GENEVA 2012: MINI COUNTRYMAN JCW AND CLUBVAN
John Cooper Works badge extends to SUV; Clubman gains a van version
The Countryman JCW will be the first all-wheel-drive JCW Mini, and also the first to offer an automatic gearbox as an option.
But although the the Countryman gets uprated springs and dampers, strengthened anti-roll bars and a 10mm drop in ride height, it won't be quite as extreme as other JCWs, as Mini boss Dr Kay Segler is keen to expand the appeal of JCW sub-brand's line-up.
The new Countryman JCW will go on sale in the UK this autumn, with an expected price hike of roughly £5K over the 184hp Countryman Cooper S, bringing the JCW in at just under £28K.
Now, it might not seem the most innovative take on the Mini theme, but it certainly seems to make sense to dump the Clubman's rear seats and turn it into a commercial vehicle.
We're not sure about Mini's claims that the "exterior design cuts a distinctive figure", but the extra right-hand-side door and side-hinged rear doors of the Clubman ought to be a useful addition to a van, at least.
Inside, meanwhile, it's also basically a Clubman, only with a flat load area in the rear, which features six attachment loops, a fixed partition grille and side walls, floor and roof lining trimmed in anthracite-coloured cloth.
Et voila - the 'first premium model in the small car-based van segment'. Niche-tastic or what?