Wierdest debut ever: Mini John Cooper Works Countryman

Yet another “what the hell Mini” moment just happened in Geneva during the presentation of performance version of Mini’s Countryman. Tagged “John Cooper Works” (JCW), factory tuned Countryman offers impressive package and joins already established JCW models, Roadster and Coupe.

Featuring 1.6 litre turbocharged engine with 211 HP combined with all-wheel drive, latest member of JCW family is a very capable speeder, obviously based on rallying heritage of BMW-owned brand. Furthermore, Countryman JCW is first ever John Cooper Works model with ALL4 all-wheel drive.

And this is where the odd stuff begins…

With Countryman JCW quite obviously being at least partially derived from and based on Prodrive-built and developed Mini WRC machine, one would expect BMW to use that to promote new model’s sporting genes. Nope. Instead of that, Mini decided to milk the “classic 60s Mini” myth further, linking Countryman JCW to rallying successes achieved half a century ago.

Can you imagine Citroën debuting DS3 Racing without ever mentioning their exploits in the World Rally Championship, where DS3 WRC is the machine to beat? Or Ford revealing performance versions of latest Fiesta and not connecting it to their rallying tradition and marque’s continuing participation in the WRC?

It’s strange and sad, but as long as Mini, or rather BMW, sees double figure sales growth of Mini models, I don’t think they could care less.

Enjoy the speech of dr. Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG during presentation of Countryman JCW below:


“And when it comes to pace, MINI is always ready to run. MINI’s deep roots in motorsports go back over half a century to the Classic Mini Cooper. That car was named, of course, after John Cooper, the legendary racing engineer who brought it to life. Ever since, John Cooper’s name has been synonymous with excitement, performance, and extreme driving fun.

Rounding out this trio, making its world premiere: the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman!

The Countryman with ALL4 is the first ever John Cooper Works model with all-wheel drive. It’s also the first to offer an automatic gearbox. Coming as standard, it has a new 4-cylinder engine with twin-scroll turbocharger and 1.6-litre displacement.

All of these numbers add up to 218 horsepower and 300 Newton metres of torque with overboost. This will launch you from standstill to 100 kilometres an hour in 7 seconds flat.”


And here’s just one of the foggy references to “motor sport tradition” from official press release:

“With powertrain and chassis technology developed calling on the brand’s vast motor sport expertise built into the first MINI with five doors and four/five seats, MINI will deliver its John Cooper Works presence in another new segment… complete with all of the customary handling characteristics and sporty appearance the brand is known for.”


Just like that. Prodrive, Dani Sordo, Kris Meeke, all the testing and development did not happen. At all.