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2025 Mini Countryman JCW First Drive: A Larger, More Wagon-Like Format

2025 Mini Countryman JCW | Photo: Mini
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Benoit Charette
The driving pleasure is still there with this model, but its greater weight makes itself felt

•  Auto123 gets in a first drive of the 2025 Mini Countryman JCW.

British engineer John Cooper made motorsport history by reintroducing the mid-rear engine concept to Formula 1. He also made the little Mini famous in rallying and lent his name to the brand's sportiest versions, the John Cooper Works (JCW). Mini has kept this legend alive with the JCW Countryman, which comes to us with 312 hp for 2025.

2025 Mini Countryman JCW black
2025 Mini Countryman JCW black | Photo: B.Charette

Design of the 2025 Mini Countryman JCW

The Mini Countryman, which measures 4,433 mm long (previously 4,310 mm), 1,843 mm wide (previously 1,822 mm) and 1,656 mm high (previously 1,557 mm), has also seen its wheelbase extended to 2,692 mm (previously 2,670 mm).

The new exterior styling features a straighter, more minimalist silhouette. The John Cooper Works logo has also been redesigned with a modern, streamlined look, using the classic colours of black, red and white for the first time. The design is equally effective. The line boasts a drag coefficient of just 0.26, making it one of the most aerodynamic vehicles in its class.

The JCW version also features aerodynamic elements such as vertical reflectors at the front to emphasize its width, while new LED headlamps with horizontal JCW signature bars give it a more expressive look. There are also taillight options that operate in different sequences to mimic the British flag.

Interior of 2025 Mini Countryman JCW
Interior of 2025 Mini Countryman JCW | Photo: Mini

Interior design
The interior offers a clean, uncluttered look. The driver's station is divided into two sections, with vertical door handles and air vents at the top. All design elements, such as air vents and door handles, are oriented vertically, emphasizing the character of the vehicle, even in the interior. The red and black colour scheme on the dashboard, door panels and sports seats is a nod to Mini's sporting heritage.

The dashboard features a two-tone fabric made from recycled polyester. The rear seats in particular show where Mini has set out to please. The row can be adjusted up to 13 cm in length. With the rear seats folded down, even bulky items can be easily transported in the luggage compartment, which has a capacity ranging from 460 to 1450 litres. 

Seating of 2025 Mini Countryman JCW
Seating of 2025 Mini Countryman JCW | Photo: B.Charette

Technology and safety
The round 9.4-inch OLED display is the focal point of the interior. Its MINI 9 operating system brings together all the car's functions, which can be controlled by touch or voice. The screen has been moved closer to the two front seats to make it easier to reach. The upper section displays relevant vehicle information. In the lower section, items from the navigation, media, telephone and climate control menus can be selected directly at any time.

Mini has equipped this JCW version with useful driving aids, but lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring are missing. The new Mini JCW Countryman is equipped with twelve ultrasonic sensors and four panoramic cameras. They support the driver assistance systems and enable Level 2 semi-autonomous driving as part of the Driver Assistance Package. Parking Assist can detect the gaps in traffic needed to change lanes at an exit and bring the vehicle to the optimum speed for assisted lane change.

Key standard safety features include forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking. Adaptive cruise control is also available.

2025 Mini Countryman JCW, profile
2025 Mini Countryman JCW, profile | Photo: Mini

Powertrain of the 2025 Mini Countryman JCW

The Countryman JCW boasts some impressive performance figures. For starters, its 312-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and standard four-wheel drive make it a lively little creature from the word go, despite its 1,660-kg weight, which means the steering is a little lacking compared to the outgoing model. The model is based on the same platform as the BMW X1, which gives it excellent driving dynamics. A 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard.

Other than that you have eight driving modes. Depending on the selected experience mode, the instrument panel is illuminated in different patterns and colours with unique light graphics. Ambient lighting colours throughout the vehicle are based on the projected light patterns. A high-performance braking system with red brake calipers ensures powerful, precise deceleration. The characteristic sound of the exhaust system is also part of the experience, emphasizing that the engine sound generated in the cabin in real time enhances the driving experience on an emotional level.

Glimpse of 2025 Mini Countryman JCW from interior
Glimpse of 2025 Mini Countryman JCW from interior | Photo: Mini

Driving the 2025 Mini Countryman JCW

Mini's engineers had a big challenge with this new JCW model. They had to maintain the unbridled sportiness of the product with a version that suffers from even more severe overweight. At 1,660 kg, this is no featherweight.

First impressions are mixed. On the one hand, the ability to break the 100 km/h barrier in 5.6 seconds is impressive.

On the other hand, you can feel the weight in the steering. Apart from this small drawback, the excellent performance makes dynamic driving pleasure. The all-wheel-drive system distributes power precisely and reliably in all driving situations. No less than eight driving modes are available, including an off-road mode.

Glimpse of 2025 Mini Countryman JCW from rear
Glimpse of 2025 Mini Countryman JCW from rear | Photo: B.Charette

Pricing of the 2025 Mini Countryman JCW

The all-new Mini John Cooper Works Countryman will start at $56,290 in Canada. Production for the Canadian market is scheduled to begin in March 2024, with the first units arriving at dealerships in early May. That price does not include any tax or fees, and before any options. So it's safe to say that it will be easy to fork over $65,000 without too much effort.

2025 Mini Countryman JCW, tested
2025 Mini Countryman JCW, tested | Photo: Mini

The final word
Our first contact with the  2025 Mini Countryman JCW lasted only a few hours. We'll have to spend more time with this vehicle to get a more lasting impression. One thing's for sure, its more spacious format will be the envy of many families who want to get away from the boredom of SUVs. This more expressive Countryman is sure to please driving enthusiasts.


Strong points

  • Efficient all-wheel drive
  • High-level performance
  • Ample family space

Weak points

  • A little heavy
  • Steering that could be more responsive
  • Touchscreen that takes some getting used to.
Benoit Charette
Benoit Charette
Automotive expert
  • More than 30 years of experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 65 test drives last year
  • Attended more than 200 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists