Friday, December 1, 2017

Bucket Seat: 2017 MINI Countryman JCW

John Cooper Works is an English company which was founded by Michael Cooper, son of the racing car tuner John Cooper. The company was formed in the year 2000 and since been tuning parts for BMW's new Mini's, becoming the brands "M" division for Mini's. Although the car is rich in British Heritage, it's hard to ignore the German influence in the current Mini's so with JCW tuned cars, there adding some of that heritage back, and boy do they do a good job! I spent a week with the all new Mini Countryman JCW, a car which hold's a special place for me as when I first started to review cars on the blog, the very first test car I received was the older generation Countryman JCW and had a blast with it, so I was expecting much of the same from this new model, if not more.


Being a performance version of the regular Countryman, I'm glad that they didn't just stick a kit to the car for the JCW package, they've added a lot bulk which adds that aggressive look to the vehilce. From a low stance, large 19" wheels, flares and stripes, the Countryman JCW really looks menacing, whether it's standing still or on the road tearing up the tarmac and hunting cars down. The trademark JCW logs are prominent all over the car, so there's no mistaking it when you see one. Onto the interior, the first thing that strikes you is the seats, racing style JCW seats with a red outline, in a mixture of suede and leather, the red and black theme continues throughout the cabin as well as full glass electric sunroof. The dash and instrument cluster is much the same as the standard Countryman  with the added JCW badges here and there but the mood lighting on the dash has this awesome streak effect, different from normal. 


The big talking point about this car comes from whats under the hood, while it does have the same 2 liter engine that comes in the Cooper S, this one has been tuned by Michael and his crew at John Cooper Works in Farnborough, Hampshire. They managed to produce 170kW from the motor and produces 350Nm of torque. Apart from that, the entire set-up is tweaked for ultimate driving pleasure. From the suspension, to the dampers and even the exhaust got some treatment with the sounds being enhanced when put into Sport mode. It's hard not to drive the car in sports mode with the pure symphony that comes from those pipes while driving around, gets the hairs on the back of your neck standing up. The snap, crackle and pop just gets your blood going, the acceleration and handling is faultless in the Mini, while it's perfect for road driving, I can only imagine how much fun this would be on a circuit. Now as usual with Mini's, they tend to be a bit thirsty, this one particularly more than the others but I decided to do something I wouldn't normally do, I switched over to the Green Mode, which is basically their equivalent of Eco Pro, I was blown away at how everything changes. The car goes silent, its clam and composed, it even gives you a reading as to how many extra km's you building up in your range! So may be there is some truth in that combined fuel economy figure.


Being a car built for the track in mind, you would expect all this changes and tweaks would make for quite an uncomfortable ride, its quite the opposite. The racing seats are extra cushioned and are a snug fit. The ride quality is just as a good as a normal Countryman and the space is just great. There is plenty of room in the back for the passengers and the luggage area is more than adequate with even an option for more space beneath the trunk floor. The interior has dual climate control which maintains the temperature quite well. The car came with the optional extra of the Harman/Kardon Hi-fi lound speaker system which in local terms "cranks", with the two subs located beneath the driver and front passenger seats. Other extra's that were note worthy are definitely the adaptive LED headlamps. BMW seemed to have perfected this technology and I haven't see anyone that does it better. 


Take all conventional thinking of a Mini and throw it out the window, why? Because this car just kills every cliche there is to it. It is big and spacious, it has immense power, and once you get your foot down, it just keeps going. It is extremely fun to drive, in fact it's addictive to drive, I found myself taking the longer routes home on purpose just so I could spend more time driving it. That doesn't bode well for your bank balance though, I suppose if you could afford one of these you can pay for the fuel as well. It's still can make for a great family car, seeing how spacious it is or for anyone for that matter, also it is has the all4 drive, which means it is capable for some light off roading ...or rally driving. This car gets a big thumbs up from me....almost didn't want to give it back. 


 2L TwinPower Turbo, supercharged
 Gear Box
 8 Speed Automatic with paddle shift
 Fuel Comsumption
 6.5 Seconds
*Price excludes extras

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