MINI John Cooper Works Countryman: the next generation

2017 MINI JCW Countryman
The redesigned 2017 MINI John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4 is bigger than its predecessor in almost every way.

When MINI launched the Countryman back in 2010, it was the brand’s first attempt at the subcompact crossover genre. Now, seven years later, the sophomore effort — that’s just been given the sporty John Cooper Works (JCW) ALL4 treatment — is being described as “a more distinctive and mature proposition than its predecessor.”  Let’s find out what that statement is all about.

2017 MINI JCW Countryman ALL4 interior

The maxi-MINI will officially be the largest product sold by the BMW subsidiary, and in JCW form, combines race-ready dynamics with off-road pretensions. Measuring at 4,314 millimetres in length, 1,822 mm width and 1,557 mm height, it is 200 mm longer and 30 mm wider than its predecessor. And rare for a performance vehicle, there is loads of cargo space, ranging from 450 litres to 1,390, depending on how the back seats are configured.


All the second-generation styling highlights, like the floating “helmet roof,” are combined with model-specific extras such as red accents, body kit, roof spoiler, enlarged front bumper air-cooling inlets, Brembo brakes and unique 18-inch Grip Spoke alloy wheels. Inside, occupants are treated to five full-sized seats, JCW leather sports steering wheel and gear lever and an anthracite-coloured roof liner. And for those relaxing drives to the countryside, a “Picnic Bench” folds out of the luggage compartment providing open air seating for two.

2017 MINI John Cooper Works front angle

The JCW Countryman features the quickest powertrain of all the variants: a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine receiving MINI Twinpower Turbo Technology churning out 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. A controllable internal baffle and specialized tailpipe of the sports exhaust allows the system to produce a signature sound profile.

2017 MINI JCW Countryman ALL4 interior

The powerplant is mated to a choice of a six-speed manual transmission or an optional eight-speed Steptronic automatic gearbox with paddle shifters and launch control designed to enable the quickest possible off-the-line acceleration. Combined with standard ALL4 all-wheel drive and sports suspension, the JCW is as comfortable cornering at high speed as it is zooming down a muddy road.  

The 2017 MINI John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4 will launch this spring at a MSRP of $38,500, the same cost as the outgoing version.

2017 MINI John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4 rear

Posted by Benjamin Yong

Benjamin Yong is a freelance journalist and communications professional living in Richmond, B.C. He is often found writing about cars and the auto industry, amongst other things, or driving around in his work-in-progress 1990 Mazda MX-5. Twitter: @b_yong Instagram: @popuplights