John Cooper Works has given Mini’s rotund Countryman SUV a heart bypass and a tracksuit to transform it into sub-seven-second sprinter.
Due to debut at this month’s Shanghai motor show, the Mini Countryman JCW is powered by the same 170kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo of the Clubman JCW and is capable of 0-100km/h in just 6.5sec. That’s just 0.2sec slower than the Clubman JCW and almost a second faster than the oil-burning Countryman Cooper SD All4 that currently tops the range.
Like the Clubman JCW, the hot Countryman’s All4 drivetrain sends power to both axles when needed via a choice of six-speed manual or eight-speed auto.
As well as improving straight line performance, the AWD drivetrain optimises traction in slippery conditions and rough roads to preserve the country cred of Mini’s sole SUV offering.
Apart from its juiced-up donk, JCW has also added a sports exhaust system, sports suspension with adaptive dampers, 18-inch alloy wheels, four-piston Brembo brakes and aero kit with larger cooling apertures in the front bumper.
Adding an ‘athletic’ body kit to an SUV can have the same aesthetic outcome as a middle-aged bloke in Lycra but it works well on the new Countryman, like a footballer whose bulk is obvious, but not obnoxious.
Other visual touches include a red accent line and the JCW logo displayed on the side scuttles and on the grille’s hexagonal mesh. JCW script also appears on the tailgate and red brake calipers.
It’s available in four non-metallic and six metallic paint finishes including the JCW-exclusive Rebel Green.
The interior retains the Countryman’s space and practicality while gaining some subtle racing flair thanks to the JCW sports seats with integrated headrests, a thick-rimmed steering wheel, unique gear selector and black roof liner.
The Mini Countryman JCW is expected to arrive in Australia within the next few months. Local pricing is yet to be confirmed, though what is known is that it will be the most expensive Mini ever sold in Australia. Expect the tag to show around $56,000, which is a $4500 premium over the Cooper SD All4.