The most powerful MINI ever made is finally here. The new 2024 MINI Countryman John Cooper Works (JCW) was unveiled last week in Greenville, South Carolina. Building upon the recently revealed MINI Countryman (U25), the sporty version of the popular crossover takes things up a notch.

The new 2024 MINI Countryman JCW is a stunning example of how to combine performance, style and versatility in a compact SUV. The JCW stands for John Cooper Works, the legendary racing division of MINI that has been tuning and enhancing the brand’s vehicles since the 1960s.

Most Powerful MINI Ever Made

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. In the U.S., the new MINI Countryman JCW gets 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.

Modern and Bold Design

Of course, the design of the 2024 Countryman JCW is inspired by the classic MINI heritage, but with a modern and aggressive twist. It’s actually a quite impressive crossover in real life, despite being slightly controversial within the MINI community. The vocal fanbase doesn’t seem to be delighted by the new proportions of the Countryman which is certainly larger than ever before. The updated chassis boasts an additional length of 5.1 inches and a height increase of 2.4 inches, resulting in a visibly larger and somewhat robust appearance when seen in real life.

Design wise, the front fascia features a large hexagonal grille that mimics a checkered flag, also with an updated JCW badge, flanked by LED headlights with distinctive circular rings which can be adjusted from the Operating System 9. The lower bumper has large air intakes and a splitter to improve aerodynamics and cooling. The side profile showcases the muscular wheel arches, the black roof rails and the signature contrast roof that can be customized in different colors. We only saw the iconic Chili Red roof for now.

The rear end has a roof spoiler, quad pipes and a diffuser that adds to the sporty look. The side scuttle has also moved to the C-pillar, a design trick to visually reduce the height of the new Countryman. The sporty MINI Countryman JCW rides on 19- or 20-inch wheels exclusive to this version, both of which have been aerodynamically optimized. Seen here are the larger wheels. The crossover comes equipped with a high-performance braking system, featuring brake calipers painted in Chili Red to provide a visually striking accent. They feature four-piston calipers and ventilated discs. You can still get standard brakes with the 19 inch wheels.

By the way, we’re being told the drag coefficient of 0.26 makes it one of the most aerodynamic models in the segment. And you can see that designers spent quite some time on optimizing different body panels for best aero efficiency. Interesting enough, even the roof has a different shape.

Brand New Interior Design

The interior of the 2024 Countryman JCW is equally impressive, with high-quality materials and impressive tech. The seats are designed specifically for the model, featuring enhanced bolstering, and a dashboard crafted from a two-tone textile composed of recycled polyester. Of course, in MINI style, it can be further customized. The new 9.4-inch OLED display infotainment system, rounded in shape, comes with the latest MINI OS9 which features an impressive UI/UX.

Driving Assistant Features

It also has more cameras and sensors than ever before. Equipped with 12 ultrasonic sensors and four cameras, the Countryman JCW, when equipped with the optional Driving Assistant Professional package, enables the driver to disengage their hands from the steering wheel on highways at speeds of up to 37 mph.

Pricing and Market Launch

The 2024 MINI Countryman 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.

It will compete with other compact performance SUVs, such as the Audi Q3 Sportback RS, the BMW X2 M35i and the Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG. However, we believe that none of them can match the unique charm and character of the MINI brand, which has been synonymous with fun and Go-Kart driving dynamics for decades. But more on that next year when we will drive the car.