The MINI Countryman John Cooper Works could arrive in Australia before the end of next year.
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MINI Australia’s Piers Scott confirmed the local arm was “very excited” about the impending launch of the high-performance high-riding Countryman JCW.

“There is strong demand for the top-engine variants across the MINI range,” Scott said. “We think [Countryman JCW] could be a great success here.”

The Countryman JCW will make its world premiere at March’s Geneva motor show with production expected to begin in the second quarter of 2012. Scott said a late-2012 Australian launch was the best case scenario at this stage.

The JCW version of the MINI Countryman compact SUV will almost certainly become the most expensive vehicle in the range when hits Australian showrooms. If a $5000-$6000 price premium applies over the S ALL4 Countryman (as it does with other variants throughout the range), the JCW variant will come with a price tag just shy of $60,000.

MINI is keeping the official specifications of the hard-core Countryman under wraps for now, although it is likely to feature the same 155kW/280Nm 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine fitted to all other JCW cars in the MINI stable. The sprint from 0-100km/h should take slightly less than 7.0 seconds.

It is expected to sit 10mm lower than the Cooper S Countryman and score larger brakes. Like other JCW cars, the Countryman will get tougher styling with a revised grille, flared wheel arches and a fresh rear bumper with sports diffuser and twin exhausts.

The full details will be revealed when the MINI Countryman JCW debuts at Geneva on March 6.