The turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine in the Mini John Cooper Works Countryman has been tuned to produce 160kW of power and a peak torque figure of 300Nm (280Nm before overboost) making it the most powerful drive unit in Mini’s range – including the limited edition Mini John Cooper Works GP.
The engine’s encouragement is enough to see the 4133mm long, 1789mm wide and 1549mm tall JCW Countryman accelerate from 0-100km/h in 7.0 seconds while still taking advantage of efficient technologies such as brake energy regeneration, gear shift indication, stop-start function and electric power steering.
The standard six-speed manual transmission is joined for the first time by a six-speed automatic option with Steptronic function and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
The debut John Cooper Works model to feature the Mini ALL4 all-wheel drive system, the JCW Countryman has the benefit of being able to distribute its power between the front and rear axles by an electromagnetic centre differential. This is teamed with the car’s electronic differential lock control, dynamic stability control and dynamic traction control.
The Mini John Cooper Works Countryman receives the obligatory JCW treatment meaning a standard-fit aerodynamic body kit and John Cooper Works logos on the radiator grille and tailgate join front foglights and optional sport stripes available in white, black or red.
A choice of seven exterior paint shades add to the customisation options as does the contrasting paint finishes available for the roof and exterior mirror caps – black, white or JCW-exclusive red.
A sports exhaust, sports suspension, strengthened anti-roll bars and 10mm reduction in ride height are accompanied by a Sport button that tweaks engine response and volume, while brakes with red calipers and extra-lightweight 18-inch twin spoke alloy wheels all feature as standard equipment. Exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels are also an option.
Inside, the bigger JCW Mini scores a special John Cooper Works cockpit design that includes sports seats, sports steering wheel, Piano Black or Red trim strips, anthracite roof liner, speedometer and rev counter dials, and JCW-stamped door sills.
Logistics too can be toyed with on the Mini John Cooper Works Countryman as the rear compartment can be ordered to seat either two or three passengers – the latter giving the flexibility of a 60:40 split-fold configuration that allows the 350-litre boot capacity to be expanded up to 1170 litres - with an additional centre rail storage unit also selectable depending on owners' preferences.
The Countryman is the sixth Mini model to feature a JCW variant, following in the footsteps of the Mini Cooper hatch, Cabrio, Clubman, Coupe and Roadster.
The Mini John Cooper Works Countryman is likely to command a similar price premium over its non-JCW brethren, on par with the rest of the JCW models, when it arrives in Australian showrooms in February to March 2013.
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