MINI John Cooper Works Countryman Review
MINI The Minx - Extra Minx

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
13 Mar 2020

The John Cooper Works Countryman is back, with quite a bit more shove. Now boasting 306hp, a whopping 78hp more, and torque ramped up by 100Nm to 450Nm. MINI denies that this is an actual facelift, but just simply a much desired needed performance upgrade. 

I can’t believe that it was not too long ago, we took the John Cooper Works-badged MINI Countryman through some of the most scenic bits of Thailand’s countryside. Our 2,000km  epic journey of MINI proportions, from the Thai capital of Bangkok, through the kingdom’s old capital of Ayutthaya, and onward to visiting the lesser travelled regions of Khao Kho, and Phu Thap Boek; and then cutting across the land into the new Singaporean favourite of Khao Yai province.

The Countryman, which is MINI’s biggest car ever, according to them (or at least for now), proved to be a competent and entertaining partner on the roads. The John Cooper Works badge, meant that the car also delivered impressively, thanks to its high-powered 2.0 turbocharged straight four. It’s all-wheel drive (ALL4 in MINI talk), and adaptive suspension, ensured that the car easily lapped up the miles, be it simply cruising along the highway, mildly taking it off the beaten path (it is an SUV after all); and my personal favourite, punching it through the meandering foothills on the way up and down the highlands of Khao Kho and neighbouring Phu Thap Boek.

The driving experience, definitely thrilling, but you see… MINI apparently thought that this was thrilling - not enough.

The John Cooper Works Countryman is back, with quite a bit more shove. Now boasting 306hp, a whopping 78hp more, and torque ramped up by 100Nm to 450Nm. MINI denies that this is an actual facelift, but just simply a much desired needed performance upgrade.

The bump up in performance means that you get to 100km/h in 5.1 seconds, 1.4 seconds quicker than before. Providing the drive to its wheels, is done via an 8-speed transmission.

In true MINI fashion, this Countryman’s balanced nature and reactive steering makes this heaps of fun to toss into corners. From what was once point-and-shoot turning accuracy, the performance upgrade means that it feels more like you’re being sucked into a corner… and this is very addictive! Due to its higher ride height, there is just a little expected roll around the bends, however, it is sharp like how a good hot hatch would be; and it does actually feel more hot hatch than SUV.

Unfortunately with the performance upgrade, MINI has also made a “Thunberg” and removed those lovely rewarding pops and bangs you get milk from downshifting, which adds to the Countryman's (or any MINI with an ‘S’ badge and above) character… oh MINI “How Dare You!

But even with the John Cooper Works badging, the Countryman, is not built to be just a one-dimensional performance machine. The adaptive suspension can be dialed down, away from ‘Sport’ mode, and you can even “eco drive” this firecracker, with the transmission being able to de-couple to allow the car to coast when you lift off the throttle in ‘Economy’ mode.

The MINI Countryman makes a good day-to-day car. Though MINI by name, it has enough room for four and a half adults, and its 450 litre boot, expandable to 1,390 litres, which is more-than-ample for most owners. Adding a little bit of play to the mix, MINI has retained the boot-mounted bench, which is hidden below the boot board, a special touch if you may, and great for any of those outdoor events, you car would be nearby.

Our Thoughts

The Countryman has plenty of merits, for a car that can do most anything, and yet fit into pocket-sized parking lots. With the go-faster badging, you can expect to pay in the region of $45k over the Cooper S model… Which is COE money with change. 

There are a few attractive options within this premium performance car price bracket, and the Countryman might be a little tiny compared to most of them. With just some compromise on interior wriggle room, which I promise you will not miss, there are plenty of smiles the John Cooper Works Countryman can easily bring.

#MINI #SG #Roadtest #Cars #Testdrive #Roadtest #Countryman #AddStories #Singapore #BMW #MINICountryman #JCW #JohnCooperWorks #Countryman #Hatch #SUV #Crossover #F60 #UKL2

In Summary

We Like

More performance. Stylish, appealing design. Build quality. Bench… yes… bench...

We Don't

“Pops-and-bangs” from the backfiring exhaust taken out from the equation, certainly a letdown, since it is part of the car’s character. Those runflats mar what could be an even better driving experience.


A compact that does just about everything. Entertaining to drive, as much as it is to look at. Added power heaps of fun, when you can put it to good use.

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Engine Capacity 1998cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 9.5:1
Bore x Stroke (82.5 x 94.6)mm
Power 306bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 450Nm @ 1750rpm
Power to Weight 182.7 bhp per ton


Acceleration 5.1s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 250 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 12.7 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 8 -speed Auto
Drive Type F4
Steering Electric


Body Type SUV
(L x W x H)
(4299 x 1822 x 1557) mm
Wheelbase 2670 mm
Turning Circle 11.3 metres
Kerb Weight 1675 kg