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MINI John Cooper Works Countryman Blends Performance and Utility with Spirited, Summer Driving

With all the tech that’s going into cars these days, MINI’s aimed at keeping up with the times without losing its soul. With the 2020 MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, we’re getting a performance-focused iteration of MINI’s most spacious vehicle, one that’s perfect for summer escapes and adventures. We spent sometime with one of the fastest MINI’s ever and got to see first-hand what makes this John Cooper Works edition so special.

The five-door hatchback delivers versatility with seating to fit five folks and trunk space for bags, rollers, and whatever you need to bring along for a weekend getaway. And for your road trip, The John Cooper Works-specific detailing includes full-feature seats with integrated head rests, the JCW sport steering wheel with multifunction buttons, and JCW selector lever, and the anthracite headliner. The Radio MINI Visual Boost includes a touchscreen 6.5-inch display but you can opt for an 8.8-inch touch display with a host of additional infotainment features. It’s Apple CarPlay-ready and can pull in real-time traffic data.

Step outside the cabin and you see the car’s presence is confident with the underpinnings helping to put right where you want. The long wheelbase, larger track width and lower center of gravity are aimed to deliver consistent sports performance. The body structure and taus chassis connections are fitted for a track-like experience. MINI makes nimble cars and the JCW line takes this even further. Quick movements of the steering wheel on the highway and on local roads both showed immediate responsiveness and grip to the road. The John Cooper Works Countryman’s got space but it’s got moves, too.

The radiator grille’s gone through a redesign here while the standard LED headlights and the rear lights have been refreshed as well. Adaptive LED headlamps with variable light distribution and matrix function for the high beam lights are an option and recommended as they help to give the car a distinct look and feel. The example we were driving featured a white finish with a red roof. High-gloss black finishing could be seen on the headlamp surrounds, rear lights and radiator grille as well as the door handles and the model lettering on the luggage compartment lid.

Under the hood is a compact yet resourceful 4-cylinder 2.0-liter twin turbo engine that’s churning out more than 300 horses. Mated to an eight-speed transmission and featuring MINI ALL4 all-wheel drive as standard, it’s able to go 0 to 62 mph in about 5 seconds. With the tremendous leap in output from the previous model, it’s hard to miss just how well the John Cooper Works Countryman can perform on either a road surface or loose terrain.

MINI’s leveraging a shared platform from parent BMW which can be seen on their X2 M35i SUV and the M235i iteration of the new 2-series Gran Coupe sedan. All things considered, the JCW Countryman might be the most enjoyable of the bunch and a heck of a balancing act between performance and utility.

See more of the 2020 MINI John Cooper Works Countryman in the gallery and look for it to land at your local MINI dealer by November.