The small car builder Mini made a name for itself on the Alpine stages of classic rally championships, and it rumored to be making a comeback in the much depleted WRC for 2011 and should be unveiled in March at the Geneva Motor Show. Similar to the Beachcomber Concept, the new Mini Countryman is a slightly larger Cooper wearing the same headlights and fog lamps, however the front end is specific to the future model especially with its unique grill and Pepper White paint scheme topped off with a black roof.

The Countryman will get 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines, with the S model getting a turbocharged. The turbo will take the power from 122 horsepower to 184. If you are lucky enough to live in Europe, you can get a few diesel options.

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…kmh that is.

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 at the end of 2010 with prices starting at $22,350. 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.

UPDATE 07/14/2010: Mini has just released specs on the 2011 Countryman. This article has been updated with that information.

UPDATE 09/01/2010: Check out our review of the Mini Countryman byclicking here!

UPDATE 10/07/2010: This article has been updated with pricing for the Countryman.

Updated 11/24/2010: Mini USA has put online the configurator for the new Countryman. So get there and start customizing the model of your dream. There are lots of options and accessories to choose from. Have fun!

Press release after the jump.

Press release

The introduction of a particularly versatile car concept raises the individual style of MINI and the driving pleasure so typical of the brand to a brand-new, unprecedented level of all-round perfection. As a genuine Crossover, the MINI Countryman for the first time combines the unique handling of a MINI with the variable space and versatility of a four-door and the supreme traction of a Sports Activity Vehicle optimised by optional all-wheel drive.

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Following the classic two-door, the MINI Clubman and the MINI Convertible, the fourth model in the range now meets all the challenges of urban mobility with maximum flexibility and individual style, offering a wide range of options in use far beyond conventional limits and opening up that typical feeling of MINI to new target groups.

Providing superior long-distance comfort on four single seats or, as an alternative, space for up to five passengers, an elevated seating position, flexible use of the interior, a new generation of both powerful and efficient engines as well as optional MINI ALL4 all-wheel drive, the MINI Countryman adds numerous attractive highlights to the emotional experience of driving a MINI. At the same time it re-interprets features characteristic of MINI in terms of design, premium quality, handling, efficiency and individual customisation in new, unprecedented style.

Given all these qualities, the MINI Countryman appeals strongly to additional target groups requiring extra space and flexibility for their family or leisure time activities and therefore seeking to combine the individual style of the brand with innovative function and enhanced versatility within the interior.

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The innovative concept of the MINI Countryman is implemented authentically by that unique design language so characteristic of MINI. The first model in the range to measure more than four metres in length, the MINI Countryman follows the principle once developed for the classic Mini to offer maximum interior space and function on the smallest possible footprint. Apart from the proportions typical of MINI, characteristic design features at the front, side and rear show clearly at very first sight that the MINI Countryman is a true member of the brand family.

The MINI Countryman is the first premium car of its kind, confirming its exclusive position against the widest range of competition through excellent quality of finish and supreme functionality within the interior as well as superior drivetrain and suspension technology.

three petrol and two diesel engines,90 hpto 184 hp; ALL4 all-wheel drive system

The MINI Countryman comes as standard with two single seats at the rear adjustable individually for length, and is available at no extra cost with a threeseat rear bench. Luggage capacity may be increased in several steps from 350 all the way to 1,170 litres (12.2–41.0 cubic feet). Standard features include not just air conditioning and the CD audio system, but also the innovative MINI Center Rail storage and fastening system connecting the front seats with the rear.

Upon its introduction in the market, the MINI Countryman is available with a choice of no less than three petrol and two diesel engines ranging in output from 60 kW/90 hp all the way to 135 kW/184 hp and offering exemplary efficiency in every respect. And it almost goes without saying that all variants of the MINI Countryman fulfil the EU5 emission standard in Europe and the ULEV II standard in the USA.

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Apart from the top-of-the-range MINI Cooper S Countryman, the MINI Cooper D Countryman is also available as an option with MINI ALL4 all-wheel drive, offering that agility so typical of MINI also beyond the beaten track. The suspension on all models comes as standard with DSC Dynamic Stability Control, while passive safety of the highest calibre is ensured not only by the high-load-resistant body structure, but also by no less than six airbags, threepoint inertia-reel seat belts on all seats, ISOFIX child seat fastening at the rear, and a Tyre Defect Indicator.

Design: MINI all the way with a high standard of individual style

In its concept, the MINI Countryman stands out clearly from all former models of the MINI brand, expressing its unique style self-confidently through the design and looks of the body. Measuring 4,097 millimetres or 161.3" in length, the fourdoor body of the car combines the proportions typical of the brand with extra ground clearance and an elevated seating position, the MINI Countryman thus bridging the gap between the classic Mini and a modern Sports Activity Vehicle. From the start, the design of the MINI Countryman emanates a unique feeling of independence, performance, robustness and versatility, particularly the clear structure of the front end giving the MINI Countryman a mature and most respectable look of class and style. But at the same time the new model naturally retains that unique charm and individual flair so typical of MINI.

Features characteristic of the front end of the MINI Countryman are the upright radiator grille, the powerfully contoured engine compartment lid, and the large headlight units. Rising up high, the front end guarantees full maintenance of the latest statutory requirements in pedestrian safety and at the same time gives the Crossover powerful stance on the wheels. The Powerdome on the engine compartment lid tapering out to the front bears clear reference to the muscle of the engine lurking within. Together with the main headlights positioned far to the outside in the engine compartment lid again in typical MINI style, the Powerdome offers a unique look on the surface of the car.

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Newly designed and embellished by chrome surrounds, the headlights extend unusually far into the side shoulders of the car, additionally emphasising the sheer width of the new model. In their contours, the headlights stand out clearly from the classic round design featured on the existing models in the range so far. The contour line moves dynamically to the outside at the upper level to increase the volume of the wheel arches, while further inside the headlight contours would appear to almost retreat from the wide-opening radiator grille, moving away in the opposite direction.

In its special and, indeed, quite unique shape, the radiator grille enhances the exclusive look of the MINI Countryman. Shaped as one hexagonal unit, the grille rises up in a more upright position than on all models so far. The three horizontal grid bars featured on the MINI Cooper Countryman, the MINI One Countryman, the MINI Cooper D Countryman, and the MINI One D Countryman extend far into the interior and thus appear to be almost hovering in space. On the MINI One Countryman and the MINI One D Countryman the horizontal bars are finished in high-gloss black, on the other models they come in painted matt silver.

The front end of the MINI Cooper S Countryman, finally, comes with a special radiator grille in unique design, with its hexagonal grid finished in black, and features an additional air intake integrated in the radiator grille as well as opening vents supplying air to the brakes.

Side-view characterised by growth in stature and greater ground clearance

The perfect harmony of the body itself and the windows comes out particularly clearly from the side of the car, the MINI Countryman again boasting the subdivision so typical of the brand into the actual body of the car, the window areas, and the roof. Despite the extra height of the MINI Countryman and its greater ground clearance, the proportions characteristic of MINI are still retained in full, short overhangs front and rear accentuating the typical concept and philosophy of offering maximum space on a minimum footprint.

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Through its unique graphics, the roof of the MINI Countryman accentuates the four-door configuration of the body and creates a high recall value. A functional roof railing further underlining the silhouette of the car almost reminiscent of a ship’s helm is integrated as standard in the roof, while the windows extend like a band round the entire car, creating a genuine feeling of “come inside” through their powerful transparency.

Rising up to the rear, the shoulder line of the body gives the windows a strong V-shape, as if the car were urging forwards dynamically even while at a standstill.

A precise character line extending along the lower third of the car’s flanks like an arch between the wheels shifts the visual centre of gravity to the rear and at the same time stretches the side view. The visual bridge between the front and rear axle, in turn, bears clear reference to all-wheel drive available as an option. The wheel arches in their powerful presence, finally, literally grow out of the body of the car and at the same time symbolise the powerful stance of the MINI Countryman on its wheels.

The black frame around the bottom of the body stands out even more on the MINI Countryman than on the other models of the MINI brand, accentuating the car’s grater ground clearance and highlighting the position of the wheels. A further feature clearly borne out in this way is the particularly long spring travel of the wheels, confirming that the MINI Countryman is suitable for a wide range of different purposes.

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The new diagonal function line at the transition point from the front side panel to the door likewise serves to distinguish the MINI Countryman from its counterparts within the range. This particular feature – yet another re-interpretation of the body welding seam at the same point on the classic Mini – comprises both the side direction indicator and the air outlet on the MINI Countryman. Conceived and designed as a wide and very robust-looking band, this diagonal function line continues the course of the A-pillar towards the front wheel. Like the C-pillar facing towards the rear axle, this special line again emphasises the impression of a powerful body resting strongly on its wheels.

Rear view: attractive contrasts of horizontal lines and upright rear light clusters

The proportions and horizontal subdivision of the rear end again underline the sporting character of the MINI Countryman, ensuring powerful presence also from this perspective. Broadening out in steps from top to bottom, the body structure emphasises the stable stance of the car, the muscular shoulder line additionally highlighting the masculine character of the MINI Countryman.

With its integrated, aerodynamically refined air flow contour, the roof appears to almost hover above the window areas. The chrome band extending round the entire car between the windows and the body, finally, forms yet another horizontal line as a further highlight in the design of the MINI Countryman. Like all models in the MINI range, the MINI Countryman comes with upright rear light clusters forming a distinctive contrast to the otherwise horizontal lines at the rear. Highlighted by chrome surrounds, the rear light clusters stand out three-dimensionally from the body of the car. Positioned far to the outside, the rear lights emphasise the width of the MINI Countryman and bear clear reference to the generous interior space.

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All light functions are integrated in the rear lights embedded like islands in the rear side panels. The inner structure of the lights is determined again in typical MINI style by full circles and circular sections also giving the car its unique night design.

For the first time the MINI logo at the rear has a specific function: Pressing the inner circle on the logo, the driver releases the rear lid swinging up to the top. The numberplate recess takes up the shape of the air intake in the front bumper, thus linking the front and rear ends through their clear symbiosis in design.

The rear air dam on the MINI Cooper S Countryman comes as a diffuser guiding the flow of air beneath the rear end of the car to optimise the aerodynamic qualities of this special model. The most powerful model in the range also stands out through its special roof spoiler, a twin-chamber exhaust system, as well as striking openings in the rear wheel arches.

The MINI Countryman is available with a choice of no less than eleven body colours, five non-metallic, six metallic. On the MINI One Countryman and the MINI One D Countryman the roof comes in body colour, while the MINI Cooper S Countryman, the MINI Cooper Countryman, and the MINI Cooper D Countryman are available with the roof finished either in Black or Light White as an alternative to the colour of the body as such.

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Interior design and elevated seating position reflecting the car’s enhanced function and powerful character

The interior of the MINI Countryman bears out strong analogies to the famous design language of the MINI, but is nevertheless refreshingly new. With wheelbase extended to 2,595 millimetres or 102.2" and the extra height of the body, the interior offers a new dimension of space and function. A particularly outstanding feature is the elevated seating position providing very comfortable access to the car, optimising the driver’s all-round visibility and intensifying the driving experience in the style of a Sports Activity Vehicle. All surfaces come in new, even more striking grain harmonising perfectly with the powerful look of the car. Hence, the innovative overall concept of the MINI Countryman and its unique character are also reflected clearly within the interior.

The instrument panel in the MINI Countryman is characterised by powerful, concave shapes and a sporting, functional impression. Extra-large air vents at the side emphasise the particular style of the interior in its modern class and function. Like the centre air vents, the Center Speedo and the gearshift lever, the air vents are highlighted by white surrounds in a contrasting colour. A further colour highlight is provided by the side surrounds on the centre console appearing to actually support and hold up the dashboard. The centre console itself, through its matt-black colour in conjunction with a chrome ring for the climate controls, is particularly stylish and sophisticated in its looks. Apart from the control units for the air conditioning featured as standard and a CD player, the toggle switches for various car functions typical of MINI are also housed within the centre console.

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Newly designed door panels underline the specific shape of the body and the extra space the MINI Countryman has to offer. The ellipsoid frame around the armrests and door closing handles again so typical of the brand is for the first time positioned in the middle, encompassing in its design also the B-pillars and emphasising the length of the interior through its stretched contours.

Variable space thanks to individual rear seats moving fore-and-aft. The MINI Countryman comes with new, special seats specific to this particular model. Sports seats are featured as standard on the MINI Cooper S Countryman, and sports seats in two different combinations of cloth and leather as well as various choices of all-leather finish are available optionally on all model variants. A particular highlight is the Lounge seats boasting the very best leather reminiscent of classy leather seats with piping all round in a classic British car. The single seats featured as standard at the rear move fore-and-aft 130 millimetres or 5.1" independently of one another. The rear seat bench with three seats extending from one side to the other and available at not extra cost likewise boasts this function, with the adjusting seat segments coming in a 60 : 40 split.

Even with the seats in their standard position, the MINI Countryman is able to accommodate a pram, for example, in its luggage compartment – and to meet additional transport requirements, the rear seat backrests may be moved to a cargo position increasing luggage space from 350 to 440 litres (12.2–15.4 cubic feet).

The rear seat backrests moving down both in part or in full also help to provide flexible space at the rear, with the backrests on the three-seat bench coming in a 40 : 20 : 40 split. This enables the driver and his passengers to increase their luggage capacity all the way to 1,170 litres or 41.0 cubic feet, enough for two mountain bikes with their front wheels removed.

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A roof carrier system is available as an option supplementing the roof railing featured as standard and may be prepared for fitting straight at the factory. MINI Center Rail: Unique storage concept with a wide range of customisation options.

Instead of a conventional centre console between the seats, the MINI Countryman comes with an innovative rail system, the unique MINI Center Rail enabling the driver and passengers to keep their personal belongings and odds and ends exactly where they need them at any point in time. At the same time the MINI Center Rail forms a visual and functional connection between the front and rear seats.

Whenever the MINI Countryman is fitted with single seats at the rear, the Center Rail configured as a U-profile extends through the entire passenger compartment all the way to the rear seat backrests. On models fitted with a three-seat rear bench, in turn, the MINI Center Rail ends at the backrests of the front seats.

Specially developed and easy-to-use clip-in fixtures allow the driver and passengers to use the MINI Center Rail individually as required, hanging on various bins and storage units. As an example, the MINI Center Rail may be fitted with holders for entertainment and telecommunication devices, cupholders, a case for glasses in genuine MINI design, as well as centre armrests held safely and comfortably in position. The holders and storage bins placed on the Center Rail may then be moved forwards and backwards to any desired position. And whenever the users place electronic devices such as a mobile phone or an MP3 player on the Center Rail, the integrated cable system automatically connects the respective device to the car’s on-board network and ensures full and convenient integration into the MINI Countryman’s entertainment system.

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Ambient Illumination and Colour Line for individual highlights

Ambient Illumination included in the optional Lights Package sets a particular highlight within the interior of the MINI Countryman. Providing an indirect lighting effect, Ambient Illumination creates special colour highlights throughout the entire door panel in night design, thus giving the interior a truly unique atmosphere. Using a toggle switch, the driver and passengers may vary the colour of the light generated infinitely all the way from warm orange to sporting blue, light rods also providing the colour desired on the MINI Center Rail from one end to the other.

A further advantage of this indirect illumination is that it is now much easier to find objects parked on the Center Rail.

The optional Colour Line provides further opportunities to customise the car, creating different colour effects along the door panels within their ellipsoid frame, on the centre armrest side panels, the lower section of the B-pillar covers, and the inserts on the Center Rail itself. The colours available in this case are Carbon Black, Polar Beige, Pure Red, and Dark Tobacco, as well as powerful Surf Blue exclusive to the MINI Cooper S Countryman.

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Trim bars for the cockpit as well as a Chrome Package adding discreet gloss to the air vents, the central instrument, the rev counter and the surrounds on the gearshift lever, provide an even more intense touch of colour and style.

Modern generation of petrol and turbodiesel power units

Superior, powerful, and efficient – these are the fundamental highlights of the three petrol and two turbodiesel power units available for the MINI Countryman. In their technical features, the power units are based on the outstanding knowhow of the BMW Group in the development of the most advanced engines.

They stand out in particular through supreme efficiency and, in the context of the MINIMALISM philosophy, come with the latest features for reducing both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

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The features offered for supreme fuel economy and emission management include, depending on the model involved, Brake Energy Regeneration, Auto Start Stop, a gearshift point indicator, as well as on-demand management of the engine’s ancillary units. So it is only obvious that all engines fulfil the EU5 emission standard in Europe and the ULEV II standard in the USA.

All versions of the MINI Countryman are fitted as standard with a manual sixspeed gearbox perfectly harmonising with the engines’ power and performance characteristics and meeting the specific requirements made of a premium car in this segment. As an option the MINI One Countryman, the MINI Cooper Countryman, and the MINI Cooper S Countryman are available with six-speed automatic transmission complete with Steptronic and gearshift paddles on the steering wheel.

MINI Cooper S Countryman: featuring variable valve management for the first time supplementing the turbocharger and direct fuel injection

All petrol engines featured in the MINI Countryman come with fully variable valve management. This technology for masterminding engine load without requiring a throttle effect quite unique within the segment of this new MINI and based on the VALVETRONIC valve management featured in BMW power units, optimises engine response and serves to significantly reduce both fuel consumption and emissions.

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Valve management adjusts the stroke and opening period of the intake valves within fractions of a second to the respective level of power required, the camshaft acting on the valves through an additional intermediate lever, and not directly through the follower arm. The rotating point of this additional lever is adjusted infinitely by an eccentric shaft controlled by an electric motor. The MINI Cooper S Countryman is the first model in the brand to combine fully variable valve management with turbocharging and direct fuel injection. This highly advanced combination gives the 1.6-litre four-cylinder with its twin-scroll turbocharger an unprecedented balance of power and fuel economy quite unparalleled in this segment. Maximum output of 135 kW/184 hp comes at an engine speed of 5,500 rpm, peak torque of 240 Newton-metres/177 lb-ft is available at just 1,600 rpm, increasing briefly by way of Overboost all the way to 260 Newton-metres/192 lb-ft for extra power when accelerating particularly fast and dynamically.

Benefiting from this kind of power, the MINI Cooper S Countryman accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h in just 7.6 seconds and has a top speed of 215 km/h or 133 mph. Fuel consumption in the EU test cycle, finally, is 6.3 litres/100 kilometres (equal to 44.8 mpg imp), with a CO2 rating of 146 grams per kilometre.

MINI Cooper Countryman and MINI One Countryman: sporting performance and outstanding efficiency all in one

Likewise displacing 1.6 litres, the naturally-aspirated power unit of the MINI Cooper Countryman again features fully variable valve management for sporting performance and efficient use of fuel. Maximum output of 90 kW/122 hp comes in this case at 6,000 rpm, with peak torque of 160 Newton-metres/118 lb-ft at 4,250 rpm. This kind of power accelerates the MINI Cooper Countryman from a standstill to 100 km/h in 10.5 seconds and gives the car a top speed of 190 km/h or 118 mph. Fuel consumption in the EU test cycle, finally, is 6.1 litres/100 kilometres (equal to 46.3 mpg imp), with a CO2 rating of 142 grams per kilometre.

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The dynamic entry-level model into the range is the 1.6-litre MINI One Countryman with maximum output of 72 kW/98 hp at 6,000 rpm and peak torque of 153 Newton-metres/113 lb-ft at 3,000 revs. Acceleration to 100 km/h comes in this case in 12.7 seconds, with the MINI One Countryman reaching a top speed of 175 km/h or 109 mph. Average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle is 5.9 litres/100 kilometres (equal to 47.9 mpg imp), with a CO2 rating of 137 grams per kilometre.

MINI Cooper D Countryman and MINI One D Countryman with new turbodiesel power units

Spontaneous power and pulling force, excellent running smoothness and a particularly high standard of fuel efficiency – these are the particular fortes of the new generation of turbodiesel power units available in the MINI Countryman. Indeed, the 1.6-litre four-cylinder represents all the outstanding know-how in development of the BMW Group, combining common-rail direct fuel injection with a turbocharger featuring variable turbine geometry for optimum power and performance at all engine speeds. And being particularly light thanks to their aluminium structure, the engines also set standards throughout the entire segment of the MINI Countryman through their low weight and superior acoustics.

0-60 mph in 7,6 seconds, top speed of 133 mph and 44.8 mpg

The new turbodiesel offers particularly impressive potentials in the MINI Cooper D Countryman, maximum output of 82 kW/112 hp at 4,000 rpm and peak torque of 270 Newton-metres/199 lb-ft at 1,750 rpm ensuring spontaneous acceleration and superior development of power. No surprise, therefore, that the MINI Cooper D Countryman accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h in 10.9 seconds and reaches a top speed of 180 km/h or 112 mph. Average fuel consumption of the MINI D Countryman in the EU test cycle of just 4.4 litres/100 kilometres (equal to 64.2 mpg imp), finally, is just as impressive as the CO2 rating of 116 grams per kilometre.

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The most fuel-efficient version of the new MINI is the MINI One D Countryman with its turbodiesel developing 66 kW/90 hp at 4, 000 rpm. Maximum torque of 215 Nm/158 lb-ft, in turn, comes at just 1,750 rpm, enabling the MINI One D Countryman to accelerate from a standstill to 100 km/h in 13.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 170 km/h or 105 mph. Average fuel consumption of just 4.3 litres/100 kilometres (equal to 65.7 mpg imp) and a CO2 rating of 113 grams per kilometre set supreme standards against the competition.
Both the MINI Cooper D Countryman and the MINI One D Countryman come as standard with a diesel particulates filter and an oxidation catalyst.

Newly developed suspension: best handling also in the MINI Countryman segment

The exceptional position of the MINI Countryman in its segment also results from the driving behaviour reminiscent of a go-kart so typical of the brand. And now the suspension technology enhanced to an even higher level on the new Crossover model converts the full potential of the very powerful engines safely and in superior style into outstanding agility. The precise and particularly sporting handling of the car, together with excellent motoring comfort, raises the MINI Countryman to a supreme position far above comparable concepts in the market.

The MINI Countryman comes with McPherson spring struts and forged track control arms on the front axle – a configuration ensuring excellent wheel guidance and keeping the steering free of drive forces even when accelerating fast or driving dynamically on a winding road. The multi-arm rear axle of the MINI Countryman based in its development on all the suspension know-how of the BMW Group is conceived for both front-wheel and all-wheel drive. Anti-roll bars front and rear minimise body sway and thus make an additional contribution to the car’s agile and safe driving behaviour.

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Compared with the other models in the range, the MINI Cooper S Countryman comes with an even more sporting suspension. And all variants of the MINI Countryman are available as an option with sports suspension lowering the entire car by 10 millimetres or almost 0.4".

EPS Electric Power Steering featured as standard makes a significant contribution to the agility of the MINI Countryman so typical of the brand. Another feature likewise boasted as standard is DSC Dynamic Stability Control comprising highlights such as ABS anti-lock brakes, EBD Electronic Brake Force Distribution, CBC Cornering Brake Control, a Brake Assistant, and a Hill Start-Off Assistant. The DTC mode allowing controlled slip on the drive wheels for setting off even more easily on loose sand or in deep snow comes as standard with the MINI Cooper S Countryman and in conjunction with the ALL4 all-wheel-drive system, and is available as an option on all other models. With Dynamic Stability Control switched off (DSC Off mode), the electronic lock function on the front wheel differential automatically applies the brakes on a drive wheel spinning in a tight bend for appropriate control and handling. Referred to as EDLC Electronic Differential Lock Control, this system enhances the car’s traction and drive power without generating a negative effect on its steering behaviour.

The MINI Cooper S Countryman comes as standard with 17-inch light-alloy wheels, and the MINI Cooper Countryman as well as the MINI Cooper D Countryman are fitted with 16-inch light-alloy wheels available in two exclusive design variants. The MINI One Countryman and the MINI One D Countryman, finally, come on 16-inch steel wheels.

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All models are available as an option with 18-inch wheels and the wide range of special equipment even includes wheels measuring 19 inches for an even more sporting and dynamic look.

MINI ALL4: more driving pleasure also when the road comes to an end

The MINI Cooper S Countryman and the MINI Cooper D Countryman are available as an option with permanent MINI ALL4 all-wheel drive. Based on an electrohydraulically operating centre differential, this sophisticated system spreads out drive power infinitely between the front and rear axle. Together with greater ground clearance, all-wheel drive offers ideal conditions for enjoying that driving pleasure so typical of MINI also beyond the beaten track. At the same time MINI ALL4 significantly enhances the car’s dynamic potential and ensures an even more superior driving experience particularly in critical situations.

Under normal driving conditions up to 50 per cent of the drive forces go to the rear axle, in extreme cases – for example on ice and snow – up to 100 per cent may be fed to the rear. This appropriate distribution of drive power between the front and rear axle optimises the efficiency of the new Crossover in the MINI range to an even higher standard, the control electronics of the MINI ALL4 system integrated for the first time directly in the DSC control unit ensuring a response time of less than a tenth of a second for optimum power distribution even on rapidly changing surfaces and with rapidly changing dynamic requirements.

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This gives the driver supreme agility combined with the usual safe driving characteristics again so typical of MINI.

Thanks to pro-active control by the MINI ALL4 system, the wheels are prevented from spinning by means of appropriate power and traction control, offering the driver not only enhanced driving dynamics, but also a much higher standard of motoring comfort.

The MINI Cooper S Countryman with ALL4 all-wheel drive comes as standard on 205/50 R17 tyres featuring runflat technology for supreme safety and performance in all situations. The same tyres are available as an option on all other models, just as all optionally available 18-inch wheels likewise come with runflat tyres.

A further feature of both ALL4 models is their specific suspension set-up: Together with the elaborate mounting for the final drive and propeller shaft, including a vibration damper fitted within the shaft, this set-up gives the all-wheel-drive versions of the MINI Countryman the same high standard of acoustic and dynamic comfort as on the models with front-wheel drive.

All-inclusive safety concept with torsionally stiff body structure and six airbags.

In terms of crash behaviour, there is again no difference between the frontwheel and all-wheel-drive versions of the MINI Countryman. To ensure this equality, the car comes with an innovative drive shaft made up of two elements giving way within one another in the event of a collision to absorb impact energy. The body structure of the MINI Countryman is also designed to offer maximum occupant safety in the event of a collision, high-load-resistant bearer structures, precisely defined deformation zones and an extremely stable passenger cell serving to keep impact forces away from the passengers.

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Highly effective restraint systems masterminded by central safety electronics provide further benefits within the interior. Through its decentralised satellites, the networked airbag control system is able to precisely recognise the specific conditions in the event of a crash, activating the appropriate restraint systems immediately and with maximum efficiency. The MINI Countryman comes as standard with frontal and side airbags as well as curtain airbags at the side on both the front and rear seats. All seats are furthermore equipped with three-point inertia-reel seat belts, belt latch tensioners and belt force limiters at the front, as well as ISOFIX child seat fastenings at the rear.


Wide range of standard equipment, numerous options for customising the car.

The MINI Countryman comes as standard with features such as air conditioning, the MINI Center Rail, and an audio system complete with a CD player. At the same time a wide range of optional extras and special equipment is available for each model, enabling the proud owner to configure his or her MINI in its typical style, according to his personal preferences and requirements. Among other highlights, this range of options includes high-end audio and navigation systems as well as mobile telephone interfaces including the option to fully integrate an Apple iPhone and extra Smartphones.

Adaptive Headlights are available in conjunction with the optional xenon headlight units, adjusting the beam angle to the course of the road ahead as a function of the steering position. Further highlights are an extra-large Panorama roof, a heated windscreen, a towbar, sports suspension lowering the entire car by 10 millimetres or almost 0.4", as well as the full range of John Cooper Works Performance Components.

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The MINI Countryman: new car concept, new options in use, typical MINI feeling

In its unique design, with enhanced functions, the most advanced suspension technology and newly developed power units, the MINI Countryman combines the emotional character so typical of the brand with a high standard of common sense and rational thinking. Hence, the new MINI Countryman takes an entirely new approach by combining the classic features of the brand with all the qualities of a modern Sports Activity Vehicle. And at the same time it brings together that unique agility so typical of MINI with enhanced motoring comfort to provide a truly unique driving experience.

As the fourth model within the range and the first premium car of its kind, the MINI Countryman is a pioneer in many respects. It opens up that characteristic MINI feeling for new target groups and at the same time transfers individual design and the unique fun of motoring into a segment with greater demands in terms of space available, diversity and motoring comfort, thus opening up new perspectives for the MINI brand as a whole.

Through this extension of the model range, the MINI brand once again proves its ability to grow with the demands of its fans and followers, while nevertheless remaining true to its particular character. So the MINI Countryman gives the brand fascinating new strengths and qualities all borne out in perfection by a truly innovative body concept and unique design.

Alina Moore
Alina Moore
Alina Joined the team in the early 2000s as one of the outlets very first experts, and she’s been with ever since. Over the years, she’s served various roles, but today she’s is relied on heavily to verify automotive facts, assist with formatting, and discover new and engaging topics.  Read full bio
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  (291) posted on 05.3.2010

A step in the right direction. However, even though the front-wheel drive always kept me away. So if they eventually drop the AWD in their normal coupe down the road.

  (534) posted on 01.19.2010

Nice one. This one is perfect for getaways, especially with your partner. If this doesn’t win on the race track, it can help you win a women’s heart.
69 Title: 2011 BMW 3- Series M-Sport

  (708) posted on 01.19.2010

I am a big Mini fan, but this seems weird in every picture, I guess is because I don’t like small crossovers, sure, some may have AWD and all that, but you they are not real off roaders and at the same time, are not as good as normal sedans on the road.

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