Mini clued us in that there’d be a John Cooper Works version of the all-new Countryman unveiled around the Munich Auto Show. We didn’t get images of the go-faster Mini until now, Mini posting two exterior shots and two interior shots to its Instagram channel. As usual, Mini’s made a number of subtle changes to the JCW that the average driver might not notice, but which brand fans and car spotters will quickly catch. The upper grille on the Countryman JCW is not only a different mesh pattern than the standard car, now done up like a checkered flag, it sits above a defined bumper structure bearing the same pattern graphic. The grille’s set into a black surround, and above it, two faintly embossed channels lead to air outlets in front of the hood shutline.
At the edges, breaks in the headlight DRLs turn them into a set of horizontal brackets. Further down, where the standard Countryman has small fog light recesses in the front fascia’s corners, the Countryman JCW has a pair of tall intakes topped by the bumper and flanked by side curtains. Chili Red accents on the curtains match the same color on the mirror caps and roof.
The redrawn JCW logo appears on the plaque behind the B-pillar; Ford isn’t the only one spiffing up its corporate identity. The previous logo spelled out the JCW name, with the “Works” bit set into a stretched, horizontal oval pendant. The updated logo sheds the pendant, placing the wordmark next to a checkered flag motif. Among the Instagram images, checkered flags appear again in the rear seatbacks and we have a feeling there are a few more around the cabin.
Back outside, the Countryman JCW’s taillights sport a stylized version of the Union Jack motif on the standard car above quad pipes poking through the rear bumper. This gas-powered Countryman JCW is anticipated to use the same turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder from the current car but with more output than the present 301 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque. It’s due sometime next year in all-wheel-drive form along with a gas-powered Mini Cooper JCW hatch. Mini product line chief Stefan Floeck told Autocar that come 2025, both the Cooper JCW and Countryman JCW will offer battery-electric versions.
Now that Mini has opened its BEV account, and by 2030 the automaker plans to go BEV-only, there might be a John Cooper Works GP sendoff at some point. Brand boss Stefanie Wurst told Top Gear about the chances of the raucous hot hatch, “Yes, definitely. … We don’t know when or how, but I would love it,” adding, “I think there is a future for that nameplate, and I think it makes it even more credible that we have teams racing at the Nürburgring.” The most recent JCW GP hit the market in 2020, making 320 hp and limited to 3,000 units.