Cars Mini Mini Countryman

2017 Mini Countryman

2017 Mini Countryman
- image 693225
  • Mini Countryman
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • 0-60 time:
    7.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    135 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    23000 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

The Countryman just got larger with the help of BMW’s new X1 platform

Launched in 2010, the Countryman is one of the newest additions to the Mini family. Based on the Crossover Concept, the company’s first mini SUV debuted at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show with a range of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, a six-speed manual, and a six-speed automatic transmission. An all-wheel-drive model was added for the 2014 model year, a year before the Countryman received its mid-cycle refresh. Longer, wider and taller than any other Mini, the Countryman just got even larger with the second-generation model.

The new Countryman was spotted testing in Germany as early as September of 2014. Two years have passed and the crossover was unveiled at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. Significantly larger than its predecessor, the new Countryman boasts a new exterior and a revamped interior with modern features and new technology. Although Mini claims that the new crossover "remains firmly rooted in the tradition of the British brand," the modern-day Countryman has very little in common with the original two-door estate from the 1960s.

This will be highly noticeable among purists, some of which might be offended by the comparison, but open-minded fans will probably appreciate the enhanced roominess and larger trunk space that come with a longer and wider body. The redesigned crossover will hit North American shores starting March 2017. Stay tuned for updates.

Updated 12/07/2016: Mini announced prices for the 2017 Countryman which will go on sale in March 2017.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2018 Mini Countryman.

295 photos / 2 videos

Latest Mini Countryman news and reviews:

2018 MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 - Driven

2018 MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 - Driven

Plug-in cars are the future, and the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 seeks to prove they can be both practical and fun to drive.

And we’re not talking fun to drive in the “let’s see how far I can go on a tank of fuel” sense. We’re talking in the traditional, pedal-to-the-metal sense.

In a lot of ways, the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 succeeds in its mission. In one important way, however, I felt like it needed a little work.

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MINI Countryman Panamericana Plug-In Hybrid Is Ready To Go The Distance

MINI Countryman Panamericana Plug-In Hybrid Is Ready To Go The Distance

Enough hybrid power and practical upgrades to bridge a few continents

The 2018 New York International Auto Show is now in full swing, and MINI is getting in on the action with the debut of a unique new version of the Cooper SE Countryman ALL4. Rocking a select group of updates “specially designed for extremely challenging routes,” it’s a fresh take on mixing electric and gasoline motivation in a stylish British package.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2018 Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy

2018 Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy

A two-pronged attack from the Dakar champs

As is tradition, the world of motor sport is looking to kick off 2018 with the infamous Dakar Rally, one of the most brutal, unforgiving, car-breaking, will-sapping events ever conceived. The Dakar heads into its 40th running this year, and its tenth stint in South America after the move across the Atlantic in 2009, and once again, competitors will do battle over a variety of terrain, from sand, to tarmac, to boulder fields, to 13,000-foot mountain passes. With so much tough terrain and such insane distances to cover, simply completing the Dakar is considered a major accomplishment. However, X-raid and Mini aren’t looking to just reach the finish line - they wanna win. Thus far, the collaborative effort has yielded four consecutive victories between 2012 and 2015, with the most recent outing in 2017 snagging sixth overall thanks to the efforts of Argentinian driver Orlando Terranova. Now, X-raid and Mini are gearing up for a fresh approach that includes the brand-new RWD Mini John Cooper Works Buggy. Created to take advantage of certain regulations to bolster 2WD competition, the Buggy will race alongside the more traditional Countryman-based 4WD Mini John Cooper Works Rally for a two-pronged approach to tackling the Dakar.

Fittingly, both vehicles were presented in Paris prior to their competition debut. The Buggy is a particularly exciting new venture for the Germany-based X-raid, which for the past 15 years has focused primarily on 4WD competition vehicles. However, with an experienced roster of drivers ready to take the controls, plus the proven Mini Rally to bolster the ranks, the team is feeling good about its chances. Read on for details on what makes these machines tick.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini John Cooper Works Rally.

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See How The 2017 Mini Cooper Countryman Drives

See How The 2017 Mini Cooper Countryman Drives

We’re behind the wheel of the biggest Mini

This week I’m spending time behind the wheel of Mini’s biggest offering – the 2017 Countryman. Despite making a name for itself making subcompact cars, Mini now has to compete with automakers the world over. As such, the second-generation Countryman is now longer and wider than its predecessor, affording 3.8 inches more legroom in the rear seats and 7.7 more cubic feet of cargo room. It might be an oxymoron to have a big Mini, but this Countryman is far more practical for families than anything ever offered from this iconic British brand.

Back in the day, Mini was known for its tiny, ultra-compact runabout, the Morris Mini. Seven generations lasted from 1959 till 2000 and quickly earned the status of a cultural icon for British pop culture that extended across the globe. In 2001 and under new ownership of BMW, the Mini Cooper was launched and with it came a new age of Mini’s quirky, playful image that carries on today. Some say that quirkiness is lost on the new Countryman, mostly as a result of its new BMW underpinnings. See, the biggest Mini rides on the smallest BMW platform, BMW’s UKL modular architecture. The UKL is found under vehicles like the BMW X1 and 2 Series Active Tourer. It’s be riding under the second-generation Mini Clubman since its debut for 2016. So, how does the new and improved Mini Countryman handle behind the wheel? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for more on the 2017 Mini Countryman.

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The Mini Cooper Countryman Has The Heart of a Supercar

The Mini Cooper Countryman Has The Heart of a Supercar

Yet it only makes 134 horsepower?

Did you know the all-new 2017 Mini Cooper Countryman shares its turbocharged engine with a supercar? Indeed it does. Perhaps even more surprising, the Countryman only has 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. Wait, what? Yep, the Countryman shares it internal combustion engine with the BMW i8 – the hybrid halo coupe hailing from Munich.

The engine in question is BMW’s B38 1.5-liter turbocharged inline three-cylinder. The all-aluminum mill uses direct fuel injection and variable valve timing mixed with an 11:1 compression ratio and a single-scroll turbocharger to make its power. Two interesting side notes: the turbo is the first ever to use an aluminum housing and BMW still brands the 1.5-liter with the TwinPower name despite it not having a twin-scroll turbocharger.

Despite the technological wizardry, the Mini Countryman still weighs around 3,500 pounds, meaning it isn’t a hot performance machine. The sprint to 60 mph takes roughly 9.5 seconds and top speed caps at 120 mph. Needless to say, the Countryman isn’t a BMW i8.

Speaking of which, the BMW i8 hooks its 1.5-liter three-cylinder to a 7.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and two electric motors. Combined, the gasoline-electric hybrid system zaps out 357 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. While technically not supercar numbers either, the i8 is capable of hitting 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and reaching a top speed governed at 155 mph – far more impressive than the Countryman.

Still, it’s interesting to see how BMW has used the same engine two very different ways in two very different vehicles. So, what do you think? Does the shared engine boost your view of the Mini Cooper Countryman or degrade your view of the BMW i8? Let us know in the comments below.

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Ditch The SUV And Try One Of These Wagons Instead

Ditch The SUV And Try One Of These Wagons Instead

Ready to break away from the herd? One of these wagons might be the solution…

In case you haven’t noticed, American consumers are still enamored with the idea of driving around in a tall-bodied, relatively off-road capable SUV with loads of space to haul around many people and lots of things. Sales of such vehicles continue to rise, and automakers are responding by churning out new models by the truckload. But is there a better means to achieve similar ends? What if, for example, you want something with the capability, cargo space, and attitude of an SUV, but the maneuverability, ease of use, and comfort of a regular passenger car? Luckily, such a combo does exist, and we’ve got five of the best examples on the market lined up right here in this in-depth comparison article.

The five vehicles in question are (in alphabetical order) the Audi A4 Allroad, the Mini Clubman All4, the Subaru Outback, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, and the Volvo V60 Cross Country. That’s right folks – wagons, representing a diverse price range and wide array of tastes. Once the torchbearer of utility and practicality, the wagon body style has declined in popularity with the rise of the SUV. But just because something is trendy doesn’t mean it’s good, right? Read on to find out what makes these five vehicles fantastic alternatives to the SUV status quo. You rebel, you.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2018 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works Unveiled

2018 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works Unveiled

Say hello to the biggest, most powerful Mini ever produced at a factory

Mini just revealed the new Countryman John Cooper Works, which means the compact crossover now gets more space, more style, and more importantly, more speed. Now in its second generation, the Countryman JCW is the largest and most powerful Mini yet.

In case you were unaware, John Cooper Works is Mini’s performance badge, homage to the famous sports car designer of the same name. Any modern Mini with an inkling of sporting intent carries the JCW designation, and as such, the Countryman JCW gets upgrades to the engine, transmission, AWD system, suspension, aero, and interior design.

Let’s get down to the specifics then, shall we? Mounted behind the grille is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which was turbocharged to 228 horsepower at 5,000 rpm, and 258 pound-feat of torque between 1,450 and 4,500 rpm. And if you’re keeping score, that’s 20 ponies more than the outgoing Countryman.

Features include direct fuel injection, plus variable valve control and variable camshaft control (a.k.a. BMW’s Double Vanos system). Specific to the JCW model are new pistons, a new intercooler, and an additional radiator. There’s also a sport exhaust with a controllable flap and dual chrome tips.

Incredibly, Mini says the turbo pumps out an eye-popping 2.2 bar of boost (31.9 psi), but that’s gotta be a typo – we think 1.2 bar (17.4 psi) is closer to the truth!

Performance figures look like 6.2 seconds to 60 mph, while top speed is capped at 145 mph.

Cog swaps come courtesy of a standard six-speed manual, while an eight-speed Steptronic Sport Automatic is optional. Further JCW touches include a sportier suspension, 18-inch alloy rollers, and a Brembo brake package.

Outside, you’ll find more aerodynamic touches, plus larger intakes up front. The headlights get LEDs as standard. The body also gains 6.7 inches in length, 1.3 inches in width, and an extra 2.9 inches in the wheelbase.

Inside is seating for five, plus JCW-specific sports seats. Pilots can select from multiple driving modes, and should enjoy the 6.5-inch infotainment screen and various Connected features.

The 2018 Mini Countryman JCW will make its worldwide debut this coming April at the 2017 Shanghai Motor Show. Look for it in U.S. dealerships around that time.

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2017 Mini Countryman

2017 Mini Countryman

The Countryman just got larger with the help of BMW’s new X1 platform

Launched in 2010, the Countryman is one of the newest additions to the Mini family. Based on the Crossover Concept, the company’s first mini SUV debuted at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show with a range of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, a six-speed manual, and a six-speed automatic transmission. An all-wheel-drive model was added for the 2014 model year, a year before the Countryman received its mid-cycle refresh. Longer, wider and taller than any other Mini, the Countryman just got even larger with the second-generation model.

The new Countryman was spotted testing in Germany as early as September of 2014. Two years have passed and the crossover was unveiled at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. Significantly larger than its predecessor, the new Countryman boasts a new exterior and a revamped interior with modern features and new technology. Although Mini claims that the new crossover "remains firmly rooted in the tradition of the British brand," the modern-day Countryman has very little in common with the original two-door estate from the 1960s.

This will be highly noticeable among purists, some of which might be offended by the comparison, but open-minded fans will probably appreciate the enhanced roominess and larger trunk space that come with a longer and wider body. The redesigned crossover will hit North American shores starting March 2017. Stay tuned for updates.

Updated 12/07/2016: Mini announced prices for the 2017 Countryman which will go on sale in March 2017.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2018 Mini Countryman.

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2017 Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4

2017 Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4

Bigger and packing extra batteries

Mini first released the Countryman compact five-door crossover in 2010, following it up with a facelift in 2014. Despite vehement opposition from critics and purists who lampooned the model for being too big and too wooly to carry the Mini nameplate, the Countryman ended up being the British brand’s second most popular model, following the Hardtop. Now, there’s a new, second generation, and once again, it’s grown considerably. In fact, the new Countryman is the largest Mini ever produced, but that’s to be expected at this point. The real surprise is the announcement of a new plug-in hybrid variant, which adds electrified motivation to the tried-and-true formula of compact versatility and a fun-loving attitude.

It’s called the Mini Cooper S E Countryman All4, and it’s the first electrified Mini we’ve seen since the Mini E hit the scene in 2008. By contrast, the E was all-electric, helping to guide development of BMW’s i3 all-electric hatchback. The E Countryman is a hybrid, which means it’s still burning dino juice, but at a more efficient rate thanks to a little battery assistance.

Mini frames the E Countryman as “the perfect vehicle for urban target groups who wish to enjoy the benefits of purely electric mobility when commuting between home and work every day, for example, while at the same time benefitting from unlimited long-distance suitability at the weekend.”

The new plug-in sits at the top of the Countryman totem pole as the most efficient, most powerful, quickest, and presumably most expensive model in the line-up. All qualms over sizing aside, does the E Countryman have what it takes to keep rolling in the age of green motoring?

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4.

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Meet the Mini Countryman E Prototype

Meet the Mini Countryman E Prototype

The British brand prepares its first-ever hybrid

The first production series hybrid car, the Toyota Prius, may be only two decades old, but hybrid drivetrains have become increasingly popular over the years, to the extent that nearly every automaker offers or is at least working on one. Such is the case with Mini, which is about to launch its first-ever hybrid.

Still being tested on public roads ahead of production, the company’s first hybrid will be based on the Countryman crossover. Dubbed Countryman E, it’s almost identical to the conventional model, but uses hybrid technology borrowed from BMW, and is all-wheel drive when the combustion engine and electric motor are used at the same time.

Although Mini has yet to showcase a production-ready model and the prototype is still wearing the familiar black-and-yellow camouflage, the hybrid is identical to its gasoline and diesel siblings on the outside. Like any plug-in, it does feature a charging socket, but the device is discreetly integrated into the small vent on the left bumper (or side scuttle in Mini talk). The production car will also sport an "E" badge, but other than that, you won’t know it’s a hybrid.

Inside, the start/stop button in the center of the dashboard glows yellow instead of red, while the instrument cluster display will include a battery status display and other hybrid-specific information.

Mini didn’t say what engine and electric motor make up the hybrid drivetrain, but a turbocharged, 1.5-liter three-cylinder and a compact motor rated at 88 horsepower are the most likely options. The three-pot will spin the front wheels, while the electric motor will be installed right over the rear axle and will motivate the rear wheels.

The British firm says that the hybrid model will always start in electric mode, while the combustion engine will be engaged depending on the vehicle’s speed and the intensity with which the driver operates the accelerator pedal. Speaking of the latter, Mini promises "catapult-like acceleration" due to the instant torque generated by the electric motor. The drivetrain will have three modes. Auto eDrive will permit speeds of up to 50 mph, while Max eDrive will allow the driver to travel with speeds of up to 78 mph. The third mode is Save Battery, in which the combustion engine moves the car while the high voltage battery retains charge at a constant level or recharge via the generator.

The hybrid also gives us our best look at the next-generation Countryman. The design is obviously evolutionary and the vehicle appears to ride a little taller than the current model. It should also be longer and wider, as all Mini cars have grown larger with each generation. The new Countryman will be unveiled by the end of the year and arrive in showrooms in 2017.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2018 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works

2018 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works

Mini has finally started testing the 2018 Countryman JCW

The Mini Countryman was added to the Mini family back in 2010, and it was refreshed for the 2015 model year. Since then, we’ve seen spy shots of the next generation Countryman testing, with the most recent shots coming back in January of 2016. Now, we’ve got some more spy shots, but this time, they are shots of the next-generation Mini Countryman John Cooper Works. This comes as no surprise, as the next-gen Countryman is reportedly due to hit showrooms in the second half of this year, and the JCW version is sure to follow shortly after that.

As far as information goes, we have very little concerning the Countryman JCW, but the spy shots at least give us an idea of how the JCW variant will differ from the base model. Of course, the JCW models never really vary that much, but there is at least some difference to talk about. The model will, of course, get all of the new design and styling from the soon-to-be-released base model, but it will sport a few differences of its own.

With the base model Countryman debuting soon, this thing will likely hit dealerships by the end of the year. So, with that said, let’s take a closer look at these spy shots and see if we can make out anything significant on the Countryman JCW.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works.

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2015 Mini Countryman Park Lane

2015 Mini Countryman Park Lane

After introducing the bonkers Clubman Vision Gran Turismo, Mini didn’t see fit to come empty-handed to the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, and therefore brought a special edition of its Countryman crossover. Called the Countryman Park Lane, the special model was named after a London street in the upscale Mayfair district, while hardcore Mini aficionados may remember that this is not the first ever Park Lane model featured in the carmaker’s lineup. A more luxurious version of the classic Mini featured the Park Lane moniker in 1987, as did a posh modern Mini back in 2005.

At first glance, the special-edition Countryman isn’t overly charismatic-looking, but, as with plenty of other British models, the devil is in the details. Particularly high-end fittings are to be found as standard on the Countryman Park Lane, with the special edition being offered in up to eight different versions, depending on the market.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini Countryman Park Lane.

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Latest spy shots:

2016 Mini Countryman Plug-In Hybrid

2016 Mini Countryman Plug-In Hybrid

It seems the 2016 Clubman and 2016 Countryman aren’t the only brand-new vehicles Mini is working on. Word from our spy photographers has it the British marque is also testing its first plug-in hybrid automobile. Naturally, Mini hasn’t designed a brand-new vehicle altogether, but it will implement the technology across its entire lineup over the next few years. In the meantime, the Countryman will be the only mini to feature hybrid technology and the photos we just received from out paparazzi provide us with our first look at the thriftier Mini.

Much like most test vehicles spotted, the hybrid Countryman comes wrapped in heavy camouflage, so there’s really nothing new to see as far as exterior styling goes. In fact, we have only the "Hybrid Test Vehicle" sticker on the rear bumper as a hint that this Countryman also employs an electric motor under its skin. Actual details are still unknown as Mini has yet to confirm it will offer a hybrid, but the news of a plug-in Countryman is far from shocking with a plug-in version of the 2015 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer underway. Since the two vehicles make use of the same UKL platform, it was only a matter of time before Mini began exploring hybridization.

That time has apparently come, and judging by the way things usually roll at Mini, the Countryman Plug-In Hybrid is set to arrive right after the next-generation crossover debuts sometime in 2016.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Mini Countryman Plug-In Hybrid.

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4 Best Black Friday Deal Haulers

4 Best Black Friday Deal Haulers

Thanksgiving has come and gone, which means the nation-wide rush to collect maximum savings from those shameless Black Friday offers is now officially in full swing. There are few things the U.S. loves more than a good deal, and those seeking to (sometimes literally) beat the crowds on this sales crusade should expect anything and everything, from mildly annoyed grandmas, to highly trained, militant retail extremists sporting linoleum-colored camouflage and laser-guided credit cards. This is the big time, a world-renowned annual orgy of consumption that makes the Battle of Helm’s Deep look like a cheese and cracker after party. People will literally go crazy over a flat-screen HD television available for $328, or a 10-speed electric food mixer for $199. Forget the hospital bills, you’d be crazy not to go shopping today!

It’s tough out there, and to survive, you’ll need a vehicle capable of weathering the discount hurricane. The masses will almost certainly devolve to the point of barbarism, so before stepping into the fray, consider our list of ideal Black Friday Deal Haulers. Then clip those coupons, load up the chariot, pack a snack next to the pepper spray, and charge!

Click past the jump to see our list of optimal Black Friday Deal Haulers.

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2015 Mini Countryman

2015 Mini Countryman

The 2014 New York Auto Show is here and Mini has brought with it the new 2015 Countryman. It’s safe to say that the Countryman has come a long way since being introduced to the U.S. in the 2011 model year, even establishing a following of its own that’s unique to all other variants of the Cooper.

Being a five-door model was probably a big advantage for those who sought a bigger Cooper. It was also the first all-wheel drive Mini, which made it ideal as one of the few Coopers that can hit the beaten path when called upon.

The 2015 Countryman doesn’t offer a lot of changes that will blow you away. But the success of the Countryman as a unique model should make the 2015 model another popular seller. If anything, the minor cosmetic tweaks can be described as a bonus relative to what the whole package is offering.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Mini Countryman.

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You May Now Register for Mini Takes the States 2014

You May Now Register for Mini Takes the States 2014

Mini owners, pack your bags, get your car serviced and then get your butt to San Francisco; the Mini Takes the States road rally is back! This biennial event is the largest official Mini road rally covering 18 states, 15 cities and more than 5,000 miles. The trip will begin on Saturday July 26 in San Francisco California and will end two full weeks later on Sunday August 10 in Boston.

Along the way, you will get the chance to see much of our great country as the journey winds West into Colorado, then cuts south into Texas. From there you head towards Memphis, Tennessee and up to Chicago finishing with a northern detour to Buffalo, NY and finally arriving Boston. There are several more stops scattered through the middle as well.

While the cost for the trip will be what you make of it, Mini has thankfully made the entry and registration fees decidedly affordable at $45 per person with kids under 12 and all pets being freebies. If you decide that a 14-day cross-country vacation is not quite your cup of tea, Mini happily invites you to join for any portion of the festivities you prefer.

Whether you own a Cooper Hardtop, Clubman, Countryman or any other member of the Mini brand, join in and have fun.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mini Takes The States Event.

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Mini Completely Updating its Engine, Chassis and Safety for Next-Gen Lineup

Mini Completely Updating its Engine, Chassis and Safety for Next-Gen Lineup

We’ve seen plenty of spy shots of the 2014 Mini Cooper, and we’ve even seen leaked imaged. Heck, we even had Mini officials complaining that leaked images didn’t represent the newly redesigned models properly. Well, Mini is now starting the flow of next-gen information by releasing a very in-depth presser that outlines the chassis, engine and safety updates to the soon-to-be-revealed models.

This press release, which dropped late last night, confirms that the new Mini models will feature three- and four-cylinder powerplants, ranging from a petite 1.5-liter, three-banger up to a 2.0-liter, four-pot that nearly reaches the 200-horsepower mark. Along with these new engines will comes an all-new driveline that will help deliver increase fuel economy across the range.

The chassis will also get some nice refinements that will offer up precision handling and a comfortable ride all at the same time.

Click past the jump to read more about the next-gen Mini technology

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2013 Mini Countryman ALL4 Camp

2013 Mini Countryman ALL4 Camp

With the introduction of the Mini Countryman ALL4, the number of four-wheel-drive models in the automaker’s lineup increases, giving us more choices on which of these models will suit our four-wheel-drive fancy.

Apparently, MINI has something in store for the Countryman ALL4 and it involves having a tricked-out tent on its roof. Camping season is upon us, and Mini’s got the perfect outdoor companion in the form of the Countryman ALL4 Camp.

As the name suggests, the Countryman ALL4 Camp is a mobile camping machine in the sense that you can literally move your camp around without having to worry about packing it up and stuffing it into the cargo hull. That’s because the camp is already set up...on the roof!

All you have to do is use a ladder to head upstairs into the tent, fold out the upper half of the tent out of its storage box, fluff up the pillows and you’re ready to get that much-needed snooze time. Once you’re up and about, you can enjoy the spectacular view that the Countryman’s higher ride height provides.

When you’re ready to head out for more adventure, you can stow away the tent into its box, climb down the ladder, and ride your mountain bike that’s stowed on the specially-fitted bicycle rack.

The Mini Countryman ALL4 Camp is the suitable partner for all those weekend camping trips, which at this time of the year, will undoubtedly pick up in volume.

Click past the jump to read about the MINI Countryman ALL4

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Latest New York Auto Show:

2013 MINI Cooper Countryman ALL4

2013 MINI Cooper Countryman ALL4

Mini is expanding its Countryman lineup with the addition of a new ALL4 version based on the standard Cooper version. The new model will be put on sale in July 2013 and will increase the number of all-wheel-drive versions within the Mini model range to 10 models.

The new Countryman ALL4 is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with an output of 122 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic transmission and sends its power to all four wheels via a permanent all-wheel-drive system. With this new system, the driver has full control of the car on snow, sand or slippery surfaces, and will also enjoy extra grip on twisty roads.

The Countryman ALL4 will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 11.9 seconds with a manual transmission or 11.7 seconds with the optional automatic, and will be capable of hitting of 114 mph.

Click past the jump to read more about the standard Mini Countryman.

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Video: Swiss Artists Lu&Lu Turn the MINI Countryman Into an Alpine Art Car

Video: Swiss Artists Lu&Lu Turn the MINI Countryman Into an Alpine Art Car

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.

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2013 Mini John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4 Dakar Winner

2013 Mini John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4 Dakar Winner

Mini has unveiled a special-editionJohn 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.

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Video: MINI Countryman Does Crazy Back Flip in the French Alps

Video: MINI Countryman Does Crazy Back Flip in the French Alps

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

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Video: Mini Attempts the World's First Unassisted 360-Degree Backflip

Video: Mini Attempts the World’s First Unassisted 360-Degree Backflip

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.

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2012 Mini Countryman X-raid Dakar Edition

2012 Mini Countryman X-raid Dakar Edition

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.

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MINI Mulling Over a Miata-Like Sports Car, Among Other Projects

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!

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2013 Mini Countryman JCW

2013 Mini Countryman JCW

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.

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Next-Gen X1 Will Go Front-Wheel Drive and Share Mini Driveline Components

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.

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Official: Mini Paceman Hitting Showrooms in 2013

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.

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2014 Mini MPV Traveller

2014 Mini MPV Traveller

Mini is getting serious about expanding its line-up with the addition of a series of new models. Some of them have already been unveiled - like the new Coupe and Roadster - but others only exist due to rumors, at least until now. For the first time, the possible 5 seater van/mpv based on the Countryman platform has been captured by our spy photographers testing in mule form.

As you can see from these spy shots, the front fenders are a lot wider when compared to a standard Countryman and this is due to a slightly wider chassis that will offer more room in the Traveller. The wheelbase is also slightly longer due to the fact that the front wheels have been moved forward.

The new model will be built in order to offer Mini clients a more practical car featuring the typical Mini genes. As expected, the overall look of the Traveller will be very much Mini. The dimensions are compact and the front overhang has been kept short.

Mini’s new van/mpv will be previewed under the Spacebox name and the production car could be named the Traveller when it hits the market in 2014.

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Spy Shots: Mini Countryman Coupe does its own testing at Nurburgring

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.

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Spy Shots: 2014 Mini Countryman Coupe caught testing for the first time

Mini has a knack for developing vehicles that are as appealing to the market as donuts are to our boys in blue. This is evident in the fact that all of their models have been well-received by all, production as well as concept versions. Now, the company is adding another ace in the hole with a production version of the Paceman Concept unveiled at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. The model will be sold as a coupe version of the Countryman and has just been caught testing for the first time. The new Countryman Coupe will be making its world debut at the 2012 Paris Auto Show and will be sold on the US market as a 2014 model.

The Countryman Coupe will feature the same technologies 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. Customers will be able to choose between both a six-speed manual or an automatic transmission. We just hope that Mini will also bring out a JCW Countryman Coupe.

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2012 MINI Cowley Caravan

2012 MINI Cowley Caravan

In case you haven’t noticed over the past couple of years, it’s important to understand that when it comes to MINI, there’s nothing in the realm of imagination that these guys aren’t afraid to pursue.

The BMW-owned company has never been a shy about its quirky approach in their marketing exploits, as well as in building concepts, special editions, and everything else in between. And as if to continue in that trend, MINI has released a couple of new models that are, safe to say, unlike anything else anybody’s ever built.

One of the models is called the MINI Cowley Caravan, a model that was based on the Countryman, and comes with pretty much everything you need to build an impromptu camp site.

There are two welcoming sleeping berths, a twin-burner gas-stove, a water tank with its own pump and dish-washing facility, a solar module to charge the on-board battery, and a 230-volt power connection that serves as the power source for - get this - the refrigerator, the TV/DVD, and hi-fi stereo system.

The words "MINI" and "contemporary" have very few similarities between them, and you don’t need to look further than the Cowley Caravan as proof of that. Despite being a separate apparatus in its own right, the eye-catching trailer is still only 12 centimeters - that’s under five inches - wider than a MINI Clubman and weighs just under 300 kilograms - 661 lb - making it svelte enough to be towed around by the Countryman, thus turning it into a true road companion whenever and wherever you go.

And by the way, we are 100% sure that this was a clever April Fool’s Day joke from the automaker. Well played, Mini.

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Gran Turismo 5: 2.03 upgrade now available for download

Gran Turismo 5: 2.03 upgrade now available for download

The first downloadable package for the new Gran Turismo 5 became available back in October, followed by a second upgrade package for December, and now GT5 honchos have come up with a third update to to add to the collection. Think they’re overdoing it a bit? Yeah, so do we, but making money is always at the forefront of these decisions.

The new 2.03 update package includes 12 new home themes and wallpapers, better tire wear prediction in B-Spec races, and adjustments to the Chaparral 2J race car’s performance point index. Gamers can also choose between two different packages. Car Pack 3 includes models like the Nissan Leaf, the 2010 Aston Martin V12 Vantage, the 2011 Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4, the 2011 MINI Cooper S Countryman, and the classic Volkswagen Beetle. Price for this package is $5.99.

The second update package choice is called the Speed Test Pack and includes an 18.82 miles long track where you can test models like the Red Bull X2011. The price for this package is $3.99.

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2011 MINI Countryman ALL4 by H&R Springs

2011 MINI Countryman ALL4 by H&R Springs

Ever since MINI started expanding its line-up a few years ago, the German automaker has made great strides in bringing back its old school charm. In reinventing itself as a company, MINI has become quite a hit in the market and to a certain extent, the tuning market as well.

One aftermarket group that has taken a particular fondness to the MINI Countryman ALL4 is H&R, a Washington-based company.

Packed with its noted suspension components and a slew of aftermarket products, the H&R-tuned Countryman was turned from a mild-mannered crossover into a performance vehicle that exudes plenty of attitude.

The first order of business was lowering the car’s ride height and doing so without affecting the car’s overall drivability. H&R then added TRAK+ wheel spacers to create the perfect offset for the Countryman ALL4’s new set of 18" BE by Breyton GTF2 wheels wrapped in Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires. The wheel-and-tire set-up is complimented by slotted brake rotors and blue Goodridge steel braided steel lines, thus improving the car’s overall braking power.

Not only does the new set-up provide stunning good looks for the car, but it also enhanced its cornering grip. Add that to other pertinent changes done on the Countryman ALL4, including an Alta Performance Front Mount Intercooler and Cold Air Intake package, a Borla stainless steel exhaust system, and Motul lubricants, and you have a program that speaks to the Countryman ALL4’s fun-loving character.

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2011 MINI Countryman S by Prodrive

2011 MINI Countryman S by Prodrive

After years of testing and development, the MINI Countryman WRC is finally strutting its stuff on the world rally scene with an eye towards a full WRC schedule for next year.

We’re saying this because it appears that Prodrive, the very same outfit that runs MINI’s WRC outfit, is in the process of developing a completely modded Countryman that includes an extensive body kit that features, among other things, a a large fixed carbon fiber wing and a new set of alloy wheels.

According to Autocar, the Prodrive-tuned Countryman also features an comprehensive performance upgrade, one that includes a Prodrive Militek exhaust system and an engine upgrade courtesy of Superchips. The latter took the crossover’s 1.6-liter turbocharged engine and improved its output from the standard 184 horsepower to an more impressive 230-horsepower output.

Even better is that Superchips is still confident in churning out more ponies than it already has in their dyno tests, so that 230-pony figure could still rise up after more testing. No word yet on when MINI will be unveiling a high-performance Countryman, so it could very well be that this is the one that we’ve all been waiting for.

Note: Photo is of the MINI Countryman WRC

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Top Gear Season 17: Episode 1

Top Gear Season 17: Episode 1

Season 17 of Top Gear has finally arrived and as expected, there’s been a lot of buzz as to what the troika of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May have in store for us. Now we’ve already seen the previews of Season 17, but now that the first episode has finally aired, we can take a look back at what transpired in those 60 minutes.

Certainly, there were plenty of things talked about on the first episode, not the least of which include a hulking piece of four-wheeled monstrosity from South Africa, a review of BMW’s latest pride and joy, a race between a new rally car and a smoking hot Olympic gold medalist, and a certain American rock legend trading in his shock-rock world for the driver seat of a Kia Cee’d hatchback.

Highly entertaining as always, the 17th season of Top Gear is now here.

Check out a review of the first episode after the jump.

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Video: TopGear Season 17 Trailer

Video: TopGear Season 17 Trailer

The first episode of Top Gear Season 17 is set to be aired on June 26, but for all of those fans that cannot wait another moment to see the Top Gear UK trio at work, BBC has been kind enough to release a teaser trailer of what to expect.

The trailer will refuel your Top Gear obsession by showing clips of Jeremy Clarkson driving the McLaren MP4-12C, James May riding around in the Mini WRC racing car, and Richard Hammond cruising in the Dartz Prombron through city streets. A Porsche Boxster, a Citroën DS3 Racing, and an Abarth 500C will also be making their appearances, plus a short trip to Monte Carlo will help to wrap things up.

We may still have to wait 11 days for the full episode to grace our television screens, but this teaser trailer just cements the fact that Top Gear 17 is starting and will be better than ever.

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2011 MINI Countryman KISS Edition

2011 MINI Countryman KISS Edition

The New York Auto Show was treated to quite a surprise when rock music legends KISS made a surprise appearance to officially introduce four MINI Countryman vehicles, each wearing one of the band member’s world-famous face paints.

Each of the cars were dressed up with their own unique paint finishes bearing the face paint of each of the four members of the rock band. While the cars aren’t going to be sold to the public, all four special edition Countrymans will be auctioned off during a special Father’s Day eBay charity auction to raise money for UNICEF and its attempts to assist the children of Japan. The auction is scheduled for May 29th, 2011, which, incidentally, is Father’s Day.

The tie-up between MINI and KISS is a joined effort in providing assistance to the people of Japan who were struck with a devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami last month. "Our hearts go out to the people of Japan in this time of great tragedy. We wanted to help and also to provide a real way for the KISS Army to get involved," said Gene Simmons, the frontman of KISS.

"UNICEF raises money to help children who are still coping with the effects of these disasters, and also supports other very important emergency relief efforts around the world. Join the KISS Army in giving."

While the cars are set up to be auctioned off on Father’s Day, fans of the both MINI and KISS who won’t be able to buy the cars will get a chance to dress up their MINIs with KISS-inspired wraps, which MINI USA introduced on April 21, 2011. Just like the special edition cars themselves, all proceeds from the sales of these wraps will be given to UNICEF.

UPDATE 06/01/11: The four special edition MINI Countryman KISS Edition is now up on eBay and is currently being auctioned off. Here’s your chance to post your bids and if you want it bad enough, you can own any one of these four special edition MINIs. Keep the bids coming, people! It’s for a great cause!

Video and Press Release after the jump

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2011 MINI Countryman 'Wanderlust' by Magda Sayegis

2011 MINI Countryman ’Wanderlust’ by Magda Sayegis

With so many auto brands going the way of producing art cars over the years, it certainly doesn’t surprise us that somebody would do something with a MINI. So when the German automaker decided to commission renowned artist, Magda Sayegis, to put her talents to good use on a MINI Countryman, we weren’t exactly shocked.

As part of the company’s ‘Wanderlust’ campaign, MINI enlisted the services of Sayegis, a noted artist that became famous for wrapping public spaces around the world with custom yarn knitting. This time around, her subject isn’t a public park or the outside of a museum, but a live MINI Countryman.

Jim McDowell, Vice President MINI USA, said in a statement: "The MINI Countryman embodies the Wanderlust feeling like no other MINI model and the company is launching this interactive campaign to demonstrate how anyone, not just MINI Marketing, can take part in the fun and express what Wanderlust means to them."

Mayegis yarned up the Countryman pretty good at her Wanderlust-inspired event in Austin, Texas. After finishing up the final touches of the yarn-bombed Countryman, Sayegis and her friends celebrated the occasion with a picnic where the car was officially displayed for all the participants to see.

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2011 Mini Countryman by AC Schnitzer

2011 Mini Countryman by AC Schnitzer

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.

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2011 Mini All4 Racing

2011 Mini All4 Racing

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.

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Mini Countryman Has A Price

Mini Countryman Has A Price

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.

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Video: MINI Countryman WRC spotted testing in Portugal

Video: MINI Countryman WRC spotted testing in Portugal

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.

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New Mini concept to be revealed in London on September 23rd

New Mini concept to be revealed in London on September 23rd

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 thesame 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!

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Video: MINI Countryman(s) "Getaway" commercial

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.

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Review: 2011 Mini Cooper Countryman

Review: 2011 Mini Cooper Countryman

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 newMini, 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?

Hit the jump to read just how they did it.

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Video: Mini Countryman's funny commercials

Video: Mini Countryman’s funny commercials

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, theCountryman 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.

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Mini Countryman will enter World Rally Championship in 2011

Mini Countryman will enter World Rally Championship in 2011

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.

Press release after the jump.

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