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The largest Mini that money can buy is now also the most powerful with the launch of the John Cooper Works Countryman.
The JCW Countryman receives a host of styling changes to differentiate itself from lesser trim levels.
However, the average Mini enthusiast will be more interested in the sport-tuned suspension tweaks and power upgrades.
Larger wheels and stickier tires improve aesthetics and grip, respectively.
The new front end is supposed to look more aggressive, but--to my eyes--it looks like this Mini's just seen something horrible.
Mini claims the JCW is more aerodynamic, but I can't see how this bauble is anything more than a styling cue. Then again, I'm no wind tunnel engineer.
Under the JCW Countryman's hood breathes a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine.
Twin-scroll turbo technology allows Mini/BMW's engineers to extract 211 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. An Overboost mode temporarily elevates torque output to 221 pound-feet for short bursts of speed.
Like the standard Countryman, the JCW model can send up to half of its available power to the rear axle thanks to its ALL4 all-wheel drive system.
U.S. fuel economy hasn't been confirmed, but the JCW gets about 32.6 mpg (converted) on the U.K. test cycle.
The cabin of the JCW Countryman receives a host of styling tweaks aimed at making the crossover as aggressive on the inside as it is on the outside.
There's red piping on the sport bucket seats, red door trim, red dashboard accents, and red contrast stitching all over. I think I'm seeing a theme here.
Contrast stitching on the steering wheel continues the "red means sporty" theme.
Beyond the steering wheel is a large tachometer and not much else.
Mini's navigation and Mini Connect systems will be available on this top-tier Countryman model, filling the center of the dinner-plate speedometer.
Whether you shift for yourself or let a computer do it for you, the JCW Countryman's gearbox features six cogs.