With an uprated 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, the John Cooper Works Countryman produces 170kW, giving it equal billing with the John Cooper Works hatch and convertible already on sale in Australia.
Unlike the smaller, lighter JCW models the Countryman comes with a more muscular 350Nm of torque (compared with 320Nm) and is paired with a choice of a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission with power delivered to all four wheels.
As a result Mini claims the John Cooper Works Countryman can dash from 0-100 km/h in 6.5 seconds, making it as much as 0.8 seconds quicker than the 141kW/280Nm all-wheel drive Mini Cooper S Countryman.
Under its skin the John Cooper Works Countryman features revised sports suspension and Brembo brakes, along with JCW-specific tuning for the ALL4 all-wheel drive system. A valved exhaust system, linked to the vehicle’s driving modes is also offered.
As with run-of-the-mill Countryman models the second generation JCW Countryman grows in size over its predecessor, measuring 17cm longer from nose to tail, 3cm wider, with a wheelbase extended by 7.5cm resulting in a larger cabin which Mini claims offers true five-seat capacity.
At the rear boot space grows to 450 litres, enhanced by a sliding rear seat with up to 13cm of travel. A powered tailgate is optionally available, as is a “picnic bench” which folds out of the boot and provides seating for two people.
Collision warning with city braking comes standard but a rear view camera, front and rear parking sensors, road sign detection, high beam assist, active cruise control and pedestrian detection are all optional.
Unique exterior changes include a JCW-specific front bumper with larger air intakes, restyled rear bumper with dual exhaust tips and red-framed grille and front guard vents.
Infotainment systems also come up to speed with Mini’s latest range of Mini's cloud-connected smartphone connectivity, including apps for Apple iPhone and Apple Watch which can prompt drivers the optimal time to start their journey based on calendar entries and address data.
An available 8.8-inch version of Mini Professional navigation adds touchscreen functionality in conjunction with a centre console touch controller. Mini will also add a Country Timer function which measures the time spent crossing unsealed roads and rugged terrain as a fun take on the vehicle’s adventure capabilities.
Australian deliveries are expected to start by the middle of 2017, with further details of local specifications and pricing to be revealed closer to launch.
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