And why wouldn't it be? After all, this hotted-up Countryman is powered by a boosted version of Mini's 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-four good for 218 horsepower and a 207 pound-feet of torque, even capable of pumping out 221 lb-ft during momentary stints of overboost. That grunt runs to all four wheels (Mini's All4 all-wheel-drive system is in action here) via either a standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic transmission. Sprinting to 62 miles per hour will take just seven seconds.
There are plenty of upgrades on tap that make this Countryman fitting of the JCW badge, including a sport suspension with MacPherson struts up front and a model-specific central-arm rear axle, upgraded brakes, strengthened anti-roll bars, a 10-millimeter drop in ride height and lightweight 18-inch alloy wheels (19s are optional).
A unique aero kit has been added to ensure that the JCW Countryman looks the part, and inside, the same red-and-black motif has been carried over. Customers will be able to spec optional lounge leather sport seats, and just like the standard Countryman, both the two- and three-passenger rear seating arrangements (read: two chairs or a proper bench) will be offered.
Scroll through the gallery above to see the full smattering of high-res images, and click below for the nitty-gritty details in Mini's press release.
• Introduction of the latest new model to wear the badge of MINI's John Cooper Works sub-brand; MINI John Cooper Works Countryman is the performance model of the range and the first to come with MINI ALL4 all-wheel drive; MINI John Cooper Works Countryman combines racing passion on the road with extreme driving fun on rough terrain; authentic embodiment of traditional motor sport expertise and the current rally racing programme; introducing this distinctive racing feel into another new vehicle segment opens up additional target groups for the John Cooper Works brand.
• Newly developed four-cylinder turbocharged engine with 1.6-litre displacement and maximum output of 160 kW/218 hp; peak torque: 280 Newton metres / 207 lb-ft (with overboost: 300 Nm / 221 lb-ft); most powerful drive unit in the MINI model range, featuring construction principles and materials adapted specially from race-trim cars; innovative combination of twin-scroll turbocharger, petrol direct injection and fully variable valve management based on the BMW Group's VALVETRONIC technology; compelling performance – acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.0 seconds – and stand-out efficiency in this output class; extensive range of MINIMALISM technology, including Brake Energy Regeneration, Gear Shift Indicator, Auto Start-Stop function and Electric Power Steering.
• Six-speed manual gearbox fitted as standard, six-speed automatic gearbox with Steptronic function and steering wheel shift paddles available as an option; standard sports exhaust produces stirring soundtrack; standard Sport Button tweaks the engine's responses and vocal character, the power assistance provided by the steering and the shift dynamics of the optional automatic gearbox.
• MINI ALL4 permanent all-wheel drive makes its debut in a John Cooper Works model; distribution of power varied seamlessly between the front and rear axles by an electromagnetic centre differential positioned directly on the final drive; DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) including DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) and EDLC (Electronic Differential Lock Control) linked up to ALL4 all-wheel drive as standard; hallmark MINI handling characteristics expressed in maximum intensity and with a new, traction-led character.
• Sophisticated chassis technology with MacPherson struts at the front axle and a central-arm rear axle adapted specially for the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman; standard sports suspension with particularly firmly tuned springs and dampers, strengthened anti-roll bars and a 10-millimetre drop in ride height; powerful brakes with red callipers; extra-lightweight 18-inch Twin Spoke light-alloy wheels fitted as standard; exclusive 19-inch wheels available as an option.
• Standard-fitted aerodynamic kit provides striking appearance and optimised airflow; John Cooper Works logo on the radiator grille and tailgate; front foglamps fitted as standard; selection of seven exterior paint shades available; contrast paint finish for the roof and exterior mirror caps can be ordered in white and black, as well as the red shade available exclusively for John Cooper Works models; Sport Stripes in white, black or red are optional.
• Special John Cooper Works cockpit design with sports seats, sports steering wheel, interior trim strips in Piano Black, anthracite-coloured roof liner and dark speedometer and rev counter dials; John Cooper Works door sills; optional: sports seats with Lounge Leather trim in Carbon Black Championship Red, interior trim strips in Chili Red.
• First John Cooper Works model with four doors and a large tailgate; rear compartment can be ordered with either a seat bench for three passengers or a pair
The MINI family is constantly expanding, and new additions have also been made to the range of John Cooper Works models. For the first time, race-bred thrills can be experienced in combination with the transfer of power through all four wheels. The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, fitted with the most powerful engine in the MINI model range and equipped as standard with the ALL4 all-wheel-drive system, assures the driver of extreme driving fun on any terrain. Powertrain and chassis technology underpinned by extensive motor sport expertise teams up with the vehicle concept of the first MINI with four doors, a large tailgate and up to five seats to introduce the famed handling characteristics and looks of John Cooper Works models to additional target groups in another new segment.
The MINI Countryman has displayed its sporting potential in a string of impressive performances in the World Rally Championship (WRC) – proof, were it needed, that the brand's first five-seater shares the racing genes which define the character of every MINI. Now John Cooper Works has polished these inherent talents to dazzling effect in a production model.
Unique combination: variable-usage interior, impressive output, poise and assurance in an extremely wide range of road conditions.
Within its class, the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman brings an unrivalled combination of race-focused powertrain technology, all-wheel drive, premium profile and versatile interior to the table. And its inimitable style also comes to the fore through various design features and an exclusive selection of paint finishes, light-alloy wheels and interior materials. The standard equipment of the sixth model in the John Cooper Works line-up includes an aerodynamic kit which lends extra muscle to the front and rear apron, as well as bespoke side skirts, 18-inch light-alloy wheels and the sports car cockpit ambience which has become a speciality of John Cooper Works models.
The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman captures the imagination by imbuing the traditional MINI go-kart handling characteristics with an even sharper edge. The fast and precise responses of the all-wheel-drive system allow it to demonstrate impressive poise and assurance in challenging road and weather conditions and off the beaten track. The 4,133-millimetre-long, 1,789-millimetre-wide and 1,549-millimetre-tall MINI John Cooper Works Countryman is equally adept when it comes to crossing the boundaries of urban mobility, and its generous levels of space and seating comfort encourage the driver and passengers to admire the qualities of this versatile performance athlete over longer journeys as well.
Four or five seats, up to 1,170 litres of luggage space.
With short overhangs, a high waistline and a powerful over-the-wheel stance, the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman draws its design inspiration from the time-honoured MINI template. The family ties are also emphasised by styling cues such as the characteristic contours of the radiator grille, large headlights set into the bonnet, voluminous wheel arches and vertical rear light clusters. Features particular to this model include the John Cooper Works badges on the radiator grille and tailgate, and red-backed, anthracite-coloured side indicator surrounds on the diagonal link between the A-pillars and the front wheel arches. Customers can choose from a selection of seven exterior paint shades. The contrast paint finish for the roof and exterior mirror can be ordered in the red shade exclusive to John Cooper Works models, as well as white and black. Sport Stripes in the same colours are available as an option.
The rear of the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman can be specified with either a seat bench for three passengers or – as a no-cost option – two individual seats. The rear seats can slide fore and aft in a 60 : 40 split (if the three-seat bench is specified) or individually, and their backrests can be adjusted for tilt and folded down individually or in a 40 : 20 : 40 split (three-seat bench) to increase boot capacity from 350 to as much as 1,170 litres. The Centre Rail storage and attachment system is also part of standard specification.
The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman will be built at the BMW Group's partner firm Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik in Graz, Austria. Production will take place alongside the other variants of the MINI Countryman on a separate assembly line set up and operated according to the exacting standards of the BMW Group. As with all the brand's models, the high-performance powerplant for this sharpest of all MINI Countryman models will be sourced from the Hams Hall engine plant, one corner of the MINI Production Triangle in England.