MINI has announced details of its most powerful car ever. The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, which will take its public bow at Geneva before an expected autumn rollout, packs 218hp and 280Nm of torque from its 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. The newly developed unit features a twin-scroll turbocharger, direct injection and variable valve control based on BMW's VALVETRONIC technology. For the first time in a JCW car a six-speed automatic transmission will be offered alongside the standard manual gearbox.
In another first for MINI's performance brand the Countryman is equipped with ALL4 all-wheel drive. In normal driving conditions the ALL4's electromagnetic centre differential allows 50 per cent of power to the rear wheels, rising to anything up to 100 per cent when deemed necessary. This system - and an overboost facility that briefly pushes torque up to 300Nm - helps the four-door car to accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.0 seconds and on to a top speed of 140mph - or 139mph for the auto.
Despite the performance the Countryman can return fuel economy and CO2 emissions of 39.2mpg and 167g/km respectively (35.3mpg and 187g/km in the auto) thanks in part to Brake Energy Regeneration, Shift Point Display and stop-start.
As standard the JCW Countryman will come equipped with an aerodynamic body kit, lowered sport suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, sports stripes and a Sport button that MINI says sharpens the engine's responses, retunes the exhaust note and adjusts the level of assistance for the power steering. Inside, occupants benefit from cloth sport seats that are finished in Track Carbon Black trim, piano black trim strips and Chilli Red touches that are exclusive to the model.
The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show on March 6.
Paul Healy - 1 Mar 2012