One of the more powerful variants in the Mini stable is the Mini Countryman John Cooper Works, which we had the opportunity to drive on launch recently. We also drove the Mini Cooper All-four, which sits a bit more low down to the road, and probably handles a bit better. However in SA, the SUV reigns supreme, and if you love Mini, the John Cooper Works edition, and have deep pockets to the tune of 640 K , then this is the car for you.
The styling cues are all sporty, in line with the JCW brand, and racing stripes are the order of the day. Brembo brakes, sports suspension and 18-inch black alloys complete the picture. The Countryman is a big car, at 4299 mm in length, and width of 1822mm it has a lot of space for people and luggage. Coupled with a relatively high drive feel, it ticks a lot of boxes for drivers looking for these items. JCW logo appears on the front hexagonal grille, as well as the rear.
Being a full 5-door car, the Countryman can accommodate 5 people with ease. These seats are all JCW-badged , as well as the sports steering wheel and styled gearknob. The iconic round dial dash with different drive-modes is familiar and enjoyable. Different lighting for each mode makes night driving a pleasant experience.
It has class leading boot space at around 45Ol , and with 60:40 fold down options, takes it to another level. One unique option for pit stops in distinctive MINI style is the Picnic Bench, a flexible surface that folds out of the luggage compartment and provides seating for two people. Another optional fitting is an electric tailgate control that allows touchless opening and closing in conjunction with the standard Comfort Access.
Thanks to an All-Four system, the drive in the Countryman is pretty phenomenal. Our launch drive took us over the Outenique Pass, and with wet weather and steep, sheer drop-offs of well over 500m, it was imperative that the Countryman be on point, handling wise.
And it was very good, thanks to the all-four system regulating power to the wheels that needed control etc, we were doing some hairy speeds, and at some stage an oncoming vehicle decided not to give way, and we were forced to the edge of the cliff.It did not feel out of control at all, obviously coupled with a competent driver at the helm as well.
The Mini Countryman comes with a 4-cylinder 2.0L turbo engine, that puts out 17kw & 350Nm of torque. It has great sound characeristics in Sport Mode as well. It does 0-100km in a creditable 6.4secs, with a max speed of 235km/h
The 6-speed manual & 8-speed Steptronic auto transmission is smooth and responsive. The twin-pipe exhaust system is sporty looking as well as looks the part as well. Fuel efficiency is not too bad at a claimed 7.4L/100km. Handling in conjunction with the Brembo brakes and all-four is exemplanary, and cornering is a dream with the go-kart feel.
Fittings & Drive Systems.
The new MINI John Cooper Works Countryman also demonstrates fascinating performance and great versatility in the area of connectivity. Going beyond the familiar functions of an in-car infotainment program, MINI Connected acts as a personal mobility assistant in the top athlete of the model range, too Based on a flexible platform, the Open Mobility Cloud, MINI Connected integrates the vehicle seamlessly into the MINI driver’s digital life via touchpoints such as the Apple iPhone and Apple Watch.
The program of optional equipment items for the new MINI Countryman is also available for the extremely sporty model version. These include a panorama glass roof, 2-zone automatic air conditioning, seat heating for driver and front passenger, electrically heatable and folding exterior mirrors and an alarm system with a red LED status indicator in the fin antenna.
The price is probably a talking point, and at R638 900.00 would be termed expensive, when you can buy a big SUV with more space such as a Fortuner or Pajero Sport for less money. Some Mini lovers would definitely make the leap.
The new MINI John Cooper Works Countryman: an overview of the facts and figures.
– 4-cylinder turbo engine with 170 kW and 350 Nm torque.
– Efficiency-optimised all-wheel drive system ALL4 as standard.
– Sports suspension with Brembo sports brake system and 18-inch light alloy wheels.
– Engine, suspension and aerodynamics harmonised based on John Cooper Works racing expertise.
– Sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds, maximum speed: 234 km/h.
– John Cooper Works Aerodynamics Kit with especially large air inlets at the front.
– Model-specific interior with John Cooper Works sports seats.
– Exclusive standard trim include LED headlamps, MINI Driving Modes and Comfort Access.
– Five fully fledged seats, and a significant increase in space, luggage compartment size and versatility as compared to the predecessor model.
– MINI Connected as a personal mobility assistant for everyday use and when travelling.