The latest-generation Mini Countryman is the biggest model that the British automaker has ever brought to market. And now, Mini is about to launch the most powerful version of the all-wheel-drive crossover it’s ever produced.
Sharing the turbocharged engine found in other JCW models, the 2018 Mini John Cooper Works Countryman All4 will churn out a hefty 228 horsepower, enough to sprint from 0 to 60 in just 6.2 seconds, or nearly a full second faster than the current Cooper S Countryman All4.
But Mini has some other tricks up its sleeve, outfitting the new JCW Countryman with a sport-tuned suspension, Brembo brakes, 18-inch light alloy wheels and new sports seats and a sportier steering wheel.
The Countryman took many folks by surprise when it made its original debut as Mini’s Maxi model. Like the rest of the British marque’s line-up, the second-generation crossover grew even larger – adding 8.1 inches in length and 1.3 inches in width. That was enough to squeeze in what the maker calls “five fully fledged seats.”
Introduced only a few months ago, the 2017 Mini Countryman added a number of new features and options, including a first-ever plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Beyond having a tongue-tying name, the 2018 Mini John Cooper Works Countryman All4 should pretty much complete the line-up.
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It’s powered by a turbocharged, transverse-mounted inline-four pumping 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque – as the All4 designation implies – to all four wheels. The TwinPower Turbo technology, jointly developed with parent BMW, is designed to minimize turbo lag, with variable valve and camshaft controls flattening out the torque curve.
Buyers will have a choice of a 6-speed manual or eight-speed Steptronic Sport Automatic. The package will launch you to 60 in just 6.2 seconds, compared to 7.0 seconds with the Cooper S Countryman All4. Top speed for the JCW edition is now 145 mph.
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The chassis and suspension have been optimized, Mini says, for “maximum agility when sprinting, on bends and during braking maneuvers.” There’s a single-join spring strut axle up front, with a multilink rear. The JCW also features Speed-variable steering.
The brake package was developed with Brembo and uses 4-piston fixed-caliper discs up front. A Dynamic Traction Control system, meanwhile, includes an electronic differential lock control for the front axle. Dynamic Damper Control is also part of the package.
Standard issue on the JCW model are 18-inch light alloy wheels, with 19s an available option.
Those wheels are part of the overall JCW appearance package which also includes functional aerodynamic enhancements. The performance model gets larger front cooling inlets replacing the fog and parking lights in other Countryman variants. LED headlamps, meanwhile, are standard issue Roof rails and a roof spoiler are also part of the package. Red accents on the side turn indicators, as well as a honeycomb hexagonal grille help distinguish the JCW model.
Inside, the performance package includes sports seats with integrated headrests, a sport steering wheel with multifunction buttons, a John Cooper Works shifter, and an anthracite roof liner.
There’s an option driver assistance package including collision warning with city braking, active cruise control, pedestrian warning and high beam assistant. A parking assistant system is optional, as is a Head-Up Display system.
The updated infotainment system can not only pair with an iPhone but also the Apple Watch.
The JCW crossover will get its first public showing at the Shanghai Motor Show this spring. Mini is expected to release mileage and pricing information closer to the April 2017 on-sale date for the 2018 Mini John Cooper Works Countryman All4.
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