Cutting-edge technology delivers unbeatable performance. Engine and gearbox.
The motor sport roots of John Cooper Works are reflected in a constant thirst for new performance benchmarks. This ambition has inspired even more power from the new four-cylinder engine in the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, as well as ensuring further gains in efficiency. The latest generation of the twin-scroll turbocharged engine benefits from both petrol direct injection and variable valve control based on the BMW Group’s VALVETRONIC technology.
This throttle-free load control system significantly improves both the engine’s responsiveness and its efficiency. Reinforced pistons and intake valves, and further optimisation of the cooling, air supply and exhaust gas discharge system, enable additional increases in output and torque. Added to which, the 1.6-litre engine’s turbocharger is given a particularly large intercooler.
Central construction principles of the four-cylinder engine and many of its technical details betray a direct link to the development of race-trim engines. Its cylinder block and bearing mounts are made from aluminium and join forces with reinforced pistons, a particularly high-strength cylinder head and low-weight crankshafts. The four valves of each cylinder are operated by two overhead camshafts, low-friction rocker arms and hydraulic valve clearance compensation elements. The exhaust valves are sodium-filled to help provide the extra cooling required by a turbocharged engine.
High output, extra torque via the overboost function, distinctive soundtrack and the option of a six-speed automatic gearbox.
The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman’s engine develops its maximum output of 160 kW at 6,000 rpm. Peak torque of 280 Newton metres is on tap between 1,900 and 5,000 rpm, but can be increased to 300 Newton metres for short and particularly sharp bursts of acceleration between 2,100 and 4,500 rpm using the overboost function. The sports exhaust system – its slanting tailpipe embellishers providing an extra dose of the hallmark John Cooper Works design – gives this outstanding power delivery a fitting soundtrack.
As an alternative to the standard-specification six-speed manual gearbox, customers can also order a six-speed automatic as an option. Detailed tweaks have been made to both the gearboxes themselves and the clutch for the manual variant to take into account the extra engine power and ensure outstanding performance combined with optimised efficiency. The automatic’s Steptronic function allows the driver to change gear manually using either the selector lever on the centre console or the steering wheel shift paddles. Pressing the standard-fitted Sport Button, located in front of the selector lever on the centre console, speeds up the gear changes in automatic mode to enable particularly rapid acceleration. The Sport Button also tweaks the engine’s responses and acoustic profile, and the power assistance provided by the steering, in both automatic and manual models.
Intoxicating acceleration, impressive efficiency.
The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman needs just 7.0 seconds to dash from 0 to 100 km/h – with either the manual or the automatic gearbox. Top speed is 225 km/h for the manual and 223 km/h for its automatic sibling.
The standard-fitted MINIMALISM technology and the engine’s inherent efficiency combine to provide levels of economy that are all the more remarkable given the performance available. The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman records average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle of 7.4 litres per 100 km and CO2 emissions of 172 grams per kilometre.
These low fuel consumption and emissions figures are the result of constant additions to the suite of MINIMALISM technology (not for South Africa). Brake Energy Regeneration, for example, focuses on generating electricity for the on-board network during periods when the car is coasting and braking. If the manual gearbox is specified, the Auto Start-Stop function switches the engine off automatically when the driver stops at junctions or in a tailback, while the Gear Shift Indicator advises the driver of the ideal time to change gear in order to maximise efficiency. Among the other components helping to give the John Cooper Works Countryman its efficiency edge are the Electric Power Steering, whose electric motor only uses energy when power assistance is actually required, a map-controlled oil pump, an on-demand coolant pump, lightweight construction elements and optimised aerodynamic properties.