MINI indirectly introduced the Countryman John Cooper Works in early September when one of its regional branches published fully revealing images. A couple of weeks ago, the high-performance compact crossover made an unexpected appearance in the German configurator. Fast forward to today, the Oxford-based automaker is finally unveiling the range-topping JCW variant.

312 Horsepower in the U.S.

Not to be confused with the namesake and rather confusing John Cooper Works trim level, this is the actual full-fat JCW with a far more potent engine and a quad exhaust system. The turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline mill is rated at 296 horsepower in Europe, exactly the same as the BMW X1 M35i and X2 M35i sold on the Old Continent. MINI USA has also announced the local version, and yes, it has 312 hp, just like the two M Performance crossovers available in North America where there are less stringent emissions regulations compared to the European Union.

With 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) on tap, the sporty Countryman matches the torque of its Bavarian siblings. It runs to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 5.4 seconds and tops out at an electronically governed 155 mph (250 km/h) to echo the two performance-oriented BMW crossovers. By the way, the X1 M35i and X2 M35i also have four exhaust tips, which are coming to all M Performance cars, including the upcoming next-gen M135 hatchback and M235 Gran Coupe.

The Usual JCW Design Bits

The “ALL4” suffix is marketing jargon for all-wheel drive, and while the automatic transmission isn’t mentioned, we’ll remind you the BMW models use a seven-speed, dual-clutch Steptronic. The “high-performance braking system” with Chili Red calipers is standard but there’s no mention of the compound brakes offered as an option by BMW on the aforementioned M35i models.

Flaunting an updated JCW logo, the athletic Countryman rides on 19- or 20-inch wheels exclusive to this version, both of which have been aerodynamically optimized. By the way, we’re being told the drag coefficient of 0.26 makes it one of the most aerodynamic models in the segment.

The hot JCW variant will be built alongside the regular third-generation Countryman versions in Leipzig, Germany. Production for the US market is scheduled to kick off in March 2024, with dealers expected to get the first cars in early May. Pricing starts at $46,900, plus $995 in destination and handling fees.

As a refresher, BMW decided to internalize production rather than outsourcing it to the VDL Nedcar in Born, The Netherlands as was the case for the second-gen model. The original Countryman rolled off the assembly line at Magna Steyr’s plant in Graz, Austria, among other plants.

Source: MINI