With models like the X5 M and X6 M, BMW has shown it is no stranger to performance-oriented crossovers. That extended to its Mini brand when it opted to enter the Countryman in the World Rally Championship, but now we've received confirmation that a road- (or off-road-) going Countryman JCW is on its way.

Currently undergoing winter testing in Austria, the Countryman JCW is to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Mini has yet to confirm the details, but we're expecting the 1.6-liter turbo to churn out a good 215 horsepower or so – a significant increase over the Cooper S Countryman (pictured above) and its 177 hp – for a 0-60 time of less than seven seconds.

The John Cooper Works version of the Mini crossover will also ride lower than existing versions, and sport all the suspension and aero upgrades you'd expect from a JCW model, with sales expected to start in about a year. The question is whether this is the version which Prodrive – the motorsport consultancy that fields the Countryman WRC – is currently preparing, or whether that is still to come as a performance model of its own.

We'll have a drive report on the Countryman JCW prototype coming in just a matter of days, so watch this space for more information.

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