MINI Australia has taken a makeup kit to its manic Countryman John Cooper Works (JCW), tweaking the high-performance small SUV’s design, and adding extra cabin technology, to boost its appeal.
Local pricing and specification remain under wraps for now, with the new model due to arrive in the fourth quarter – around the same time as the updated regular Countryman range and about a year after the JCW’s most recent update, which brought a power hike to 225kW and a corresponding price increase to $65,900 plus on-road costs.
As before, the Countryman JCW can be distinguished from its regular stablemates by its aggressive bodykit, bigger wheels and slightly lower ride height, with the facelifted version scoring a new red strip across its grille rather than the current red grille surround.
The standard LED headlights have also been reshaped, while at the rear the LED tail-lights have been brought into line with other Mini models and now form two halves of the Union Jack (one half each).
A new ‘Piano Black Exterior’ pack is also available for a bit of added menace, blacking out the headlight surrounds, radiator grille, doorhandles, rear lights and model lettering on the tailgate.
The other main visual tweak comes in the form of new 95mm twin exhaust tips which not only up the visual prowess of the hot little SUV, but also the aural experience given they serve as endcaps for a new sports exhaust system.
The new exhaust system has not impacted on the Countryman JCW’s engine output which remains pegged at 225kW/450Nm courtesy of the BMW Group’s B48 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol unit.
Drive is sent to all four wheels (18-inch JCW light alloys) via an eight-speed automatic transmission, with an electronic front differential lock helping keep the front wheels in check and tighten up the handling.
The dash from 0-100km/h is dispatched in a claimed 5.1 seconds, while combined-cycle fuel economy is rated at between 6.9 and 7.3 litres per 100km.
The JCW Countryman’s cabin has also received a workover with most of the controls being subtly reorganised and scoring touch-sensitive bookmark buttons, while the circular control unit has been given a “new refined surface” around its circumference.
Other major changes include a new 5.0-inch digital instrument cluster and an expansion of the Mini Connected features to now include Amazon Alexa integration.
The Intelligent Emergency services have also been enhanced along with a restructuring of the Navigation Plus options.
Mini Australia and New Zealand general manager Brett Waudby described the Countryman JCW “a go-to favourite for performance-hungry Mini fans”.
“The JCW has formed in the past a sizeable portion of total Countryman sales,” he said.
“Along with the rest of the new Countryman range arriving in Q4, the JCW promises even more value with better equipment and the same thrilling performance Mini fans know and love.”
Mini has sold 507 examples of the Countryman through the first six months of this year, accounting for 5.7 per cent of the $40,000+ small SUV segment.
Its sales mark a 4.5 per cent improvement on the same period last year, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Audi’s new Q3 currently leads the segment with 1805 sales, followed by the BMW X1 (1597, +18.8%), Volvo XC40 (1441, -5.1%) and Mercedes GLA (1296, -7.8%).