I have admired the MINI Countryman from day one. For me, the vehicle’s added size and optional AWD did not dilute the integrity of the MINI brand. Rather, these new characteristics made the Countryman a more practical car, especially for someone living in the northeastern United States.
So why am I not driving a MINI Countryman right now? It really comes down to bang for my buck. With a modest selection of options the Countryman S is going to cost more than $30,000. That 30k may come with a lot of bells and whistles but only 181 horsepower. That’s because the Countryman - despite its size - shares the same 1.6 liter 4-cylinder engine as the smaller Cooper S, Clubman S, Coupe S and Roadster S models. MINI claims that the engine is powerful enough to propel the Countryman from 0-60 in 8 seconds or so. For a $30,000 vehicle steeped in sporting heritage that’s just not fast enough for me.
Fortunately, I along with all other power-starved Countryman enthusiasts will have the option of purchasing a 2013 MINI Countryman John Cooper Works when it arrives in the United States this fall. The JCW – which debuted last week at the Geneva Auto Show – will provide the Countryman with 211 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. If this boost in power wasn’t tantalizing enough, the JCW comes equipped with an Overboost function that allows the car to temporarily achieve 221-pound feet of torque. Delightful.
The John Cooper Works Countryman will be the first John Cooper Works vehicle to feature MINI’s ALL4 All Wheel Drive System. The new Countryman will also feature a sport suspension, aerodynamic body kit and paint trim, rounding out the vehicle’s sporting features.
With the inclusion of all wheel drive, a significant increase in performance and projected fuel economy of 32 mpg highway the John Cooper Works Countryman might be the exact car I’m looking for – fun enough to be called a MINI but practical enough to be worth the money.
I’ll start saving now.
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