MINI Countryman Panamericana Plug-In Hybrid Is Ready To Go The Distance
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.
2017 Mini Cooper 1499 GT
It’s a funny thing what a special edition car can do to polish an automaker’s shine. Nobody knows this better than Mini, which has created its fair share of special edition models, including one that it had just announced for the French market: the Mini Blackfriars Edition. Now, it’s doubling down on the SE goodness with yet another offering called the Mini 1499 GT.
In essence, the 1499 GT is not a special edition model that was concocted out of someone’s imagination, but rather, a tribute piece to one of the most iconic Minis to have hit the pavement: the 1971 1275 GT. Most of the functioning 1275 GTs have probably been lost in the sands of time and rust, but the 1499 GT is now here to breathe some life back to the legacy of the legendary hatchback. Between exterior features that pay homage to the classic Mini to suspension tweaks that ensure that it can perform as well as advertised, the new Mini 1499 GT is a stunning example of the best of what Mini can come up. The only downside is that only 1,499 units of the car will be made, and worse, all units will be sold exclusively in the UK market. It’s a bummer, sure, but don’t let dampen your spirits. It’s rare enough to see a special edition tribute car that properly pays homage to the car it’s supposed to be tipping its hats to. It’s even rarer to see one that takes the inspiration to a level that makes people actually reminisce about the classic. The 1499 GT does that, and then some.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Mini Cooper 1499 GT.
2017 Mini Cooper Blackfriars Edition
Mini’s pantry of special edition models is stock full of unique creations, adding weight to the thought that the German automaker is no stranger to this fancy exclusives. Even with an inventory that’s bursting at the seams, special edition work soldiers on for Mini with the presentation of its latest creation, the Cooper Blackfriars Edition.
Taking inspiration from the Blackfriar’s section of London where the order of Dominican monks who carry the same name reside, this unique Cooper hatchback is defined by its subdued yet effective upgrades. There’s plenty of black to go around too, a nod to the traditional black robes worn by the Blackfriar’s monks. Inspired color motifs aside, the special edition Cooper also features plenty of unique details in its exterior and interior, not to mention the references to the Blackfriars from where it got its name. It’s not the flashiest special edition Mini Cooper we’ve seen, and it may not even be the most appealing one, but it does stick to the identity of the institution that it takes inspiration from. That’s more than what we can say for other special edition vehicles that lack the connection to what they’re supposed to be celebrating or at least shining a light on.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Mini Cooper Blackfriars Edition
Say What? Who’s Valued Higher Than Ferrari?
In a surprising twist of fates, Mini now outranks Ferrari in terms of corporate value. The rankings come by way of Interbrand, a global brand consulting firm, which says Mini is worth $5.11 billion and Ferrari only $4.87 billion. While a half-billion might be a small margin, Mini’s lead over the Italian supercar automaker comes as a big surprise. Of course, it’s worth noting Ferrari is new to Interbrand’s list of Best Global Brands.
CarScoops reports Mini’s success can be attributed to its 3.1-percent year-over-year sales increase for a total of 230,925 vehicles sold globally. Mini’s completely revised 2017 Countryman has seen a 12.9-percent jump in sales over this time last year and the Mini Convertible boasts a whopping 20.3-percent sales increase over 2016. Of course, Mini’s focus is on sales volume whereas Ferrari is concerned with exclusivity and brand image.
In the grand scheme of things, both Mini and Ferrari are small fish compared to larger automakers. Mini’s parent company, BMW, is valued at $41.5 billion and ranks third in the automotive sector behind Mercedes at $47.8 billion and Toyota at $50,2 billion. Outside the automotive sector, Apple takes the top honors with a value of $184.1 billion followed by Google at $141,7 billion. A huge gap exists between the second-place Google and third-place Microsoft, with Bill Gates’ former company only valued at $79.9 billion. Still, the software giant outranks all other companies on Interbrand’s list.
See How The 2017 Mini Cooper Countryman Drives
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.
The Mini Cooper Countryman Has The Heart of a Supercar
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.
Ditch The SUV And Try One Of These Wagons Instead
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.
2017 Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4
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.
2017 Mini Seven
Mini’s history runs all the way back to 1959 when British Motor Corporation released the Morris Mini-Minor and the Austin Seven – two nearly identical models that offered “an unusually generous amount of space for passengers and luggage within a minimum surface area.” The current generation of the Mini Cooper and Cooper S is said to embody the latest version of this principal, so Mini has decided to announce a new special edition model that it believes can pay homage back to the days when the Austin Seven came to be. The special edition is offered on two- and four-door variants of the Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S, but don’t get too excited yet because there isn’t a whole lot to talk about.
In Short, the Mini Seven is nothing more than a Cooper or Cooper S with a small selection of unique exterior colors, some new trim, and of course the old “Seven” name. That’s it. Mini isn’t offering any extra power, technology, or any weight savings. Be that as it may, we’ve decided to take a closer look at the Mini Seven anyway. So, grab yourself a soda, and take a little journey down the page with us as we discuss the Mini Seven and the little things it brings to the table.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Mini Seven.
2018 Mini Sedan
Ever since Mini was acquired by BMW, the British motoring icon has struggled to grow. Once known simply as a provider of fun, accessible, small-sized transportation, the brand has made several forays into uncharted territory over the years, some of which have brought success, and others – not so much. Now, however, Mini says it has the right formula. Rather than offering myriad niche variants like it did in the recent past, Mini is looking to trim the fat to just five core model lines. Four of these are already known, including the hardtop, convertible, Countryman subcompact crossover, and Clubman five-door wagon. The final fifth pillar, however, remains a mystery. That said, rumor has it a Mini sedan is heading down the pipeline.
Supporting the speculation is a comment made by Ralph Mahler, vice president for product management at Mini, who dropped a hint at the New York Auto Show while speaking to the U.K. publication Autocar about market trends, saying, “For example, in Asia and the U.S., the sedan segment is very big. This is very interesting to us, of course.”
In many ways, a new Mini sedan makes a lot of sense. The brand has applied its stylish, premium compact paintbrush to a variety of body styles before, but not once has it tried a classic four-door approach. And as Mini looks to expand its presence globally, this possible new segment entry could play well in markets where hatchbacks lose traction, such as the U.S. and China.
So, if the rumors are true, what would a Mini sedan offer? Read on for our speculative review.
Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Mini sedan.
2018 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works
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.