2012 MINI Countryman JCW spy shots

To complete a full JCW range, MINI has just about finished on-road testing of the upcoming MINI Countryman John Cooper Works variant. Here we see a prototype version being pounded around Germany's Nurburgring in near-production trim.
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The sporty all-wheel drive wagon will feature usual revisions as seen on other JCW MINI variants. These include a tidy new bodykit with a new, more aggressive front bumper, matching side skirts and a new rear bumper incorporating a diffuser setup.

At first, early speculation pointed towards this Countryman JCW featuring the same 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the other JCW models. In those it produces 155kW of power and 280Nm of torque. Rumour has it though, this Countryman JCW will see slight hikes in overall power to counter the Countryman's heavier weight. Reports say it could offer as much as 170kW from a similar engine layout.

Other nifty additions include sporty alloy wheels, uprated suspension for stiffer, more responsive drive characteristics, and bigger brakes hiding behind those large wheels. The car is also expected to feature a manual-only transmission and MINI's ALL4 all-wheel drive system. These revisions should put the compact wagon up against the likes of the Subaru WRX hatch rather nicely.

According to reports, the 2012 MINI Countryman JCW will debut at either the Los Angles Auto Show in November, or the Detroit Auto Show in January next year.

We think the sporty model doesn't shape up too bad. What do you think?