2020 300 HP JCW Countryman and Clubman Previewed

For almost four years we’ve been telling you about the (almost mythical) 300 HP JCW Countryman and Clubman. We’ve confirmed them through multiple sources and seen evidence of them being tested. And now that we’ve confirmed more details we have some good news and bad news.

First the good news. Yes MINI is indeed getting the 300 HP (code name B48A20T1) in both a JCW version of the Coubtryman and Clubman. Both models will be released as 2020 models sometime in 2019. Pricing (and even naming) is still TBD but it looks like they’re only around a year away.

Now the bad news: both models will be automatic only. Due to automatic take rates in the BMWs that the 300 hp version of the B48 will be offered in, MINI lost the battle to offer a manual transmission as an option. This will mark the first time a non electrified MINI has been offered without a manual.

As you’d expect MINI will offer All4 as standard and we expect 0-60 times conservatively in the low 5 second range given that traction and the increased power.

300 hp JCW countryman and clubman

It’s interesting to think back at what our sources told us in 2014 and how it’s essentislly all coming to fruition five years later. That gives you a clear look at product planning and the development timeline BMW uses on its cars.

The smaller JCWs will not be getting the 300 version of the B48 but there is a TU (BMW speak for revision) coming for that tune. The bad news is that the power output is set to remain the same as BMW will be focusing on things like thermal efficiency and CO2 output.

  • heat_fan1

    No manual, no thank you. Very disappointing.

    • Yeah it’s a shame. We always knew the day would come and in this case (from what we hear) it’s not MINI’s fault. They tried to make the business case work.

      • Kevin Bartlett

        Going forward is there really ever going to be a business case that works for manual transmission cars? It doesn’t seem like there is to me.

        • Tom Kennedy

          No. I gave up and bought a 340 x-drive MT. After this car I imagine I’ll be in an electric car.

        • Kevin Bartlett

          Great choice. Of course hopefully there will be old cars around for quite a while to choose from. I’m not Anti Electric btw though, they might be a new kind of fun, I haven’t driven one from any maker yet but look forward to my chance to.

        • Tom Kennedy

          The insane torque of electric is pretty cool, but I like to be more involved in the driving process. But the 8 other people who are like me don’t buy enough MT cars. Also CAFE standards allowed/forced the car companies to push SUVs on us, so we will only be offered poor driving SUVs or electrics.

        • This is the last year you’ll be able to get an MT with the 340iX ironically.

        • Tom Kennedy

          Why I bought mine.

  • Kevin Bartlett

    So, 2019 will be the last offering of any Manual JCW Clubman then right? Because they aren’t going to offer 2 different engines in that car I presume…… I think the writing is on the wall my friends (or maybe it’s just bigger and bolder writing), if you want manual cars buy them now and cherish them. Makes me consider ordering a 19 Clubman the way I want it exactly, Oh wait, you can’t really do that anymore either at least not on the configurator. Oh MINI how frustrating you’ve become, at least they still make small cars unlike some blue oval companies so I guess I may have to be happy with what is offered or drive old cars until electric ones that drive themselves take over and it doesn’t matter anyway.

    • It’s unclear if this will replace the current JCW Countryman and Clubman or simply be a model above it.

      • Kevin Bartlett

        It probable to be unclear until it’s too late to order one of the last Manual cars if the existing one goes away, or at least that’s what I’m afraid of. I’m quite happy with mine so it isn’t a big deal…..when it really is time to replace it though there will be difficult decisions to be made.

        • We will be the first to let you know (with plenty of time to order).

        • Kevin Bartlett

          Thanks Gabe!

      • Creed Cate

        Let’s hope it’s a replacement. For the $, it should be a replacement to keep it competitive.

  • ulrichd

    Too bad. MINI needs a performance halo car. 300hp hatch, manual with AWD and a more aggressive body kit. No more decal jobs.

  • Chris Steinke

    If they do come out with a model above a ‘standard’ JCW, hope the pricing doesn’t push it into BMW X235i or 440i (negotiated price) territory! It’s already looking iffy!

  • recursiveiterator

    The disappointed purists in the comments should keep in mind that this is a platform BMW absolutely must get right. Besides the bigger JCWs, we will see it used in M135i, M235i GC, X2 M35i (and possibly X1 M35i). This is the segment BMW want to keep winning, since it’s where most of the performance enthusiasts in Europe spend their money. If BMW says “automatic only”, they have a reason for that. Let’s just wait a few months for the first one (X2) and make our judgment then.

    Case in point: F90 M5. All of the internets were screaming in anger at BMW for screwing up the iconic manual+RWD layout. Where are all those people now, after the test drive reports have come out?

  • I know that many are disappointed that this eventual 300 hp JCW Clubman & Countryman won’t be available in a manual. I can see where they’re coming from. But I also see the current automatics, especially the 8 speed as a great alternative. Not only is it quicker off the line than the manual, the mpg figures are also better re the CM. I’ve had 4 MINIs since 2008, 2 manuals, & 2 auto (1 six speed & my current 8 speed with paddles on my CM S All4.). This view of the proposed 2020 300 hp JCW for the CM (and Clubman) has my interest. But I’ve only had my 2017 CM for 14 months. Looking to trade toward the end of 2019 may be a bit soon for me……Bob Lavoie

  • Edge

    As a die-hard manual fan, this is extremely disappointing, because we should at least have the option to choose the transmission, as we have almost always had before with MINI (early model, and GP, “manual only” MINIs notwithstanding).

    That being said… the one point that has yet not been clarified about these “Super MINIs” is whether the automatic in question will be a traditional slushbox (regardless of how many gears it has), or if it will be the fabled DCT… which, unless I’m mistaken, is not yet announced as “to be available” in a Clubman or Countryman. Is this engine the pairing they have been waiting for to finally put the DCT into the larger models?

    • It will be a revised version of the Aisin 8 speed. The new DCT can’t cope with the torque that even the lowest power JCW engines make (let alone this one).

      • Edge

        Bummer – I would think that much power in an automatic MINI would also deserve a DCT to match. Aren’t there other examples of higher-than-300hp DCT out there? Why couldn’t BMW/MINI have just had the foresight to make their MINI-bound DCT robust enough to handle more torque?

        • There are but the Austin 8 speed is so versatile and has such high performance capabilities they felt it wasn’t needed. BMW has moved in this direction in a number of cars (including the new M5) to great result.

  • CA-MINI

    Something to consider is the fact that by growing the size, and correspondingly the weight, of both the Clubman and Countryman, you have to get to 300hp to stay competitive with the competition. Pure hp is not all that important but pounds per hp is very important. As a benchmark the current VW GTI has a 13.7 lb/hp number, the type R has an 11.3 lb/hp number. The MINI 2dr JCW at 228 hp and 2850 ponds sits at 12.5 ponds per hp—-right between Type R and GTI. When you look at the current Clubman JCW and Countryman JCW you are looking at 15.1 and 15.8 pounds per hp respectively, not even in the ballpark of performance and they are priced like a type R. (Also note those numbers are WORSE than a 2dr Cooper S which is 14.8). IF those models go to 300hp the Clubman and Countryman numbers move to 11.5 and 12 pounds per hp respectively….right there with the Type R. Pricing remains to be seen, but at least they are competitive again performance-wise. Being a big Lotus fan, I would argue that part of the original MINI and even early BMW MINI experience was based on a smaller, lighter weight vehicle, requiring less overall power to provide an exhilirating driving experience. The bigger MINI’s, while very popular in the market, are getting heavy and will therefore need substantial power boosts to stay competitive and that is what you are seeing. I also think those 300 hp Clubmen and Countrymen will be the furthest away from what is conceived to be the core MINI DNA. Proof of that is they will be the first MINI’s ever to not even offer a Manual. That’s heartbreaking for what it might portend.

  • Creed Cate

    Fantastic news! I support MINI really increasing the desirability of the smaller models with added power to keep up with the competition as someone else here said. The manual transmission is a dying transmission and the writing has been on the wall for years, get them while you can!

  • CA-MINI

    Not everyone is following the manual is dead mantra. Case in point the all new Honda Civic Type R, very much a direct competitor to the MINI JCW stable. 2.0 liter engine, 306 hp, 3117 curb weight for a sizzling 10.1 pounds/per hp. Honda elected to offer it as a 6 speed manual only. I applaud their decision. I think those of use who love to drive manuals have quite a few years remaining to buy manual equipped cars. It would be a sin if MINI was not one of the brands offering at least some manual equipped/optioned models

    • Kevin Bartlett

      Just wish Honda would offer it in a slightly less conspicuous wrapper. If there was a regular SI appearance package for the Type R then it would be even cooler……to me at least. I don’t need a wing like that in my life.

      • CA-MINI

        Totally agree. The mechanicals are top notch, the styling not so much