2017 Mini John Cooper Works Countryman first drive

The Countryman is Mini’s largest car to date (growing by 19cm in length and 3cm in width over the previous model), which means the new John Cooper Works (JCW) model must be its largest hot hatch ever. Its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine produces 231hp, which is well above the 192hp Countryman Cooper S. The JCW also gets further suspension tweaks to improve the handling to help it deal with all that power. Whether you choose the six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission we’ve tested here, you will also get Mini’s ALL4 all-wheel-drive system fitted as standard.

2017 Mini JCW Countryman First Drive

There isn’t a trade-off between performance and practicality either, as the JCW Countryman still offers generous space for five passengers and a useful amount of boot space. As with all Minis, there are still plenty of exterior and interior personalisation options to spend your cash on.

First impressions

You won’t need to be a Mini aficionado to spot the visual differences that mark out the John Cooper Works Countryman. It sits on bespoke 18-inch alloy wheels that fill out the arches a bit better than even the sporty looking Cooper S models do. Behind these sit red Brembo brake callipers bearing the John Cooper Works logo. Meanwhile, the front bumper drops the fog lights in favour of larger air intakes to help aid cooling and improve aerodynamics.

2017 Mini JCW Countryman First Drive
2017 Mini JCW Countryman First Drive

John Cooper Works badging on the side wing vents and on the front grille, which includes a red inner frame surround, highlight that this is...