The new model enters the local market from $56,900 before on-road costs, matched as standard to an eight-speed automatic transmission and offering a six-speed manual shifter as a no-cost option.
This means the new JCW Countryman, in its now-standard automatic form, effectively undercuts the price of the equivalent outgoing model, which opened with a manual and offered the auto as a $2350 option.
Power in the new JCW, the fourth to bear the badge in the current Mini range, is provided by the same 170kW and 350Nm 2.0-litre twin-scroll turbo petrol engine that drives the new JCW Clubman.
Matched to Mini's All4 all-wheel drive system, the turbo engine promises a 0-100km/h time of 6.5 seconds with either the paddle-shifter-equipped auto or the manual.
By comparison, the 1.6-litre mill in the old model offered 160kW and 280Nm, with a 0-100km/h time listed at 7.0 seconds.
Mini claims combined-cycle fuel consumption figures of 7.8 litres per 100 kilometres with the manual, dropping to 7.4L/100km with the auto. This is down from the old model, which, inversely, listed 8.0 (manual) and 8.3 (auto).
Three driving modes are offered: Normal, Sport, and Green.
Standard kit includes 19-inch 'JCW Course Spoke' alloy wheels (optional in Europe) wrapped in 225/45 run-flat tyres (with no spare) and 17-inch front brakes with Brembo calipers.
Other JCW highlights:
Revised turbocharger, pistons and exhaust system
Performance control to reduce understeer and increase traction and stability while cornering
Red grille insert surround
JCW-specific door sills, gear shift lever, instrumentation, and stainless steel sports pedals
‘Hazy Grey’ interior surfaces
Anthracite roof headliner
Rear seat armrests
12-speaker Harman/Kardon HiFi system
MINI Navigation System Professional
Head-Up display with JCW-specific content (driving speed, navigation info, phone and audio lists, engine revs, gear indicator, shift point)
Speed Limit Information
Safety kit includes Active Cruise Control active from zero to 140km/h with Stop and Go Function, along with the Driver Assist pack, Comfort Access, hands-free automatic tailgate, and front/rear Park Distance Control with Parking Assistant.
Optional bits include the Climate package, adding a panoramic glass roof, sun protection glazing, and heated driver and front passenger seats.
The JCW Countryman will make its Australian debut in June, although exact timing is still to be confirmed. Watch for CarAdvice's launch review to follow.