offer an SUV. As their existing customers grew older, their needs for space typically grew, too. That often led Mini enthusiasts elsewhere. Now there’s an option to stick with Mini–and still enjoy the expected Mini experience.

As with any JCW, it promises to deliver performance. The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder puts out 312 horsepower, with a zero-to-100 kph (62.1 mph) time of 5.4 seconds. It also has 295 lb.-ft. of torque and a top speed of 155 mph. All4 all-wheel drive comes standard.

The Countryman has an exhaust flap system that makes it sound the part of performance, too. The press release also added, “Inside, the engine sound generated in real time enhances the emotional driving experience. An exclusive JCW sound extension boosts the sound of the engine start and intensifies the soundscape with racing-inspired engine sounds.”

New Mini Experience modes can allow the driver to change the “driving ambiance” with backgrounds and sounds. For example, go-kart mode gives the car a sporty feel–not only for the driver, but also the occupants, with engine sounds pumped into the cabin. A Mini projector can bathe the dashboard in atmospheric colors.

Back to performance, the tire width gets upped to 245mm. Mini promises the car will offer the “typical Mini go-kart feeling.”

The Countryman is the first all-new model from Mini since 2017. Its design certainly feels Mini but in a more simplified form, especially inside.

The Mini John Cooper Works Countryman will start at $46,900. Production begins March 2024, with dealers receiving units in May 2024.

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J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
11/8/23 7:15 p.m.

I have to say, it's trippy. It looks like a Mini, but it's definitely bigger. 

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
11/8/23 7:17 p.m.

It also has a checkered flag inspired grille.

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/8/23 7:47 p.m.

It wouldn't be what i was looking for anyway, but i wonder whether they'd have been better served by reviving another nameplate instead of making Mini not only build cars that are only kinda sorta mini, and then an extended range that isn't mini at all. There's no longer really any association with the history that spawned it, is there? The new ones look a little like the earlier ones that looked a little bit like classic Minis.

 It might be good, but the first thought with increasingly un-mini Minis is always "huh?"

Who owns the Puch name these days?

ojannen HalfDork
11/8/23 8:03 p.m.

Mini is just bmws front wheel drive brand.  It doesn't really have an identity beyond that anymore.

If the countryman got bigger, does that mean it is based on the X3 instead of the X1?

RyanGreener (Forum Supporter)
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) Reader
11/8/23 8:20 p.m.

In an ideal world for me, the Mini brand would just be the Mini 2 Door, 4 Door, and maybe the EV. If they want more doors or more space, why not just get the BMW X1?

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
11/8/23 9:31 p.m.

In reply to ojannen :

From my understanding the Countryman shares "architecture" with the X1/X2. 

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/8/23 10:13 p.m.

In reply to J.A. Ackley :

I thought that was even true of the F55/56 Minis...

 Ah, they're both derived from the UKL (Untere Klasse, or "lower class") platform, but the F55/56 are UKL1, while the larger Minis and X1/2 are UKL2. Per Wikipedia, salt as needed.

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
11/8/23 10:37 p.m.

In reply to RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) :

I had that same thought. Ultimately, it comes down to cost of the vehicle and user experience. Mini Countryman S will be cheaper than the X1. A Mini user experience is quite different than a BMW, despite shared architecture. It's like chocolate fudge and rocky road ice cream flavors. Both use chocolate ice cream, but they're quite different nevertheless.  

93gsxturbo UltraDork
11/8/23 11:06 p.m.

My Lord, that is ugly!

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon UberDork
11/8/23 11:22 p.m.

I thought it was always an suv...

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