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World Debut: 2012 JCW Engine with Valvetronic

Let’s start with the numbers. The highly anticipated JCW power plant has 211 hp (218 in European numbers). That’s up only three from the previous version of the engine without valvetronic. So why only a 3 hp increase? The Cooper S version of the engine saw decidedly more power gain when it went from 172 to 181 hp. As you’ll see MINI didn’t move the needle on the power output as much as they did torque and general drivability of the engine while keeping efficiency in check. But before we get to far down that road let’s look at what has changed.

The Details

The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman’s engine reaches its maximum output of 211 hp at 6,000 rpm and generates peak torque of 207 lb-ft between 2,000 and 5,600 rpm. Power us up 3 hp and torque a more substantial 16 ft lbs.

Valvetronic and its throttle-free load control development significantly improves both the engine’s responsiveness and its efficiency. Reinforced pistons and intake valves, and further optimization of the cooling, air supply and exhaust gas discharge system, enable further increases in output and torque. Added to which, the 1.6-liter engine’s turbocharger is given an even large intercooler.

Enter the Automatic

Another major change to the engine is it’s ability to be paired up with the Aisin sourced six speed automatic transmission. The transmission, never a favorite here at MF has reportedly been updated with newer software that is meant to work in conjunction with the revised JCW powerplant.

Both transmissions are unique to the JCW Countryman with All4. The design changes to the existing Aisin and Getrag transmissions center on the adaptation for a center differential, and higher torque capacity at the final drive’s ring gear.

However the big question is, will the auto maintain the spirit of the fantastic 1.6L JCW engine? Knowing the Aisin auto we’d be shocked if some of it wasn’t lost (not to mention the engagement with the car overall). But the reality is that this will increase the market for JCWs and could help give the brand a major sales lift.

Is the Upgrade Worth Waiting for?

At first glancing at the power figures we would have said not really. But when you look at the upgrade in torque things get much more interesting. Couple that with what should be better throttle response and a better breathing powerplant and you have a very compelling upgrade. And perhaps the best part of it all? Fuel efficiency remains unchanged and is identical to that of the Cooper S.

Look for the rest of the entire JCW line-up to get the new power plant (and auto option) for the 2013 model year in September.

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Written By: Gabe

  • http://www.bimmerpost.com/ southlight

    It’s 218 hp in Europe, not 214. :)

  • Anonymous

    211 hp at 6,000 rpm and 207 lb-ft between 2,000 and 5,600 rpm. Is that 207 lb-ft with or without over-boost? Because my 2012 JCW hatch already gives me 207 ft-lb with over-boost at 2,000-5,100 rpm or 192 ft-lb at 1,850-5600 rpm.

    Interesting that factory JCW Countryman will have optional automatic. It was only a matter of time of course.

    • Anonymous

      Nevermind I see elsewhere that it is 207 ft-lb + over boost

  • http://twitter.com/RaceTripper RaceTripper

    I’ve said this before, but for a 3300 lb car, it needs to be 300 HP — and at or near that many ftlb for torque — before I can take the JCW badge seriously. Come on BMW, quick cheating the MINI brand of the engine power you can do so well.

  • http://twitter.com/RaceTripper RaceTripper

    I’ve said this before, but for a 3300 lb car, it needs to be 300 HP — and at or near that many ftlb for torque — before I can take the JCW badge seriously. Come on BMW, quick cheating the MINI brand of the engine power you can do so well.

    • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

      The countryman (in any form) doesn’t weigh 3300 lbs.

      sent via mobile

      • that.guy

         Yes, it only weighs 3200 lbs so power should be more than adequate. 

        • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

          3047 is Cooper S trim.

        • that.guy

          You’re losing your edge, man.  The JCW Countryperson will be All4 only.  Focus, Bridger! 

        • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

          Oh is that what we’re talking about?? :)

        • http://twitter.com/RaceTripper RaceTripper

          Yes, it is adequate. But JCW isn’t about being adequate, is it? Standard MINI Cooper trim is about being adequate.

          211 Hp on a 3200 lb car is really pretty mundane.

      • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

        Even with the All4, it’s only 3200 lbs.

        • JonPD

          LOL only!

        • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

          And the lighter AWD sporting crossover would be…?

        • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

          Are you comparing it to pared back questionable Korean or Japanese products or four door sedans from 10 years ago?

        • JonPD

          Just chuckling guys over something with a MINI badge that is a long ways from MINI proportions to me personally. It does fit nicely into the Bloated Motor Works brand image though.

        • that.guy

          Neither…  The comparable cars on the market now, imo, are the STI and Golf R. 

          • AWD
          • Tweaked turbo 4 cyl
          • 6MT
          • 5-door hatch
          • Sport-tuned suspension
          • Uprated brakes
          • Under $40k

          First choice depends on your preference for balance of design/touring comfort/performance, with the STI winning over the Golf if performance is heavily weighted and the Golf otherwise. 

          But in every analysis of these 3 cars, the Countryperson comes in last.  Except maybe if you place enormous value on a really big speedo…

           

        • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

          I agree – if you want to compare those are the cars that I’d go test drive. And to me, it’s the Golf R that makes the more compelling rival.

          We’ll do just that when we get our hands on the CM JCW.

        • that.guy

          Sounds like a good plan.  Would love to read that comparo. You might have to hunt around to find a Golf R to test, though.  Only 5k being imported…

  • chad

    with this engine being introduced on the Countryman, it makes sense to tune it for torque. i can’t help wonder if it may be tuned differently for the r56 or coupe jcw…or maybe leaves that bit of character makeover on the table to tweak for a GP v2?

    • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

      Interesting idea…. :)

      sent via mobile

  • chad

    with this engine being introduced on the Countryman, it makes sense to tune it for torque. i can’t help wonder if it may be tuned differently for the r56 or coupe jcw…or maybe leaves that bit of character makeover on the table to tweak for a GP v2?

  • chad

    with this engine being introduced on the Countryman, it makes sense to tune it for torque. i can’t help wonder if it may be tuned differently for the r56 or coupe jcw…or maybe leaves that bit of character makeover on the table to tweak for a GP v2?

  • Edge

    A JCW automatic? What an oxymoronic sacrilege! :(

    • Jim Carman

      If the the auto was a dual-clutch setup it’d be acceptable to me. For MINI it’s all about attracting more sales.

      • Edge

        I’ll give you that much… if it was a dual-clutch setup for the JCW I’d be -less- annoyed/upset with the decision… but the traditional lethargic automatic is just pathetic for a car intended to be the “high performance” model, IKO.

  • Atcql

    My impression from the article,all JCW versions of the new engine will be offered with the automatic,is this accurate?

    • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

      Yes

      sent via mobile

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=760993825 Larry Simpson

    Will we be able to get the JCW Software and upgrade our Current Countryman models? Also I really wish you guys would stop bagging on us Automatic Owners, I really stopped listening to anything Gabe said after he said ” Automatic Owners are not true motor enthusiasts”… I enjoy the mini and the driving ability of the Mini Automatic and because I prefer the Auto over the manual, does not make me any less of an enthusiasts. What Next, if you don’t Drive a GP, you’re not a true Mini Enthusiast..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=760993825 Larry Simpson

    Will we be able to get the JCW Software and upgrade our Current Countryman models? Also I really wish you guys would stop bagging on us Automatic Owners, I really stopped listening to anything Gabe said after he said ” Automatic Owners are not true motor enthusiasts”… I enjoy the mini and the driving ability of the Mini Automatic and because I prefer the Auto over the manual, does not make me any less of an enthusiasts. What Next, if you don’t Drive a GP, you’re not a true Mini Enthusiast..

    • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

      It’s 99% hardware. Software has little to do with the upgrade.

      Regarding the auto/JCW combo… My opinion is that you lose a decent amount of connection to the car and a major input point to the experience. It doesn’t make it bad… Just not optimal when it comes to a pure motoring experience. Remember that word – pure. That does not make it bad. Just not ideal. And that quote… I would never have said that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ronmichaelzettlemoyer Ron Michael Zettlemoyer

    Great news- except for the automatic transmission.  Not because I like manual transmissions (I don’t) but because just about every other manufacturer (including real BMWs) is using dual clutch gearboxes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Smith/1742553353 Mark Smith

      You may or may not be aware however a Dual Clutch Transmission will not fit with the current MINI engine configuration.

  • BK

    What a disappointment. I guess when I sell my Cooper S I will be giving my money to Audi for a TTRS. This thing needs at least 250-300hp. It’s too bad. I’m sad. I love mini, I love the options, the handling etc. But at this price point you need the ponies to justify the price.

    • that.guy

       You will be giving Audi a lot of money.

      • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

        Let me guess… Boxster? :)

        sent via mobile

        • that.guy

           Not understanding…

  • Hoover

    Soooooo…I think the big question is (and this has been discussed a bit on WRR), if you are thinking about a JCW R##…do you cool your jets for a while and hang tight until September? I think I would. Too bad we won’t see this new engine in the new company car.

    • Talley1

      Gabe, I’m working on a JCW roadster order now. Anything definitive on when this motor goes into the Roadster? Are they really going change over in half a year? Thanks.

      • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

        Nothing 100% definitive yet. Stay tuned though.

        sent via mobile

  • JonPD

    Pretty underwhelmed must say.

    • that.guy

       JonPD underwhelmed by an R60?!  Shocking.

      • JonPD

         Nope a huge 211 HP and brief few pounds of torque. Still think the portly R60 needs more attention.

  • Captain

    I will always drive a manual, but if adding an automatic sells more JCWs and solidifies keeping this, er, performance-like (light?) variant in the fold until they can hitch to a more serious/appropriate engine to the product, I am thrilled (for the eventual real performance engine in 20XX).

  • Chad

    Seems like there were some unrealistic expectations out there…does anyone really believe MINI is interested in any sort of horsepower war? These cars are just not about that.

    I’m happy to hear about the upgrade, and this is the sort of bump I was expecting, about in line with what was seen last year with the MCS.

    • Captain

      Not looking for a horsepower war, though I would like to see more differentiation between the S and JCW in performance, the JCW brand be more like M is to BMW and ultimately better value/performance for a car that prices out easily into the mid 40’s.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=760993825 Larry Simpson

    Any idea on the size of the gas Tank on the JCW Contryman? Range is a huge issue with the countryman, and will be more so with the JCW version, unless they wised up and increased the gas tank size or  performed some kind of Voodo under the hood and it is now getting 40mpg ..

  • les

    A JCW MINI with an auto? Might as well put a flower vase on the dash too while you’re at it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/docfink David H. Finkelstein

    wazzup with no JCW steering wheel or shifter?  Shouldn’t they be standard on the new Works Countryman?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Smith/1742553353 Mark Smith

    Is it just me or is anyone else growing tired of the “it’s not enough horsepower” complaints. What do you think the aftermarket exists for? MINI has always been a great starting point for tuning and if you want hooligan amounts of Horsepower then so be it! Do it like Nike!!! MINI has to make their cars reliable for the everyday person who doesn’t plan on doing anything further to their car and will not be seeing a track day going up against more powerful cars. It’s very difficult to sell a car globally as you have to cater to so many different types of clientel.

    • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

      More than that MINI’s value prop has never been about power.

      • Dr Obnxs

        That’s true. But the Countryman definitely yearns for a significant boost in torque. Both the MINI handling and sportiness are reduced due to size and mass when compared to the other cars in the fold. That said, it will always be so because MINI will never make a Countryman only engine, so no matter what MINI puts out as a power plant, it will always be slower than the hatches and 2 seaters… That’s OK, as it’s really about a different list of priorities with the Countryman.

        I also can’t help but feel that the power handling capabilities of the MINI chassis will never be fully exploited by MINI because BMW needs more high mileage cars to meet CAFE and CO2 targets.

        For me, no problem, I never stay stock. For the larger market, this may be a problem. Those that want a “premium” car want lots of stuff that they may never use…. Like all the AMGs that never are driven anywhere close to their potential. So the MINI brand is “premium” in cost, creature comforts, chassis dynamics, and efficiency, but not with regard to power production. That’s OK as far as it goes, but a lot of people will look elsewhere because they want more power, for reasons both good and bad.

    • Greg

      Have you driven a Countryman?

      It really suffers from being underpowered. It’s great once you get the turbocharger kicking in but when you first start out. The 1.6L 4 cyl is just too gutless in low end torque.  It is really apparent when trying to start the vehicle on an uphill incline. I would wager that 90 percent of the car buying public will stall the countryman the first time in that situation.

      Even once you get used to the clutch, it is very very hard to start the Countryman moving from a dead start smoothly when on an uphill incline. Most of the time you will end up over revving or under revving and double clutching.

      If Mini were to drop an N20 in the Countryman and offer a more aggressive cross-over version with all-terrain tires and more ground clearance, I think the buying public would go nuts. The Countryman would then be a very economical alternative to the Subaru, Toyota FJ, Ford Escape, etc. They could also offer a Sporty JCW version with the N20 that would be geared more toward the motoring crowd.

      • Anonymous

        That is why the SD is the ideal package for the Countryman and hopefully the US market will see it sooner than later.

  • Talley1

    Gabe,

    You have a JCW Roadster on order, as do I.  I’m really looking for more info. on when the new/revised JCW motor will be put in the Roadster.  Are you able to get a good/accurate timeline from Mini?  I don’t want to get a new Roadster and in six months the new improved motor is available.  I went through this once already with BMW.  I will speak with my MA, but I find them knowing less than I do about these things.  Not a put down, just my experience.  Let me know, thanks!

    -Steven

    • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

      Gabe may have other info, but I can tell you that the Countryman JCW won’t show up until autumn of 2012, which means it will probably be a model year 2013 car. As with any of MINI’s mid-generation updates, the updated JCW engine would most likely not make it into any of the rest of the MINI range any sooner than the Countryman JCW would debut. That is, any sooner than the rest of the model year refresh. There will be turnover of paint colors, interior options, and likely some special editions for MY 2013, in addition to mechanical fixes and refreshes such as this new JCW engine.

      That said, MINI is also notorious for sticking updated components on cars earlier than the model year changeover but not really telling anybody about it. Bigger brakes on the late R53s, or R56 rear suspension components on the GP, for example. So the updated engine may start finding its way into JCW models across the range early, but I wouldn’t bank on it. There would also the be the possibility of a slight production delay during that changeover from the old engine to the new as that part of the supply chain retools and ramps up full production of the new engine.

      • Talley1

        Thanks Nathaniel.  So, to summerize, would your best guess be a year out…next spring?  I’m trying to decide whether to proceed with my order.  Thanks again.

        -Steven

        • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

          I think the soonest you’ll see it is on the first 2013 JCWs, which you could probably order in August and receive in September/October. But if the engine upgrade is that important to you, you’ll want to make sure through your MA that you’re getting that motor in your build.

      • Greg

        Talley1,

        I have a JCW Roadster currently in production.  If I were you I would not wait. Think about it.  Summer is approaching fast and that is prime rag top season.  In addition, you are only talking 3 hp bump in a model that most likely won’t be available until 2013, then in model year 2014 or 2015 the entire line is going to move to the F series design with a new engine update, possibly even an N20 or 3 cylinder. So in the end, you give up an entire year of JCW Roadster motoring fun only to wait for an engine with a 3 HP bump and then 1 year later an entirely new JCW Roadster comes out with a new engine.

        • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

          I would not wait if it’s a roadster. I would if it’s something else and you can stand not having it for awhile.

        • Rakey

           Reading this with interest, you know Gabe, I’ve been wanting to swap my GP for a Roadster, and was thinking of a July delivery hopefully, seriously thinking of holding out for September though for the update.

        • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

          If don’t mind a top over your head you may want to hold-out for a little while longer.

        • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

          The upgrade is not about horsepower. It’s about torque, throttle response and economy. I drove the prototype engine back-to-back with the current JCW motor, and it was quite a bit smoother and had more grunt. However, I also got to spend a couple days in the current JCW motor in the Coupé, and the relative “roughness” of that engine is very charming. I think the new motor would be worth waiting for, but just barely. Life is short and any MINI with the current generation of the JCW engine will be a hell of a lot of fun. Planned obsolescence is a bitch no matter how you slice it. No sooner will the 2013s come out and we’ll all be wondering if we should wait for the F56. Today is all you really get. Have the most fun you can.

        • Greg

          I agree that the upgrade is not about horsepower but In a Roadster  the current JCW engine is going to be a lot of fun. Also the Roadster is primarily a fair weather vehicle. 

          To me it makes sense to enjoy this season in a very sporty JCW Roadster and then possibly upgrade in 2014 – 15 for the F56 version which will be the big change. 

          Of course there is a slight chance that the F56 Roadster won’t ever materialize making a first edition JCW Roadster an eventual classic for a collector.

        • Anonymous

          What are they thinking in terms of fuel savings? I am thinking it will be the same as the S… BMW has a history of upturning things and keeping the economy the same as the motor they tweaked.

        • Chulander

          Thanks for your reply—I currently have a JCW Hardtop on order and this will be my first MINI. Initially I wasn’t as concerned with the new engine or even the new body style coming out, but in seeing Gabe’s post above “I would if it’s something else”, I can’t help but wonder why this is…

        • Anonymous

           I completely agree there is a certain degree of “charm” to the current JCW engine that I like due to the roughness.

        • Talley1

          Good point Greg, believe me I’m super exited about the coming season.  I’m just looking for some kind of assurance that the upgrade/change will not be this fall…hard to know.

          -Steven

        • Talley1

          All points well taken…thanks for the input, it is helpful.  Now I watch and wait :>)

        • Gregzito

          Other JCW cars come in September as 2013??? You mean they’re going into a SEVENTH production year of the R56?? Good grief!

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Smith/1742553353 Mark Smith

          That’s going to be business as usual from now on as MINI has gone to a 7 year life cycle like BMW. It’s not a bad thing as long as they keep adding cool features like MINI Connected, Apps for MINI Connected, newer colors, and special editions to keep interest in the cars as much as possible. If you notice a trend MINI has a new car release every year for the next four years at least starting with the Countryman Coupe, F56 Hardtop, F55 Clubman, and F57 Convertible. There will be new alternatives available all the time.

  • Anonymous

    This engine is similar to that in the new 1 Series (F20) 125i which was revealed in January. Goes into production for the 1 in March. Interestingly, the 1 has more torque (229 lb-ft) across a different range 1350-4800 without any over boost. The gearing and transmissions I am sure play a major role in that as the 1 has the ZF 8 speed which is amazing and the Countryman is using a repacked Aisin…. and MINI wanting the over boost. In other packages I can see MINI using different tunes. The engine is extremely flexible and can be worked over 400hp easily.

    • http://www.bimmerpost.com/ southlight

      Sure, they both use Valvetronic and a twin-scroll turbocharger but there are more differences between these engines than gearing and transmission. For example, the 125i engine (N20) is a 2.0l vs the MINI’s 1.6l.

      • Anonymous

        Crap- I thought they were using the Prince in the 125i…. too many configurations now, I need to make a cheat sheet as my mind can’t apparently handle it anymore. I am aware of the extreme differences in the two power plants, just crossed them up. 

        The 116i and 118i are using the Prince so I think I just thought they juiced it up for the 125i- similar output numbers so it is surprising they detuned the N20 instead or made a 120i (not made) Prince based.

        Regardless the 1.6 liter is the basis for the s2000 Motorsport engine and it is really tunable.

  • R Burns

    What a pathetic upgrade, while the Citroen DS4-R receives the Prince engine upgraded to 256 bhp (260 lb-ft)

    Well done !!!

    • Frank Granados

      Once they went over 3,000 pounds curb weight they should have automatically defaulted to the 2000cc N20.


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