AC Schnitzer knows their way around a number of models in the BMW and Mini line-up, but when it comes to the new Mini Countryman, things are a bit different. The new Mini comes packing a much different body than that of the Cooper, leaving tuning firms with uncharted territory. AC Schnitzer is one of the first tuning firms to tackle this new ground, and with their colorful Mini background, the result should be nothing short of spectacular.
What we got, however, is some minor exterior and interior updates that barely change the look of the car at all. The exterior gets a new set of 18" wheels as standard or 19" wheels available upon request. The interior receives an aluminum pedal set and various gear knobs in leather or aluminum with a digital gear display. Yeah, that’s it.
AC Schnitzer did say that this was only phase one of the package, but we expected a little more out of them. Hopefully, the bulk of it will come in the engine updates in the works. The Countryman is currently powered by 122hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines, with the S model getting turbocharged to 184hp. AC Schnitzer has promised that these engines will get a power boost. Let’s just hope we are pleasantly surprised because, as the first tuning kit for the Countryman, this package kind of blows.
The fastest vehicles may belong to the likes of Porsche, Lamborghini, Bugatti, and so on, but that doesn’t mean that the not-so-fast vehicles out in the world can’t strap on their racing gear and hit the track. X-Raid Team has one of those less than speedy vehicles with the new MINI All4 Racing. This Countryman has its sights set on the 33rd Personal Dakar Argentina-Chile in January with the French rally crew of Guerlain Chicherit and co-driver Michel Périn at the wheel for the race. The event starts in Buenos Aires on New Year’s Day and finishes in the Argentine capital on Sunday, January 16th, 2011. X-Raid have only begun the build for the All4 Racing just last month so it will leave minimal time for the completion and testing to be completed before that time.
The new Mini All4 Racing will replace the current BMW X3 CC, but will be powered by the BMW’s variable twin-turbo diesel engine that will deliver 315 HP and 710Nm of torque.
"This is a major development in cross-country rallying and something of which we are very excited," admitted Quandt. "There has been a very short time between the decision to go ahead and the roll out for the next Dakar, but we are confident that the new Mini All4 Racing will be competitive out of the box. Compared to the BMW X3CC, the MINI will be characterized by improved handling as the overall length is shorter and it is lower. We have also been able to improve on many other smaller details, such as the relocation of smaller components to lower the center of gravity."
UPDATE 12/23/10: The MINI Dakar All4 is scheduled to make its dirt-kicking debut at the Rally Dakar in Argentina on the first day of 2011 so you can expect that everybody involved in the team is working extra hard fine-tuning the rally car’s few remaining kinks in time for its debut in a couple of weeks. In this video, the MINI Dakar All4 undergoes some last-minute test runs before making its eagerly anticipated debut. From what we saw, it looks like the vehicle is just about ready to get its tires dirty in Argentina. Check it out after the jump.
We finally have a price for the 2011 Mini Countryman; $22,350. Mini USA headman Jim McDowell just announced that figure at the North American launch in Austin Texas.
We have had a chance to see the Mini Countryman up close and it looks better than some might think. This vehicle will split opinions so not everybody is going to like it, but we think it’s the perfect utility Mini.
A Mini Countryman with some good options on it will run you around $30,000, that’s more than the Nissan Juke, Nissan Rogue and the Volkswagen Tiguan. On the road, the Countryman will be able to manage 35 miles per gallon with a manual transmission on the Cooper model, 32 mpg for the Cooper S, and 31 mpg for the All4 Cooper S Countryman.
Buyers needing extra space, but still wanting to carry a Mini badge should love this thing. However, diehard Mini lovers might find it to be sacrilegious. We’ll just have to wait and see.
MINI’s entry to the World Rally Championships certainly caught a lot of people by surprise, not because the brand can’t hack it in rally competitions, but because, well, they’re MINI.
It’s hard to take a company seriously, especially one that prides itself on producing some of the weirdest and most eccentric marketing campaigns of any automaker on the planet.
The thing with this WRC entry, however, is that the company is dead serious on it and if you’re one of the cynical types, this video of the company’s Countryman WRC prototype should quell all of your doubts.
The video, which took place at Ponte de Lima in Portugal, shows the WRC Countryman doing some serious rally testing, and with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo-charged engine courtesy of BMW Motorsport, the Countyman WRC prototype is looking mighty impressive in its test run.
We don’t know how that’s going to translate in an actual competitive race, but the car looks to be in good shape, and if they give more time on their testing and development, then MINI could become a player in the WRC when it starts its run in 2012.
The Mini Countryman is quite the popular vehicle these days as Mini is in the middle of their marketing campaign for the crossover. So far, their marketing has consisted of the usual quirky commercials that only Mini can dole out, and well, more of the same type of commercials. And if those aren’t enough to peak the interest of consumers everywhere, Mini will also be unveiling a new concept in London on September 23rd. This new concept will be presented by BMW’s Head of Design, Adrian van Hooydonk, just one week before the Paris Motor Show. It will be another version of the current Countryman: a JCW version or a two-door Countryman.
Mini UK posted a teaser image of the future concept on their Facebook page, only to grab the attention of the press. The image was quickly removed and no details were given for the concept. The information that was given, however, is quite promising for those readers living out in the UK. Mini UK is offering them a chance to see the unveiling in person. All they have to do is get on Mini UK’s Facebook page and enter for a chance to win. The subject line needs to read ’MINI Design Concept Event’, and entries must be received by Monday, September 13th. So, if you live in the UK - no entries from other countries will be accepted - then get on Facebook and sign up!
We haven’t heard from MINI in quite some time so forgive us for being a little worried. As the undisputed kings of unconventional marketing, MINI has a special place in our hearts for being, well, a little on the eccentric side.
And just when we were starting to get worried, MINI jumps right on back with a new out-of-the-box commercial just like old times.
In their new 60-second ad, we see the MINI Countryman – actually, a lot of it – running roughshod on a quaint little town, multiplying to the hundreds like ants chasing a delectable sweet. Of course, a real Countryman isn’t capable of the multiplying act – that’s some supposedly new CGI trick at work – and it surely can’t fly from a cliff and down into a dock and make it in one piece.
But in the fantastical world of MINI, anything is possible. And if these guys can think of zany commercials like this, who are we to argue with that.
There is no doubt in our minds that the Mini Countryman will split opinions more than U.S politics. For some, this machine will be a savior. It will be for people who found the Mini Cooper a tad too small and a bit impractical. For others, it’s a pointless new development from a company who continues to try and force different variations of a legendary car down our throats.
The new Mini, made by the German automaker BMW, has always had some issues. We all know it’s a small car, but some have managed to package room and space in a small frame. Mini must have forgotten how, as the interior of the Cooper is a tiny place.
Mini gave us the Clubman in order to solve our size needs. Sadly, this was an abomination of the great Mini name. It accomplished the goal of size and practicality, but at a terrible price. It’s like bulking up on Big Macs and fried foods. Sure, it will accomplish the goal, but you’re not going to attract anything with eyes and you probably won’t live long. So, how does Mini bring a larger vehicle to the market without losing the normal characteristics?
The new Mini Countryman is set go on sale at the end of the year, so it’s not surprising that Mini has created a few commercials to begin stirring up even more interest in their little crossover. And what better way to drum up business than to provide the market with a few laughs? Nothing, which is why that is exactly what Mini did in the form of four rib-tickling commercials provided here. The first one (shown above) is titled "Flight Attendant."
As a reminder, the Countryman will be available with all-wheel drive for those who will want it and will be powered by 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines, with the S model getting a turbocharged. The turbo will take the power from 122 horsepower to 184. Buyers will be able to choose from a six-speed manual or an automatic transmission. Opt for the base model with the auto box and it will take around 11 seconds to hit 60 miles per hour. The S model can do that time in around eight seconds. The highest version will top out at 190 km/h
We hope you enjoy the Mini Countryman commercial, and remember to check out the other three after the jump.
Mini is an interesting little car brand. The car is fantastic, but the following the vehicle has is far more impressive than the vehicle itself. Owners of Minis practically have their own club even traveling the length of the U.S. together for charity. Mini owners are proud of their bitesize vehicles and now they can add another tally to the Mini side.
The 2011 World Rally Championship will receive another participant this year and for many years to come as the Mini Countryman WRC takes its place among the other racers. Mini will not participate in all of the races in 2011, but come 2012, they will take in every race offered by the WRC.
Having been worked on since early 2009 by ProDrive, the Countryman WRC complies with the FIA’s Super2000 regulations and will feature a 1.6L four cylinder turbo charged engine from BMW Motorsport. Its first test will occur in Fall 2010.
The British magazine AutoExpress got behind the wheel of the new Mini Countryman and pushed it to its limits. The Countryman is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with a turbocharged engine for the S model. The turbo will take the power from 122hp to 184hp. If you are lucky enough to live in Europe, you can get a few diesel options. A standard model will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in around 11 seconds, while the S version will hit it in around 8 seconds.
The Countryman will not come standard with all-wheel drive. You will have to bump it up to the S level in order to get that on your Mini. Despite the cars rugged looks, it has MacPherson struts in the front and multilink in the rear, so no off-roading. Sales will begin in 2011.