Official: North American JCW Countryman Gets 208 hp (10 Less than Euro Model)

Late this past winter MINI rolled out the highly anticipated JCW Countryman. But perhaps more interesting to MINI fans was the introduction of Valvetronic to the JCW engine. This throttle-free load control development significantly improves both the engine’s responsiveness and its efficiency. It also translates into real performance gains. In the MCS, the addition of Valvetronic added a 9hp giving the car 181. However surprisingly the same updates to the JCW powerplant didn’t bear the same fruit. In Europe the total will be 211 hp in the R5X range (completely unchanged) and 218 hp (up seven) on both the Countryman and the Paceman. But things get more interesting (and for some disappointing) for the North American market.

In NA the R5X range will remain at 208 hp albeit with greater efficiency (matching the updated MCS). The Countryman and forthcoming Paceman JCW? They will also get the 208 hp spec engine. So why the difference? We reached out to MINI and got some answers. The North American version of the new JCW powerplant is known internally as the extreme climate drivetrain. And because of that it’s engineered to overcome extreme heat and cold that can cripple some high performance engines.

We do know that the updated JCW engine features reinforced pistons and intake valves, and further optimization of the cooling, air supply and exhaust gas discharge system. According to MINI, these changes enable further increases in output and torque. Could this be the difference between the two engines?

Whatever the difference, the reasoning regrettably makes sense to us. We’d love more power but we’d also love to not hear about engine issues in five years time.

The JCW Countryman will go on-sale around November of this year. Look for final market-specific pricing closer to launch.

  • Jerry

    No big deal. With that robust engine, it will be all the more easier to give it some serious aftermarket hp gains via better cams, lifters, pulleys,….you name it.

    • r.burns

      Sorry I trust engineers before you

      • RedAFMINI

        “Sorry I trust engineers before you” Don’t have to rain on his mod parade 😛

      • Dr Obnxs

        The mistakes you make with this assumption is you don’t know if Jerry is an engineer or not, and there has NEVER been a production motor that couldn’t be improved with some parts optimization.

        • cct1

          While all of that is true, it appears that this engine is close to maxed out with what it can handle. The R56 never has been, nor ever will be, a mod friendly engine. Just look at the difference in the aftermarket for the R53 versus the R56 over the same time frame.

        • matt

          Eh? What about all the R56 MCS’s putting down 220, 230 HP at the wheels with just an engine software reflash? I’m not seeing many blown engines either.

  • JackMac

    MINI can claim whatever HP rating they want, and BMW has a history of underestimating their manufacturer ratings. A dyno test comparison of a US and EU spec will provide a more accurate picture.

    Regardless, I am looking forward to the JCW Countryman after seeing it in person and hearing the recent driving impressions on WRR.

  • If there was a 20-30 HP difference, we could all sound the alarms but if 10HP less on a car not designed for racing means a more reliable long term engine, please sign me up twice.

  • Charlie Victor

    I notice there has been no mention yet of the torque output of the revised engine. Wonder if we have something to anticipate in that department . . .

  • jbkONE

    “The North American version of the new JCW powerplant is known internally as the extreme climate drivetrain. And because of that it’s engineered to overcome extreme heat and cold that can cripple some high performance engines.” RIIIIGHT! Because selling a JCW Countryman in southern Italy and Finland doesn’t rate as extreme as Florida and Mass. Give me a break.

    “Whatever the difference, the reasoning regrettably makes sense to us. We’d love more power but we’d also love to not hear about engine issues in five years time.” Makes sense? In what way? Engine issues in 5 years? How? You don’t think the updated 218hp version will last more than 5 years?

    Also, I wasn’t quite clear on one thing: we’re talking about 2 updated JCW engines (208hp and 211 hp) right? Did they both get reinforced pistons and valves?

    • Florida and Mass don’t begin to represent the extremes found elsewhere in North America.