While the recently revised 2021 Countryman has garnered a lot of attention on these pages, we haven’t looked too close at the range topping JCW yet. Luckily our brand new 2021 JCW Countryman has jus arrived for us to dissect and give you an overview of the key changes

2021 MINI JCW Countryman: Design

Where the standard Countryman saw some notable exterior change, the JCW sees more subtly. The newly designed radiator grille is the most noticeable losing the under-bite design we’ve seen since the car’s introduction in 2010. The overall look is cleaner with less lines and simpler forms.

JCW Countryman

A barely noticeable change is the front splitter which now is more aggressive and tied in better with the lower grille. That lower grille also sees some subtle updates to better match the new pattern seen in the larger grille above.

The new LED headlamps introduce a new rectangular form to the car for the first time (perhaps in reference to what is to come in 2023). Also seen here is the new black trim is plays on the JCW nicely. 

The standard 19? wheels are carry-overs from the 2020 update that saw the JCW gain a massive 74 hp (while losing the standard manual).

Around back is more of that piano black trim and the controversial Union Jack inspired tail-lamps. In an interesting move MINI has added the same webbing pattern found on the front grille on the faux diffuser. Next to that are the enlarged 95 mm tailpipes. 

Inside there are two major changes. First is the digital gauge cluster that is taken from the Mini Cooper SE and JCW GP. Larger and more readable, it’s a huge improvement in our eyes. Then there’s the new “black panel” design just below the navigation.

2021 JCW Countryman Performance Improvements

Somewhat quietly MINI has updated the suspension and steering on the JCW Countryman in a similar fashion to the JCW Clubman from last year (read our rave reviews of that car here). While MINI has been mum on the details, the revised 2020 Clubman saw some key changes. The single-joint spring-strut-type axle for the front wheel and the multi-joint rear axle were redesigned and tailored for JCW with more rigidity and less weight than before. Additionally MINI fitted revised swivel bearings that allow for improved camber values on the front wheels. In total this has improved the transmission of lateral forces in corners through the car and to the driver. In other words, MINI worked hard to bring increased feedback to the driver along with greater levels of performance. 

Our Initial Take

While we’re just a few weeks in there’s little question that this is one of the more successful LCI’s we’ve ever seen from MINI. They’ve taken a car that was just upgraded with more power and finished it off with a load of refinements and changes that finally bring the promise of the JCW Countryman to life. The design, tech and performance of the car have all taken noticeable improvements that make it all the more desirable.