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 |  Feb 28 2012, 6:00 PM

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MINI is announcing their special John Cooper Works (JCW) edition Countryman ahead of its upcoming Geneva debut, touting it as a fun vehicle on any terrain.

The John Cooper Works edition will build on the already entertaining performance of the Countryman S to offer more horsepower, a tuned suspension and sport-inspired styling. MINI kept the same engine displacement, a 1.6-liter inline four cylinder, but tuned an extra 30 hp for a total 211-hp thanks to variable valve technology, direct injection and twin-scroll turbocharging borrowed from BMW.

Despite that power gain, the company claims the JCW will actually be more efficient. EPA numbers aren’t available yet but the car is predicted to get slightly better than 39 mpg, though MINI didn’t specify highway or city consumption. Those numbers will probably be available this Fall when production is set to begin.

A JCW suspension is supposed to keep the car feeling nimble and fun to drive, thanks to stiffer spring and damper settings, stronger anti-roll bars and a 0.4-inch lower ride. A chrome-tipped exhaust is also supposed to compliment the large intercooler present in the JCW model.

As was true in previous Countryman models, the drivetrain takes advantage of MINI’s ALL4 all-wheel drive system, though consumers will be able to choose between the standard six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, a first for JCW cars.

Aside from performance tuning, the JCW package gets a number of visual upgrades. It’s available with a “chili” red roof and mirror caps as pictured above, among other exclusive paint color selections. The specified accents compliment the interior in the seats.

Specially-styled lightweight 18-inch aluminum alloys and JCW emblems set the car apart from other MINIs, though 19-inch wheels are an available option. Aside from the JCW badging, the car also gets new front and rear aprons and bespoke side-skirts.

We’ll be reporting from the Geneva Auto Show next week, covering this and all the other releases.

GALLERY: 2013 John Cooper Works MINI Countryman

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 |  Jun 23 2011, 5:04 PM

Chrysler has announced that heavy-duty pickups in the company’s lineup will be available with a new six-speed automatic transmission for the 2012 model year.

The Ram 2500 and 3500 HD models will receive the six-speed coupled with an available 6.7-liter Cummins High Output Turbo Diesel engine with 800 lb-ft of torque at 1,500 rpm and 350-hp and 3,000 rpm. The 3500 truck can tow up to 22,750 pounds if equipped with an optional Max Tow package. Interestingly, the Cummins oil burner manages to meet EPA emissions standards without the annoyance of having to use Diesel Exhaust Fluid.

Fuel economy ratings have not been posted for the Dodge with the six-speed nor have prices been released. More details will become available closer to 2012.