Switzerland is set to become the center of the auto world when the annual auto show opens next week. It’s also important to remember that the 2013 Burton European Open snowboarding event in LAXX, Switzerland is also on-going.
It’s important because MINI is a sponsor of the event and when a marketing opportunity presents itself, you know MINI going to take full advantage of it. So what exactly did MINI do?
Build a Countryman art car, of course; except that this isn’t just any other art car. It’s one that was designed by Swiss local artists Lu&Lu and has been rechristened as the Countryman RE:LAAX!
Using the Swiss Alps as the inspiration, Lu&Lu proceeded to draw an image - or something that resembles it - of the picturesque landscape of the region. And the best part is, they chronicled the whole thing via a video, which need we say more, is a must-watch.
Mini has unveiled a special-edition John Cooper Works Countryman to celebrate the company’s huge success their triumph in the Dakar Rally 2013 where Stephane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret have driven their MINI ALL4 Racing to overall victory. This new special edition, dubbed the ALL4 Dakar Winner, will be limited to only 11 units - a tribute to Peterhansel’s 11 Dakar wins and it will be sold exclusively in Peterhansel’s home country of France.
On the exterior, this special edition uses the same colors seen on the MINI ALL4 Racing: a matte-black body combined with special bright-green racing stripes. The exterior will be distinguished by Dakar Rally winner’s logo and the Peterhansel’s signature on the bonnet. As with any other special edition, the new John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4 Dakar Winner received new 19-inch light-alloy wheels in Cross-Spoke Crusher design.
On the interior, the same black used on the exterior is combined with green contrast stitching on the gearshift lever gaiter and floor mats and, green stripes on the center console. Each unit will also be further identified by a special-edition logo and with the serial number placed above the glove compartment.
There is no mention of performance upgrades, so we can only assume that this special edition retains the same 211-horsepower, 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that is good for 221 pound-feet of peak torque. This sprints the JCW Countryman to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds.
The warning disclaimer before the start of the video seems appropriate. Nobody in the right frame of mind should ever try duplicating this stunt, let alone even remotely think about it.
Leave it up to the pros, fellas.
MINI’s participation in the stunt is indicative enough that this won’t be your average performance. See, when you have the German automaker bringing in a heavily-modified MINI Countryman with GRAVIT-T team driver, Guerlain Chicherit, in the setting of the Tignes Ski Resort in the French Alps, you can do a whole lot of crazy things, including performing a 360-degree backflip that clearly goes way past the bounds of sanity.
To their credit, they managed to pull the stunt off and it looks pretty remarkable with the magic of video editing, but for the love of God, this is one stunt that no matter how good it looks, you better need to stay away from at all costs.
Watch the video; that’s all you need to do
It looks like 2013 started pretty crazy for Mini. The company attempted the world’s first unassisted 360-degree backflip in an automobile. Using a specially modified John Cooper Works Countryman and with French daredevil Guerlain Chicherit behind the wheel, Mini proved that the gravity can be defeated.
The Countryman JCW managed to hit a height of about 39 feet, but unfortunately the video does not reveal the landing. However, we do hope it was a successful one. We’re sure the complete video will be launched soon.
As a reminder, the Countryman JCW is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine that delivers a total of 218 horsepower and up to 221 pound-feet of torque. The car will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 7 seconds and is capable of hitting a top speed of 140 mph.
Our advice to you is don’t try this at home! You will learn everything there is to know about this attempt pretty soon when Mini will release the full details.
X-raid Team’s Mini ALL4 Racing cars are preparing to defend their crown at the upcoming Dakar Rally set to begin on January 5, 2013. However, these are not the cars set to enter the competition, but the cars that will assist the team through the 5,000 miles of desert through Peru, Argentina and Chile.
These very special Countryman have been equipped with a full range of original Mini Accessories, including: 18-inch light-alloy wheels with run-flat tires, mud flaps for the front and rear wheel arches, auxiliary headlights, and all-weather floor mats plus a protective load compartment cover made from hard-wearing PVC.
They will feature matte black paint combined with red roofs and racing stripes, and, of course, those Monster Energy logos. The black paint has been combined with silver-colored add-on parts for the front and rear apron, and side skirts.
Each car will also feature an off-road package that will help it deliver the best driving experience on any kind of road, be it gravel, desert tracks or mountain passes.
Here MINI grows again – well, potentially grows – as in an interview with Inside Line, BMW announced the potential of three new MINI models. We’ll start with the not-so-fun ones first, as Harald Kreuger let IL know that a larger SUV, to complement the Countryman, is in the works, as is a sedan model. The SUV would likely have some chances of making it to the U.S., but the sedan would likely head to developing markets, like China or Indonesia.
Okay, enough with the family-style stuff, let’s see what we’re really here to talk about. Kreuger also announced that MINI is considering a roadster model. Kreuger even went as far as to point to the master of said domain, the original MX-5 Miata, as the potential mold for this vehicle. This would mean that we would have a quick, fun-to-drive roadster bearing the traditional MINI look. We could live with that.
Additionally, we have to look into the distant possibility of BMW sharing its 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine lineup with said Miata-like sports car. Considering the rumors afloat about the upcoming MX-5 Miata boasting a far more powerful four-cylinder engine than ever before, this very well may be the time to take a swipe at the compact roadster crown by including the new 1.5-liter Bimmer engine.
If anyone can create a machine that rivals the fun-to-drive factor that the Miata has always afforded its owners, BMW can. And that 1.5-liter 3-pot has some serious potential.
In the same report, MINI also announced that it may open up a British-design office to help it maintain the “Britishness” that makes MINIs so attractive to the world. Additionally, MINI is midway through a $1.2 billion renovation of its Oxford plant to extend its manufacturing capacity to 250,000 units and it will be renting space from the Mitsubishi-Volvo Nedcar factory in the Netherlands starting in 2014.
We certainly hope that all of these upcoming models will feature a little bit of their own character, as opposed to being simply squashed up or stretched Coopers. Stay tuned for more!
Mini has just confirmed their line-up for the 2012 Geneva Motor Show and as expected, the John Cooper Works Countryman is on that list. The car was caught testing for the first time last winter in Austria, but we have to admit it looks better than expected.
The new John Cooper Works Countryman is based on the current, most powerful version of the vehicle - the Countryman S - that uses a 177 HP turbocharged 1.6-liter engine. However, for the JCW version, the engine’s output has been increased to 218 HP. The car will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 7 seconds and will be capable of hitting a top speed of 140 mph (manual version).
The new Countryman JCW will be distinguished by the usual JCW aerodynamic kit, an exclusive selection of paint finishes, 18" light-alloy wheels, a sports exhaust system, and a sporty interior.
UPDATE 09/26/2012: Mini has announced that the new Countryman John Cooper Works will go on sale on the US market at a starting price of $35,550.
Hit the jump to read more about the new Mini Countryman JCW. Full story
While we are all anxiously awaiting the debut of the X1 in the U.S., which is set to happen this fall, BMW is hard at work piecing together the next-generation model. According to Autocar, this work involves figuring out how to fit Mini Countryman drivetrain components under the next-gen X1. This combination of the Mini and BMW lineup is expected to help reduce production costs and hopefully reduce its cost to the buyer.
In addition to sharing underpinnings with the Mini Countryman, the next-generation X1, which is expected to debut in 2015, will come standard with front-wheel drive, as opposed to the standard rear-wheel drive that the 2013 X1 will bear. It will, however, retain its optional all-wheel drive. This new chassis, dubbed the Unter Klasse (UKL), will also eliminate the possibility of a 6-cylinder option for the next-gen X1, as BMW has no plans to transversely mount a 6-pot in any of its cars.
In reality, there are chances of the X1 getting an even smaller engine, as BMW is supposedly considering dropping the petite 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine in the 2015 X1. This all comes as a huge surprise to us, as the X1 is just now making its way to the States, and BMW is already planning on pretty much scrapping the entire thing. Plus, to start throwing Countryman parts onto this crossover SUV is just going to make it that much more irrelevant to buyers that may need to haul anything more than the kids and luggage around.
We guess we’ll just have to wait and see exactly how BMW plans to set this whole system up, as one of the key components to a crossover SUV is its ability to haul light cargo. The Countryman’s 860-pound max payload capacity doesn’t quite fit the bill. We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.
Love `em or hate `em, you can’t help but be impressed with how far MINI can go in stretching out one basic design. In late-2011, MINI debuted a new coupe version of its Countryman and dubbed it the Paceman – no, not the Pac-Man – but gave us very little info. Then over a year went by before we heard anything else, then finally after a year and two months, MINI announced that the Paceman would be shown in Paris in 2012, but under the Clubman Coupe name.
Well, MINI is finally prepared to announce this new models release, but it will, oddly enough, not bear the name we all expected. Dr. Kay Segler, the senior VP of Mini, told about 1,000 Mini enthusiasts at this year’s Mini Takes the States rally that "The Mini Paceman is the official name of the brand’s seventh model, which will be launched next year in the U.S."
In one quick statement, Segler killed two birds with one stone. First, he cleared up the fact that this new coupe will indeed bear the Paceman name, as opposed to the Clubman Coupe. Secondly, we now know that the Paceman will hit showrooms some time in 2013. Though no official date was given, we anticipate that it will be fairly early in the year, as this is really not a new model, but rather just a Clubman with two doors.
This now expands the MINI lineup to seven models based on the same basic appearance. We are starting to wonder if MINI will ever get tired of producing the same car over and over again. Then again, as long as people keep snagging them up, why change?
We will continue to provide you with more updates on this upcoming model as we get closer to its release date.
Last month, the Mini Countryman Coupe - or the production version of the Paceman Concept unveiled at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show - was spotted for the first time doing some of its testing. Now the Coupe is back for another round of testing at the Nurburgring race track, this time featuring the future Countryman Coupe in a completely new color.
Minus the two doors giving it a more sporty appeal, the upcoming Countryman Coupe will be similar to its four-door version. We expect to see the same technology and engines as the standard Countryman, which means it will get a 122 HP 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine for the standard model and a turbocharged variant with 184 HP for the S version.
Expect to see the new Mini Countryman Coupe launched at the 2012 Paris Auto Show with sales on the US market to begin as a 2014 model.