The bonkers-looking Mini Countryman may have its detractors but we’re not ashamed to say we love it – even moreso now Mini has created a new John Cooper Works version that comes with the most powerful engine in the Mini range.
Not only is it the first John Cooper Works car to come with four doors, it’s also the first to feature Mini’s ALL4 four-wheel-drive system, which should help it hold its own on slippery terrain – even if it is more bulky than the standard Mini.
This JCW model really does look the part, but it should walk the walk as its suspension has been lowered by 10mm and its springs, dampers and strengthened anti-roll bars have been fettled to improve handling.
Its turbocharged 1.6-litre engine developers a potent 218bhp and 300Nm of torque at peak, up from the 184 ponies found in the already quite nippy Cooper S version. This, combined with the standard six-speed manual gearbox, brings its 0 to 60mph time down from eight seconds to seven and its top speed up to 150mph. A Steptronic automatic is also available as an option if you favour paddle shift flappy gears.
Splashing out on the Mini Countryman JCW also buys you smatterings of JCW flourishes that set this model apart from the rest. A JCW badge, sports steering wheel, seats, cockpit, either 18-inch or 19-inch rims and a sleek black paintjob with either white, black or red stripes all indicate there’s something a bit special about this particular Mini.
Boot capacity is 350 litres increasing to 1,170 litres with the seats folded down and you’ll be able to choose from a seat bench for three passengers or two individual seats so it can ferry either four or five people around in relative comfort. Sick bags are, of course, optional.
Prices start at £28,595.