Size and appearance do matter. Our next set of four wheels is no less, it’s an icon that can dazzle one upon sight. Yes, we are talking about the latest generation BMW MINI Countryman Cooper S JCW Inspired that has a rather unique profile with a hidden identity. What is this identity, well let us find out? It has a badge and traits of a MINI, however, its overgrown profile does raise the curiosity levels to quite an extent. So, what do we have in front of us? Well, it is the latest generation of MINI Countryman Cooper S JCW Inspired that speaks more style, comfort and performance that should not be missed out upon. We tell you the reason why?
How is it on the outside?
In our view, this isn’t one of the prettiest MINIs around but that said in comparison to its predecessor the latest iteration still looks decently attractive. Starting with the dual paint scheme (green and white) that makes an immediate impression in the mind. Its bold SUV like stance up front with white stripes and an air scoop on the bonnet are some of the key elements to watch out for. The track styled grille bearing an S badge, pair of square LED headlights with circular fog lamps does give the Countryman S a distinctive look.
Meanwhile, the side profile provides distinctive 18-inch alloy-wheel design, in fact, the chrome touches given to its door handles, roof rails and silver skirts alongside flared wheel arches give the Countryman a unique feel. Towards the rear, there is a broad tailgate that comprises of a roof-mounted spoiler, pair of LED taillights, two different badges— Countryman and Cooper S denoting its model name with the variant. That apart what really brings it all together are the twin exhausts and the dual tone rear bumper that also houses the reflector inserts on either side.
How is it on the inside?
The insides of a MINI have been always special and so is the case with the Countryman Cooper S. Step in and the first thing that one realizes is its supreme build quality. From plastic to the leather materials everything is prim and proper. The circular centre console which has always attracted many towards it now features a touchscreen infotainment system with a light surround strip that can be used to change colours. Further, this symmetry is maintained via a round speedometer and knobs for climate control. The steering wheel that is wrapped in leather has a very special badge towards its bottom end that mentions JCW.
In fact, the red stitching on the gear lever and steering wheel add a special touch. What I really like about this cabin is the level of comfort. When compared to the earlier version, the seats are well cushioned and bolstered that allow you to enjoy short as well as long commutes. Unlike the MINI Cooper, the Countryman offers ample space up front and towards the rear which makes it really practical for everyday use. How does it drive? Saving the best for last, let me first tell you what JCW stands for. John Cooper Works is basically a tuning outfit that makes parts and accessories for the MINI. MINI Countryman Cooper S JCW, therefore, brings to the table a 2.0-litre turbo-charged 4 cylinder petrol engine that speaks performance.
It isn’t as quick as the MINI Cooper S however once behind the wheel the Countryman does involve its 2.0-litre powertrain that has an amazing blip sound coming from its twin exhaust system which is music to the ears. An eight-speed automatic transmission on board further helps its cause as the shifts are smooth though to find the correct mix of performance and excitement it would be if one used the paddle shifts. That said each time you slot this MINI into Sports mode it will definitely bring a smile to your face. As for the ride, I still remember my first impressions where I found it to be on the stiffer side but this time around the suspension does seem to have loosened a little for a more comfortable ride. But then that too depends on which mode you’re driving. Whereas in the case of handling this one does not disappoint either as it sticks to the line that you would want it to especially while encountering corners.
ENGINE: 2.0-litre Turbo-charged 4 Cylinder Petrol
POWER: 192 bhp
TORQUE: 280 NM
TRANSMISSION: 8-Speed Sport Automatic Steptronic Transmission
PRICE:₹ 41.40 lakh (ex-showroom)
Should I buy one?
This BMW MINI Countryman Cooper S is no slouch. Unlike its diesel counterpart, the JCW Inspired version provides the thrill of driving along with performance. While the glamour quotient and practical part will definitely attract many towards it who are on the lookout for a small car which is premium and has character plus prestige attached to it.