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.
2019 Mini Cooper Lineup Unveiled
Mini just revealed its refreshed Cooper lineup, giving us an early look at what’s in store before the pint-sized auto hits the show floor in Detroit later this month. The update encompasses no less than three body styles, including the Mini Hardtop 2 Door, the Mini Hardtop 4 Door, and the Mini Convertible, and adds tweaked exterior styling, more tech in the cabin, more standard features, and more customization options as well.
At either end, you may notice the Mini gets small updates to the headlight and taillight designs. This is especially noticeable in the rear, where the brake lights gain a Union Jack design for extra U.K. points. There are LEDs for illumination purposes, while the headlights get LEDs as an available option. You’ll also find LEDs for the daytime running lights and turn signals. Piano Black exterior trim can be had as an option for the headlight surrounds, taillight surrounds, and grille surround, while the body panels gain new paint options like Emerald Grey metallic, Starlight Blue metallic, and Solaris Orange metallic. New alloy wheel designs can be found in the corners, with sizing up to 17 inches offered across the range of body styles. Mini also updated its logo throughout.
Open the door, and you’ll be greeted with a Mini logo splash projection from the underside of the side-view mirrors. The funky dash incorporates a 6.5-inch screen, with the possibility to throw in a 8.8-inch screen if desired. On the tech front, USB and Bluetooth are both standard appointment, while options include a touchscreen and navigation. There’s also wireless charging for your smartphone via the center armrest, and more services offered through Mini Connect as well.
Look for our full updated reviews after the 2019 Mini Cooper lineup struts its stuff at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show later this month.
2018 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works Unveiled
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.
Mini Clubman All4 Unveiled
Mini just announced details on the new Clubman All4, which combines the traction of the All4 AWD system with the practicality and quirky styling of the Mini Clubman.
The electronically controlled AWD system connects to the onboard Dynamic Stability Control for enhanced grip in sub-optimal driving conditions. However, in “normal” conditions, the system only sends torque to the front wheels, reducing parasitic loss and upping efficiency.
There are two engines to choose from, both of which are turbocharged. The first is a 1.5-liter three-cylinder with 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, and the second is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Both are offered with either a standard six-speed manual transmission, or an optional eight-speed automatic.
Mated to the six-speed, the more powerful four-banger will propel the Clubman All4 to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, while the eight-speed automatic cuts that time down to 6.6 seconds. Both numbers are an improvement of 0.3 seconds compared to the FWD Cooper S Clubman. Top speed for both four-cylinder configurations is 140 mph.
Inside is seating for five, while in back is a split-door hatch for enhanced accessibility. Luggage volume is 17.5 cubic feet with the rear bench up, or 47.9 cubic feet with it folded down. Standard features include dual-zone climate control, the Mini Connected infotainment system, a 6.5-inch display, and Bluetooth connectivity. Cooper S Clubman All4 models come equipped with standard sport seats. A heads-up display and rearview camera make the options list.
The exterior is exactly what you’d expect from a modern Mini, including rounded headlights, chrome surrounds, a hexagonal grille, curved lines, and short overhangs. There are also intakes in the fascia that Mini says help to keep the brakes cool. “ALL4” badging adorns the AWD models, and there’s a new Digital Blue metallic paint option. Additional options include a panorama glass roof, LED headlights, and the Mini Excitement package, which adds LED ambient lighting that projects the Mini logo onto the pavement when opening the driver’s door.
Look for the Clubman All4 in Mini dealerships this April.
Mini just announced details on the 2016 Cooper Convertible, and it promises plenty of styling and customization options, plus a wallop of driving fun under the hood. The two-door soft top is the first convertible Mini to come with BMW Group-derived engines and underpinnings.
Customizability starts with the exterior, where buyers can choose between 11 different paint colors, including Melting Silver (a carryover from the Clubman) and the new Caribbean Blue. You can also get the roof embroidered with an enormous Union Jack, if so inclined.
Speaking of the foldable roof, it comes with multiple settings, such as a “sunroof” option if you’re not looking to go full drop-top. There’s also an “Always Open Timer” to find out exactly how many hours you’ve driven with expanded headroom.
Inside, there’s seating for four, plus upholstery options like new Malt Brown leather that comes in diamond-stitching “reminiscent of classic English Chesterfield sofas.” The Mini Connected infotainment system and a 6.5-inch screen are standard, but buyers can opt for an 8.8-inch screen that throws in navigation and an app that’ll warn you if it’s about to rain.
Powering the front wheels, you’ll find either a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder on the base Cooper, or a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder on the hotter Cooper S. The three-cylinder makes 134 horsepower at 4,400 rpm and 162 pound-feet of torque at 1,250 rpm, while the four-cylinder makes 189 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 207 pound-feet of torque at 1,250 rpm. A six-speed manual is standard, while a six-speed automatic is optional. Top speed for the base Cooper is 128 mph, while the Cooper S can hit 143 mph.
The 2016 Mini Convertible will make its public debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, which kicks off next week. Pricing will be announced in January, with U.S. sales commencing the following March.
Compared with our friends in Europe, where hot-hatches are as plentiful as 500-year-old cathedrals and socialized medicine, we in the United States and the rest of North America have been fairly limited in our hot-hatch options. That’s changing. The Volkswagen Golf GTI has always been the constant — not always great, but excellent in recent years. It had the market all to itself until the first Ford Focus ST and Mini Cooper S were introduced in the early 2000s. Three generations later, the Focus got bigger, but the Mini stayed more-or-less the same size. So, to cover its bases in the junior hot-hatch segment, Ford launched the Fiesta ST for the first time in the U.S.
That pretty much brings us up to date. On paper, the current Mini Cooper S and Fiesta ST couldn’t be more evenly matched. Both have torque-happy turbocharged engines producing between 190 and 200 horsepower. Both are roughly the same size to within a few inches. Performance figures and fuel mileage are so similar that you would need a data logger to detect the difference. But despite having similar mission briefs, these are two very different cars with different personalities, tailored to appeal to different end users. Lets take a closer look at both to see which you should put in your driveway.
Continue reading to find out which of the two cars we find better.
While we are all anxiously awaiting the debut of the X1 in the U.S., which is set to happen this fall, BMW is hard at work piecing together the next-generation model. According to Autocar, this work involves figuring out how to fit Mini Countryman drivetrain components under the next-gen X1. This combination of the Mini and BMW lineup is expected to help reduce production costs and hopefully reduce its cost to the buyer.
In addition to sharing underpinnings with the Mini Countryman, the next-generation X1, which is expected to debut in 2015, will come standard with front-wheel drive, as opposed to the standard rear-wheel drive that the 2013 X1 will bear. It will, however, retain its optional all-wheel drive. This new chassis, dubbed the Unter Klasse (UKL), will also eliminate the possibility of a 6-cylinder option for the next-gen X1, as BMW has no plans to transversely mount a 6-pot in any of its cars.
In reality, there are chances of the X1 getting an even smaller engine, as BMW is supposedly considering dropping the petite 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine in the 2015 X1. This all comes as a huge surprise to us, as the X1 is just now making its way to the States, and BMW is already planning on pretty much scrapping the entire thing. Plus, to start throwing Countryman parts onto this crossover SUV is just going to make it that much more irrelevant to buyers that may need to haul anything more than the kids and luggage around.
We guess we’ll just have to wait and see exactly how BMW plans to set this whole system up, as one of the key components to a crossover SUV is its ability to haul light cargo. The Countryman’s 860-pound max payload capacity doesn’t quite fit the bill. We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.
Love `em or hate `em, you can’t help but be impressed with how far MINI can go in stretching out one basic design. In late-2011, MINI debuted a new coupe version of its Countryman and dubbed it the Paceman – no, not the Pac-Man – but gave us very little info. Then over a year went by before we heard anything else, then finally after a year and two months, MINI announced that the Paceman would be shown in Paris in 2012, but under the Clubman Coupe name.
Well, MINI is finally prepared to announce this new models release, but it will, oddly enough, not bear the name we all expected. Dr. Kay Segler, the senior VP of Mini, told about 1,000 Mini enthusiasts at this year’s Mini Takes the States rally that "The Mini Paceman is the official name of the brand’s seventh model, which will be launched next year in the U.S."
In one quick statement, Segler killed two birds with one stone. First, he cleared up the fact that this new coupe will indeed bear the Paceman name, as opposed to the Clubman Coupe. Secondly, we now know that the Paceman will hit showrooms some time in 2013. Though no official date was given, we anticipate that it will be fairly early in the year, as this is really not a new model, but rather just a Clubman with two doors.
This now expands the MINI lineup to seven models based on the same basic appearance. We are starting to wonder if MINI will ever get tired of producing the same car over and over again. Then again, as long as people keep snagging them up, why change?
We will continue to provide you with more updates on this upcoming model as we get closer to its release date.
The final installment of MINI’s uber-weird, three-part ‘Two Untamed’ commercials was released and as expected, it picked up where the previous two commercials left off.
This latest commercial, called ‘Shine’, shows the same two hot women muttering simultaneously about having the same body types, after which the lights go out and our two scantily-clad vixens start dancing and screaming for the camera. Of course, one of them caps the commercial off with a good ol’ fashion ‘salute’.
If these commercials are any indication as to what we can expect when the cars are officially unveiled at Frankfurt, then you can bet your bottom dollar that all hell is going to break loose.
A few days ago, we showed you the first of two commercials created by MINI for the upcoming Frankfurt reveal of their two new pet vehicles: the MINI Coupe Concept and the MINI Roadster.
While a lot can be said about the oddity of the commercial - a woman admiring herself a little too much in the mirror before the reflection inexplicably comes to life and jumps out of the mirror – we do, in a seemingly twisted way, get what MINI is trying to get across.
Then the second commercial was released and similar to the first, it kind of goes beyond the realms of traditional car promotion. It’s the same two women, speaking simultaneously, after which, one of them startles us with a blood-curling scream while wearing a helmet.
It’s a little too loony to describe so we’re just going to let you watch it for yourselves. But we must warn you, take a few deep breaths before watching it, just to be on the safe side.
You can’t say that MINI is sitting on its laurels, can you?
While other car manufacturers may have reason to take it slow and steady after celebrating its golden anniversary, the folks of MINI have been doing quite the contrary. The company is taking preparations for the Frankfurt Motor Show to a new level with their latest video – it seems that the company has been coming out with a ton of videos these days – to drum up even more publicity than it has already gotten leading up to the Frankfurt Motor Show.
The video, which is being billeted as part one of a series of videos called the Two Untamed series, is MINI’s latest marketing ploy to promote the two vehicles that the company is set to unveil at Frankfurt: the MINI Roadster and the Coupe Concept.
According to a spokesperson from MINI, we should all expect two more of these teaser videos before the ‘premiere video’ makes it world-wide debut on the first press day at Frankfurt on September 15. In the meantime, you can expect a couple more videos of MINI’s Two Untamed series to hit the web in the coming days. If that doesn’t get you more geeked up for the Frankfurt Motor Show, we don’t know what will.
At last year’s Paris Motor Show, the English automaker Mini showed the world the Mini Crossover concept that took the cute Cooper and beefed it up with some off road attitude, and everyone expected to see the production version this September at the Frankfurt Motor Show. however Mini has announced that the crossover’s official launch has been delayed until 2010 at the earliest.
That doesn’t mean that the Mini booth will be empty in Frankfurt, the automobile manufacturer will be unveiling the Mini Coupe concept and the Mini Roadster concept at the German auto show, a fitting move considering that their parent company BMW is from the region.
The crossover model, reportedly called Crossman, is almost certain to make an appearance at the Geneva motor show next spring. According to a BMW Mini spokesman, "The Crossover launch has been pushed back as we wish to first explore differentiation within future Mini smaller models and get feedback." Hopefully we don’t face any more financial crisis before then.
The English automaker Mini had announced that in addition to the Mini Roadster, the new Mini Coupe Concept that is scheduled to go into production by 2011 will also be making it auto show debut at the Frankfurt International Motor Show next month. However there aren’t the only two new cars that will be built atop the compact platform, because Mini’s parent company BMW is currently talking o the Japanese manufacturer Toyota about a future collaboration to produce more compact and fuel efficient vehicles, and it turns out that the new Mini platform is the perfect fit.
While it appears that Toyota’s design team will have access to the new platform, the German automaker BMW will also be able to use the new iQ platform for the return of the Isetta mini-car and it is also a possible candidate for the new Z2 Roadster as well as the future BMW 1-Series.
According to BMW’s newest design director, Adrian Von Hooydonk: "The Coupe and Roadster models could conceivably stand on their own within BMW Group, but there is certainly a chance for BMW to share in it."
Either way, it the automakers can combine the build quality of a BMW with the reliability of a Toyota, it won’t matter what platform it is based on because both teams have a knack for what they do, and when they work together the sky is the limit.