MINI Countryman John Cooper Works - Mini Mania Inc     

MINI has taken some of the wraps off of it’s 2013 MINI JCW Countryman in Austria today. Rest assured we’re going to have plenty of hand-on details about the car shortly.

Consider this car as the next generation of JCW. That means that MINI has taken the criticism we and other media outlets have leveled against it and created something that is a bit more well rounded out of the box than previous JCWs.That means the JCW Countryman will come standard with a more aggressive suspension than the stock set-up on the Countryman Cooper S. Expect the car to sit 10 mm lower with stiffer spring rates and larger anti-rollbars. Additionally the engine will be the variable valve timing of the current JCW engine pumping the power up well over the 210 currently on tap.

Did Prodrive have any involvement in the Countryman JCW? As best we can tell the answer is no. We’ve also learned through sources that that winged Countryman spotted recently outside of Prodrive’s UK offices was simply Team Principle David Richards private car and not anything meant for public consumption. That means if you’ve been waiting for a hot Countryman, get your name on the list for the JCW. It should arrive during the summer of 2012.

Mini will launch this high-performance John Cooper Works (JCW) version of the Mini Countryman at the Geneva motor show in March.
A prototype Mini Countryman JCW, seen here in these official pictures for the first time, is currently undergoing final evaluation tests in wintery conditions in Austria.

Officially, Mini is remaining quiet on exact technical specifications of the model ahead of its Geneva reveal. Insiders have hinted that the JCW is in line for a significant power hike over the Mini Countryman Cooper S it is based on, with power from its turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine up from 177bhp to 215bhp.
MINI Countryman John Cooper Works - Mini Mania Inc
There’s no word on an increase in torque or any hint at improved performance figures, but the power hike would suggest the Countryman JCW should be able to crack 0-62mph in around 7.0sec. The Cooper S’s official 0-62mph figure is 7.6sec.

The JCW will use sports suspension derived the Cooper S, insiders have confirmed. It will sit 10mm lower than the Cooper S with a ride height of 139mm. The diameter of the front anti-roll bar is up to 23mm and the rear is increased to 17mm.
MINI Countryman John Cooper Works - Mini Mania Inc
The rear brakes are also in line for an upgrade, with 296mm in diameter rear discs used instead of the 280mm ones found on the Cooper S.

The prototype is still sporting a light disguise, but it is clear the Countryman JCW is to get similar muscular styling upgrades as seen on JCW versions of other models in the Mini line-up. These include a different grille and front bumper, flared wheel arches and a new rear bumper and pseudo diffuser with integrated dual exhausts.
MINI Countryman John Cooper Works - Mini Mania Inc
The Countryman JCW will give Mini a platform to better promote its involvement in the World Rally Championship, a series it competes in with a model known simply as Mini John Cooper Works WRC. It is not known whether Prodrive, the British team which runs Mini’s WRC effort, was involved in the development of the road car, but Prodrive is known to be developing its own high-performance kit for road-going Cooper S versions of the Countryman.

The Countryman JCW had originally been conceived as a model Mini would use to rival the Volkswagen Golf GTI, but Mini insiders now insist the Golf is not the model the car has in its sights.
MINI Countryman John Cooper Works - Mini Mania Inc
After its Geneva motor show reveal in the spring, the Countryman JCW is tipped to go into production alongside its more humble siblings in Graz, Austria by May. It should reach UK showrooms by summer 2012.