The most pow­er­ful Mini yet

Next JCW Coun­try­man shoots 170kW to all four wheels

The Star Early Edition - - NEW MODELS -

YOU CAN say what you like (ev­ery­body in our of­fice al­ready has) about the fact that the lat­est Coun­try­man is close to twice the size of the orig­i­nal 1959 Is­sigo­nis Mini and more than dou­ble its weight, but Sir Alec could scarcely have en­vis­aged a Mini with five doors, five seats, all-wheel drive and a two-litre tur­bopetrol four wield­ing 170kW and 350Nm.

Thanks to spe­cial pis­tons, a big in­ter­cooler, an ex­tra ra­di­a­tor and a rorty free-flow ex­haust, boost has been boosted (if you’ll for­give the pun) to 2.2 bar from the spe­cially up­rated turbo, with max­i­mum power avail­able from 5000-6000rpm and peak torque all the way from 1450-4500rpm.

Ac­cord­ing to par­ent com­pany BMW, it’s the most pow­er­ful en­gine yet of­fered in a pro­duc­tion Mini, and the rest of its num­bers are just as im­pres­sive: 0-100 in 6.5 sec­onds and 234km/h flat out.

When it’s re­leased in South Africa in the third quar­ter, the Mini John Cooper Works Coun­try­man will be avail­able with ei­ther a six-speed man­ual or eight-speed Step­tronic trans­mis­sion fea­tur­ing pad­dle shifters and a launch con­trol func­tion.

All4 all-wheel drive is stan­dard, with an elec­tro­hy­draulic clutch on the rear diff. The sys­tem de­faults to front-wheel drive, us­ing elec­tronic trac­tion con­trol and the lim­ited-slip front dif­fer­en­tial to keep the car go­ing where it’s pointed; only when nec­es­sary is drive trans­ferred to the rear wheels.

Also stan­dard are sports sus­pen­sion with tighter bush­ings and damp­ing than the ‘or­di­nary’ Coun­try­man, spe­cial four-pis­ton front brakes (fin­ished in red with the JCW logo in front) from Brembo, 18 inch al­loys, LED head­lights and spe­cial John Cooper Works aero kit with big­ger front air in­takes.

Spe­cial John Cooper Works sports front seats with in­te­grated head re­straints are com­ple­mented by a mul­ti­func­tion JCW sports steer­ing wheel, while a ro­tary switch at the base of the gear lever lets you choose be­tween Sport, Mid and Green driv­ing modes. The re­sponse curves of the ac­cel­er­a­tor pedal, steer­ing, en­gine acous­tics, dy­namic damper con­trol and the shift points on Step­tronic mod­els are mod­u­lated for a tauter ride and sharper re­sponses in Sport, while Mid re­laxes into cruise mode with a more com­fort­able ride and Green in­tro­duces an ex­tra sub-rou­tine that au­to­mat­i­cally de­cou­ples the en­gine from the trans­mis­sion any time the driver lifts his foot off the loud pedal be­tween 50 and 160km/h.

Thanks to Mini Con­nected, the car will tell you when you need to get go­ing in or­der to be on time for your next ap­point­ment, based on cal­en­dar en­tries and real-time traf­fic con­di­tions. You don’t even have to en­ter them in the nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem; ad­dresses and ap­point­ments saved on your phone are au­to­mat­i­cally trans­ferred to the car next time you get in.

And last but def­i­nitely not least, Find Mate comes with a bunch of tags that you at­tach to the things you lose most of­ten – keys, phone, tablet, the re­mote for the garage door – and as long as what­ever you’re look­ing for is within Blue­tooth range, the car will tell you ex­actly where it is. If it’s not, the sys­tem will show you the last place it spot­ted the lost item, which at least helps you to fig­ure out where to start look­ing. –­tor­

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