Most powerful Mini ever? I'll take...never mind

Outputting 211 horsepower, the John Cooper Works Countryman will be--just barely--the most powerful Mini in the automaker's line.

John Cooper Works Countryman
The biggest Mini you can buy is now also the most powerful. Mini/BMW

Ferarri won't be the only automaker unveiling a " most powerful model ever " this week. Mini's getting in on the horsepower race too--only on a much smaller scale. There's already a higher-performance John Cooper Works (JCW) version of every other vehicle configuration in Mini's lineup, so it's no surprise that we'll be seeing a hi-po version of the Mini Countryman next week at the 2012 Geneva auto show.

The JCW Countryman will also carry the distinction of being the most powerful model in Mini's lineup thanks to its 211-horsepower, four-cylinder, twin-scroll turbocharged engine--only barely besting the 208-maximum horsepower output by the other JCW models. Torque output of the 1.6-liter mill is measured at 207 pound-feet, but the Overboost function can increase that output to 221 pound-feet for brief bursts when a little extra grunt is necessary.

Power will exit the engine and pass through a six-speed gearbox (both manual and automatic options are available) before meeting the ground at all four corners thanks to the Countryman's ALL4 all-wheel drive system--a feature of the standard model that remains intact, further differentiating the JCW Countryman from the rest of its kin.

JCW Countryman engine bay
The 211-horsepower engine is the most powerful Mini mill, but only by about 3 ponies. Mini/BMW
JCW Countryman interior
The JCW model receives styling upgrades, both outside and in. Mini/BMW

Like all JCW models, the John Cooper Works Countryman will also receive a bevvy of styling upgrades (both inside and out), aerodynamic touches, and suspension tweaks to complete the performance package. Mini does plan to make this model available in the North American market, but hasn't yet published U.S. fuel economy numbers. EU estimates top out at 39.2 Imperial mpg (or about 32.6 converted mpg) for the manually rowed gearbox.

Personally, I think the standard Mini Cooper Countryman is a bit odd--not really offering the compactness you'd expect from a Mini or the utility that you'd get in a crossover, so the JCW Countryman is even more perplexing. What do you think? Sound off in the comments.

 

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