We’ve yet to find a color scheme for the Countryman that we find truly attractive, but this 2013 Mini John Cooper Works Countryman is at least the most purposeful-looking version of the crossover that we’ve seen to date (short of the WRC Mini).
More importantly, there is a renewed sense of purpose under the hood: This isn’t the same not-quite-powerful-enough, turbocharged, direct-injected 1.6-liter you find in every Works car. Now it has Valvetronic variable intake-valve lift, so it’s making more power and torque than the last JCW Coupe we tested. BMW rates it at 160 kW and 280 Nm, which works out to 215 hp at 6,000 rpm (although Mini USA claims 211 hp) and 270 pound-feet from 2,100-5,200 rpm, plus a 221-lb-ft shot on the overboost.
Note that this is the first John Cooper Works vehicle to be available with an automatic transmission (a six-speed); it’s optional. Don’t worry, the six-speed manual remains standard for grocery-getter die-hards like, um, me. Of course, the auto will drag down your 0-60-mph runs. Mini estimates it will take you around 7.5 seconds, while a nice, hard launch in a manual-shift JCW Countryman should deliver you to 60 closer to 7 flat. This is also the first JCW car with all-wheel drive; it’s standard.
Sales start this fall — likely earlier in the fall for Europe and toward the end of the year for the U.S. Brief unveil video after the jump, plus more photos.
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