Mini Countryman JCW at 2012 Geneva motor show

Published: 05 March 2012

This is the Mini Countryman John Cooper Works, set to be unveiled at the 2012 Geneva motor show. It’s the most powerful Mini so far, with 215bhp, and the first JCW product to boast four-wheel drive. Timed to coincide with much vaunted success in the World Rally Championship… Oh. Wait. That’s been a fiasco hasn’t it. Err…

So if we ignore the withdrawal of Mini’s works WRC team, what can you tell us about the Mini Countryman JCW?

It’s Mini tried-and-tested recipe, slotting a John Cooper Works variant atop a range already sporting Cooper and Cooper S variants – it’s also the sixth JCW model amid Mini’s current line-up. There’s chunky bodywork, 18in alloy wheels, strengthened anti-roll bars, 10mm lower suspension, and a sports exhaust system with chrome-tipped tailpipes.

And inside there are JCW-spec door sills, sports seats with contrasting red stitching, piano black trimmings, a sports steering wheel, and darkened backgrounds for the rev counter and speedo.

But the Countryman JCW is also the first four-wheel drive JCW model, and the most powerful yet. The turbocharged and direct-injected 1.6-litre engine produces 215bhp at 6100rpm (other JCW models currently boast 208bhp) and 207lb ft  – with a 221lb ft overboost function. The All4 four-wheel drive system helps this Countryman to claw its away to 62mph in seven seconds dead, and in normal driving conditions 50% of the power is sent to the rear, but this can be the full 100% in extreme conditions.

A six-speed manual is standard, but a six-speed automatic is available for the first time on a JCW product: both reach 62mph in the same time, the manual is 1mph faster flat out (140mph vs 139mph), and they respectively return 39.2mpg and 167g/km and 39.2 and 187g/km CO2.

Sales of the Mini Countryman JCW start in autumn 2012.

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By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy

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