It was already the 'maxiest' Mini, but now it is something else entirely. The new Mini Countryman pushes its boundaries and becomes a premium SUV, the C segment that is usually occupied by cars around 4.5 metres long.

Too long? Perhaps for some, but with this move the Mini Countryman becomes just right for those who don't want to compromise on practicality, even with the family in tow. It also frees up space for the Aceman, which will be positioned precisely between the Countryman and the classic three- or five-door.

In short, the Countryman is a fundamental element in the present and future evolution of the British brand, owned by the BMW group, and that is why it is also available in a 100% electric version, as well as a hybrid. The one in this first test, on the other hand, is the sportiest version of all, with a name that is a whole programme and will put a smile on your face just hearing it: John Cooper Works.

Exterior | Interior | Driving | Trivia | Prices

Mini Countryman: Exterior

The Countryman is completely new, starting with the platform on which it is based. It's the FAAR already used by the BMW X1, and its dimensions come close to its Bavarian cousin. Yet all the typical and much-appreciated traits of the previous Countryman are distinctly present, starting with the large, regular glass area and the roof that seems to be suspended.

MINI Countryman John Cooper Works

At the front, the octagonal grille is larger and squarer. The same goes for the light clusters, which dispense with the chrome around the bonnet and adopt an LED daytime running light divided into several segments, so that the light signature can be customised as desired. The same applies to the slender headlamps, which with their pixel structure allow a choice between the classic Union Jack pattern or two other styles.

MINI Countryman John Cooper Works

On the side, the handles flush with the bodywork - invaluable for improving aerodynamic efficiency, which on the electric version results in a Cd of 0.26 - and the pillar characterisation on the third light, which indicates the model version, stand out. The wheels range from 19 to 20 inches.

MINI Countryman John Cooper Works

We mentioned dimensions but what are they in detail? The Mini Countryman 2024 is 4.43 metres long, 1.84 metres wide and 1.65 metres high, while the wheelbase is 2.69 metres.

Mini Countryman: Interior.

There is no doubt that the new Mini Countryman is the most spacious and versatile Mini ever. The numbers speak for themselves: the boot capacity ranges from 460 litres to 1,450 litres. And it doesn't stop there: the backrest folds down in a 40:20:40 configuration and the sofa can slide 13 centimetres so as to reserve more space for luggage or the knees of rear passengers. Who, even if they are over six feet tall like me, have no problems with roominess and can enjoy dedicated charging sockets, air vents and a sense of great airiness.

MINI Countryman John Cooper Works

Coming to the front of the cabin, it is most noticeable how the Countryman is made from so many recycled materials. The dashboard is beautifully upholstered in fabric and with trim-specific colour schemes. Same treatment for the doors.

The central tunnel is very well organised, with a shelf for induction charging of smartphones, another compartment further down and a double cup holder, and again a glove compartment concealed by a lid that is also covered in fabric. The vertical air vents are an updated, minimalist version of those in the previous version. The gem, however, are the controls for the ignition and for selecting gear and driving mode: they recall those of cars of the past.

MINI Countryman John Cooper Works

Last but certainly not least is the circular display in the centre: it has a diameter of 24 centimetres, OLED technology for very high resolution and houses a new infotainment system called Mini OS9 and is based on Android. This means that it updates itself via the Net (in our test we experienced some slowdowns as the software still needs to be refined to its final version) and allows you to download various apps, such as entertainment apps.

MINI Countryman John Cooper Works

It is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, even without a cable, and completely changes in style and screens thanks to the various driving profiles that, for example, can recall the typical graphics of a classic car or those of a go-kart. And, again, you can send photos from your smartphone to personalise your home.

Mini Countryman: Driving

I drove the 'baddest' version of the new Mini Countryman, so it's only fair to talk about what's specific to this John Cooper Works and what applies to all new Countrymans.

Under the bonnet of the John Cooper Works is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol with 300 PS and 400 Nm of maximum torque. When the drive map selected is Go-Kart, the sportiest, the power delivery is explosive and allows the 0-62 mph to be clocked in 5.4 seconds, then a top speed of 155 mph. Traction is spread over the two axles.

MINI Countryman John Cooper Works

The pedigree of the peppier Countryman does not end there: the suspension is adaptive, the brakes are sporty and so are the exhausts, which are aided by the Harman/Kardon car system to emphasise the sound in the cabin. Engaged on the Go-Kart map, the driving experience is immediately bursting with the Countryman's responsiveness and agility, which is ready at the accelerator pedal and demonstrates rapid front-end directionality thanks to precise and direct steering. The seats are as restrained as needed and finding the correct driving position takes just a moment.

MINI Countryman John Cooper Works

The gearbox is a seven-speed dual-clutch unit, and can be used either in sport mode or via paddles behind the steering wheel. Road holding and composure are of a high standard, while road irregularities cause some jolting, thanks also to the 20-inch wheels. In general, however, one senses that the evolutionary step is enormous and the Countryman has to all intents and purposes become a premium SUV. Perhaps, in some respects, at the expense of that genuine imperfection.

However, if you switch to the Green driving mode, the John Cooper Works transforms and becomes a docile and very quiet car. Perfect for everyday life, in short. Talking about the Countryman in general, I really appreciated the all-round visibility and the feeling of control and perception of bulk that such vertical glass surfaces give you. The perimeter camera system is also excellent. Finally, honourable mention to the assisted driving systems: the calibration is natural and effective.

MINI Countryman John Cooper Works

Mini Countryman: Trivia

You don't need a key to open, lock and start the new Countryman. All you need is your smartphone and the MyBMW app installed and configured. That way you can use your phone like a conventional proximity key and take advantage of the keyless entry and keyless start function.

Mini Countryman: Prices.

In the UK the trim range of the Mini Countryman spans three versions: Classic, Exclusive, Sport and JCW. The available versions are the Countryman C, with the 1.5-litre petrol mild hybrid producing 170 PS, the Countryman S ALL4, with the 2.0-litre petrol mild hybrid producing 218 PS and all-wheel drive, and the electric E and SE ALL4 Sport, with single and twin motors and 204 and 313 PS, respectively. Finally, the John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4 Sport with 300 PS in this test.

The price list starts at £29,325 for the Countryman C and can go up to £50,880 for the SE All4 Sport.

Mini Countryman

Engine 2.0 turbo benzina
Transmission Automatico 7 marce
Drive Type Integrale
Output 300 CV
Maximum torque 400 Nm
Maximum speed 250 km/h
Speed 0-100 KPH 5,4"