While the original Mini wasn’t designed to race, it didn’t take long for race car drivers on both sides of the pond to discover its huge performance potential. The BMW-owned firm is keeping this tradition going by releasing John Cooper Works-badged variants of its Clubman and Countryman models. Both earn the honor of being the most powerful models the firm has ever released in its 60-year history.
While they compete in different segments of the market, the Clubman (pictured above) and the Countryman (pictured below) are nearly identical on paper. Both are powered by a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that channels 301 horsepower and a stout 331 pound-feet of torque to the four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The six-speed manual transmission available previously is gone, likely due to a lack of demand from buyers.
Mini quotes 0-to-60-mph times of 4.9 and 5.1 seconds for the Clubman and the Countryman, respectively. To put those figures into perspective, the latest John Cooper Works variants are 1.4 and 1.5 seconds quicker to 60 mph than the models they replace. That’s a significant difference motorists won’t need to visit a race track to feel. Fuel economy figures will be released closer to both models’ on-sale date.
Engineers tweaked the suspension and installed bigger brakes to help twisty road addicts make the most of the turbo four’s power. An array of different driving modes change the car’s character from a corner carver to a comfortable cruiser, and any setting in between.
Both models emerged from the design studio with a trim-specific look characterized by bigger air vents chiseled into the front bumper to direct more cooling air into the engine bay, a sprinkling of red accents, and 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the front passengers are treated to sport seats and a 6.5-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system. The list of options includes a bigger 8.8-inch screen with navigation and real-time traffic information, among other features. Apple CarPlay compatibility is an optional extra.
The Mini Countryman John Cooper Works and the Mini Clubman John Cooper Works will both begin to arrive in showrooms in time for the 2020 model year. Look for a pricing announcement in the coming months. While we love the sound of a 301-horsepower Mini, we’re even more excited for the Hardtop-based John Cooper Works GP model expected to land soon with the same engine and a Batman-approved design.