S ALL4 Countryman
MINI range is going maxi with
models as the fourth addition to the
range the Countryman
on sale on 18 September. The latest
version follows the MINI Hatch,
Convertible and Clubman variants.
All the UKs allocation of Countryman
models is already sold out for this
year and order books are already
filling up for next year when around
15,000 units should be available...
THE NEW COUNTRYMAN is available with 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines
and with the option of two- and four-wheel drive versions. Prices range from
£16,000 to £20,810 for two-wheel drive models and up to £23,580 for the ALL4
versions with an automatic gearbox.
All 2,500 units scheduled for the UK market this year are already sold but around
15,000 will be available for UK customers next year. MINI expects 75-80% of
sales will be to conquest customers: 70% will be retail buyers; 70% will choose
petrol-powered models; initially 85% of customers have ordered ALL4 version
but in the longer term 60% of users will choose the less costly two-wheel drive
The likely single best-selling model will be the Cooper 122hp petrol, two-wheel
drive version priced at £17,495. The new ALL4 four-wheel drive system adds £1,065
to the cost of a Cooper D (diesel) and £1,220 to a Cooper S.
versions come with a six-speed manual transmission as standard but a six-speed
automatic is available for all petrol models now, and for the Cooper D Countryman
from March 2011.
will appeal to those
who live in the country
and want a versatile
premium brand all-wheel
with more space...
Unlike the other three MINI versions (Hatch, Convertible and Clubman), which
are built in the UK at Oxford, the Countryman is built by Magna Styr in Austria
who also build BMW's X3 4x4 model. Future MINI two-seater Coupe and Roadster
models due in 2011 and 2012 respectively will be built at the Oxford Plant when
the MINI range becomes a 'six-pack'.
With four doors and options of four or five seating layouts, plus a rear tailgate,
the Countryman is, at 4,097mm in length with a height of 1,561mm and a width
of 1,789mm, the biggest MINI/Mini ever in its 51-year history. For the record,
Cooper S models measure 23mm longer at 4,110mm. And with 350 litres of
boot space with the rear seats in use, the Countryman offers 190 litres more
boot space than a MINI Hatch and 90 litres more than a Clubman. With them folded,
the Countryman offers a maximum 1,170 litres of cargo space.
The Countryman is aimed at the increasingly popular 'crossover' sector, appealing
to those who live in the country and want a versatile premium brand all-wheel
drive model with more space as well as those urban users who fancy a rural type
motoring lifestyle hence the expectation that up to 80% of customers
will be new to the MINI brand.
All manual transmission models have Auto Stop/Start as standard and Brake Energy
Regeneration to charge the battery is standard across the range, as too is ESP
electronic stability control.
Featuring that signature wheel-at-each-corner stance with short overhangs, the
Countryman not only has larger dimensions than its cousins but also a higher
ride height. This provides the command driving position preferred by many drivers
and also provides a 10mm higher ground clearance for soft off-road driving.
Many design characteristics are classic MINI, such as the high window line surrounding
the cabin; others are new interpretations of iconic features. For example: the
roofline with roof rails; the reinterpretation of the hexagonal radiator grille
on the Cooper S models; and the prominent headlight units integrated into the
The front of the Countryman is more upright, projecting a bolder 'face', which
also offers improved pedestrian safety. The wheel arches are more flared, highlighting
the robust nature of the Countryman as a crossover and its soft off-road ability
while the design of the wide-opening tailgate offers easy access to the large
the MINI Countryman is all about comfort, practicality and innovative style
with a 'premium' feel. The higher seating position offers better visibility
for the driver and passengers; a feature particularly appreciated by children.
The multi-function rear seats are arranged with a 60:40 split base for the three
rear seat passengers and both rear seat squabs are also individually adjustable,
sliding back or forth by 130mm to make the best use of space. The backrests,
by contrast, are arranged in a 40:20:40 split that provides absolute flexibility
with all three seatbacks capable of folding flat in any combination.
Countryman is all about
and innovative style
with a premium feel...
The interior is dominated by iconic MINI design characteristics such as comfortable
optional sports seats, the trademark huge central speedometer and modern switchgear.
New elements of MINI design language are introduced with the elliptical interior
door trims that continue from the front to the rear door and back.
Also new is the MINI Centre Rail system. When ordered as a four-seat configuration,
in place of the conventional centre console the U-shaped Centre Rail runs from
front to rear down the centreline of the Countryman and opens up new, individual
options for integrating all kinds of storage boxes, cup holders, power chargers,
music players, mobile phones and other accessories such as a sunglasses case.
When ordered with the rear bench seat, as is standard in the UK, the Centre
Rail stops between the driver and passenger seats.
At launch the Countryman range will include three petrol MINI One, Cooper
and Cooper and two diesel models (MINI One D and Cooper D) as well as
two ALL4 all-wheel drive models: the Cooper D ALL4 and Cooper S ALL4.
Each model is equipped with an entirely new generation of power units. The petrol
engines are the new 1.6-litre four-cylinder powerplants already announced for
the Hatch, Convertible and Clubman models. These free-revving and refined units
are available with 98, 122 and 184bhp (as reviewed here) outputs with CO2 emissions
ranging from 139 to 180g/km. They all feature Variable Valve Timing, similar
to the BMW Valvetronic system, and produces more low down torque and better
response. Certainly necessary characteristics needed as the larger Countryman
feels a much heavier and less agile car than other MINIs.
The diesel models are powered by an all-new BMW 1.6 litre four-cylinder turbocharged
unit with 90 and 112bhp power outputs with CO2 emissions of 115-129g/km and
fuel economy quoted as 64.2mpg (57.6mpg for the all-wheel drive version). The
lightweight aluminium engines use common-rail direct injection and a turbocharger
with variable turbine geometry.
main attention-grabbing news is, of course, the use of all-wheel drive as an
option for the Countryman. This is the first time in MINI's history that all-wheel
drive is on offer. Initially, two versions the MINI Cooper D and Cooper
S will have the ALL4 option while a MINI Cooper ALL4 version will follow
grabbing news is,
the use of all-wheel
drive as an option
for the Countryman.
This is the first time
in MINIs history
that all-wheel drive
is on offer...
No one needs four-wheel drive to be active all the time so MINI has a typically
smart and fuel-efficient answer. The Countryman ALL4 is a front-wheel drive
car in most normal circumstances, but when any slip is detected on the front
wheels or if the car is being driven enthusiastically! an electro-magnetic
clutch, located on the rear axle, engages drive to the rear wheels to improve
To enable this imperceptible change of the driven wheels, a prop shaft from
the front axle is driven constantly and is ready to direct drive from the front
axle to the rear immediately. The amount of power fed to the rear wheels is
infinitely variable between one and 100 per cent, depending upon the driving
Dynamic Traction Control allows controlled slip through the driven wheels to
aid moving off on loose sand or deep snow. DTC is a standard feature on the
two ALL4 models and the front-wheel drive MINI Cooper S Countryman, and is also
available as an option for the other models.
When the stability system is deactivated (in 'DSC Off' mode) an electronic locking
function for the front axle differential comes into play. In tight corners it
brakes a spinning wheel as required to reduce slip and enhance handling. Known
as Electronic Differential Lock Control, this system enhances the car's traction
without adversely affecting its steering properties.
Bearing in mind Winter is on its way and not forgetting the ice and snow which
brought our roads to a standstill last Winter, the demand for Countryman ALL4
versions is very high. Demand for crossovers is equally good as customers return
to buying SUVs the Countryman is definitely arriving at the right time.
But it is quite a different sort of MINI. Yes it still adopts the go-kart image
of a wheel at every corner and Yes, it is relatively compact so it's easy to
park but it feels significantly more substantial: MINI but not as we
Where MINI wasn't big enough for some families it now is, but the unique lightweight
agility has become bulky and somewhat ponderous. It is certainly comfortable
and offers a relaxed ride and that will appeal to owners outside the normal
circle of MINI customers.
The downside is that the Countryman loses MINI's renowned agility; the upside
it that gains all-wheel drive. Although costly to buy, the purchase price is
offset by the highest residual values. Reasons to buy include the desirable
image, all-wheel drive option, new and responsive engines, very well equipped
and a comfortable ride. A MINI but not as we have known it perhaps, but its
must-have desirability for affluent customers new to the brand will be significant.
MINI Cooper S ALL4 Countryman | £22,030
Maximum speed: 130mph | 0-62mph: 7.9 seconds | Overall test MPG: 28.1mpg
Power: 184bhp | Torque: 177lb ft | CO2 157g/km