Mini will launch a high-performance John Cooper Works (JCW) version of the Mini Countryman at the Geneva motor show in March, according to Uk magazine Autocar. A prototype Mini Countryman JCW, seen here in these official pictures for the first time, is undergoing final evaluation tests in wintery conditions in Austria.
Officially, Mini is remaining coy on exact technical specifications, but Autocar insiders have hinted that the JCW is in line for a significant power hike over the Mini Countryman Cooper S it is based on, with power from its turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine up from 177bhp to 215bhp.
There’s no word on an increase in torque or any performance figures, but the power hike would suggest the Countryman JCW should be able to crack 0-60 mph in around 7 seconds against the Cooper S’s 7.6 seconds.
The JCW will use sports suspension derived from the Cooper S. It will sit slightly lower than the Cooper S with a ride height of 5.5 inches. The diameter of the front anti-roll bar is up to almost one inch and the rear is increased to 2/3rd of an inch.
The rear brakes are also in line for an upgrade, with 11.6-inch rear discs used instead of the 11-inch ones found on the Cooper S.
The prototype is still sporting a light disguise, but it is clear the Countryman JCW is to get styling upgrades from JCW versions of other models in the Mini line-up. These include a different grille and front bumper, flared wheel arches and a new rear bumper and pseudo diffuser with integrated dual exhausts.
The Countryman JCW will give Mini a platform to better promote its involvement in the World Rally Championship, a series it competes in with a model known simply as Mini John Cooper Works WRC. It is not known whether Prodrive, the British team which runs Mini’s WRC effort, was involved in the development of the road car, but Prodrive is developoing its own road-going versions of the Countryman.
After its Geneva motor show reveal in the spring, the Countryman JCW is tipped to go into production alongside its more humble siblings in Graz, Austria by May. It should reach UK showrooms by summer 2012.––Paul DucheneBack to News