It will be interesting to see how the latest MINI John Cooper Works Countryman will do against the recent news of dropping Prodrive to run the WRC Rally Team and Kris Meeke as a driver. Hopefully the ardent rallyists will make their displeasure known on the sales floor. But having said that, this latest MINI derivative is pretty potent.
The car features a newly developed 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with twin-scroll turbocharger, direct injection and variable valve control. That will be good for 218 hp at 6,100 rpm and generates peak torque of 280 Nm between 2,000 and 5,600 rpm. The Overboost function briefly pushes this up to 300 Nm.
Performance should dispatch the Nought to 62 mph sprint in 7.0 seconds with a top speed of 140 mph. A ‘Sport Button’ has also been fitted, sharpening the engine's responses, retuning the exhaust note and adjusting the steering's power assistance.
The ALL4 all-wheel-drive system uses an electromagnetic centre differential to distribute drive between the front and rear axles. In normal conditions ALL4 allows 50 per cent of power to the rear wheels, rising to anything up to 100 per cent when the going gets tough.
Standard features include an advanced aerodynamic kit, lowered sport suspension, 18-inch light alloy wheels, sports stripes and exclusive design features, i.e. typical BMW fancy bits with addded bling.
The real thing will be on show at the Geneva Motor Show for the first time and will go on sale in the autumn priced at £27,800 in the UK.