Now that Mini is back where it rightfully and spiritually belongs, the world’s rally stages, it was only a matter of time until the company’s WRC Countryman received a road-going tune-up.
And while the rumours of a full-on rally car for the road still circulate, in the meantime we’ll have to settle for the real thing, which is a John Cooper Works special.
Mini is testing the hot Countryman crossover at the Nürburgring Nordschleife in pretty much production form without any camouflage to fool the eye. It will be the first JCW Mini to feature all-wheel drive in an estate body, basically, because the Countryman’s tall ride height completely disappears on the JCW version with its lowered suspension. The car also features an obvious body kit with a deeper, more aggressive front bumper, side skirts, rear lip and bigger wheels shod with low profile rubber.
To successfully heave the heavier Countryman along energetically, JCW has fitted a more powerful version of the company’s familiar 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Instead of the usual 208bhp, in the Countryman it may well produce up to 230 horsepower. And since it’s pretty much ready to hit the road, we’ll most likely see it in Frankfurt this September or alternatively at the Los Angeles show in November.