WHEN THE MINI Country man was launched in 2010, it challenged the assumption that a Mini was, by definition, small. While this made it a controversial addition to the range, it didn’t hinder sales; more than half a million have been shifted in the past six years. Therefore, unlike the short-lived Mini Roadster and Mini Coupe, the Countryman was always going to be replaced, and the second-generation version will arrive in UK dealerships in February 2017. Continue reading “Mini Countryman Promises Classier And Spacious Interior”
THE letters JCW have long been synonymous with MINI’S most extreme models – sharpening Cooper S variants with various mechanical and aesthetic upgrades. Over the past decade we’ve seen John Cooper Works versions of everything from the three-door hatch to the jacked-up Countryman. But now MINI has injected its Volkswagen Golf-rivalling Clubman with some JCW magic-and we’ve driven it. Continue reading “Mini JCW Clubman”
Behold the all-new Countryman – the biggest Mini in the company’s 57-year history.
Strange specs here?
Mini Clubman: The Mini comes as a Cooper S, which means a petrol engine. But this one also has All4, the first non-Countryman Mini to get the 4WD option. That makes it a rival for an A3 quattro. We’ve gone for the manual.
Infiniti Q30: The Infiniti is also AWD, also 2.0-litre petrol. It has a 7spd DCT ’box as standard. Drivetrain and platform are adapted Merc A-Class gear. The Q30 starts out dearer than the Mini but it does have more kit.
The fifth and final model in Mini’s all-newline-up will be an electric version of an existing model when it launches in 2019.
Mini boss Peter Schwarzenbauer has previously revealed his desire to trim the Mini range to five models, which he describes as “superheroes”. The three and five-door hatches are considered one, the Convertible, Clubman and Countryman three others.
There has been mystery surrounding the fifth, with speculation suggesting that it could be a production version of the well-received Rocketman or Superleggera concepts, but Schwarzenbauer has now confirmed the fifth ‘superhero’ will be an electric version of an existing model, throwing further doubt on the prospects of either of those concepts ever making production.
The 2019 launch date is significant, Schwarzenbauer said, because there will have been a breakthrough in battery technology by then to allow the model to be far more usable than existing electric cars. He added that EV technology is the perfect fit for Mini because of the brand’s urban roots.
Schwarzenbauer said the decision to build an electric Mini made the likelihood of doing the Rocketman and Superleggera “a little bit less now”. He said “the focus is on the all-electric Mini”, but added that it does not rule them out of ever making production.
Before the arrival of the EV, Mini will launch its first plug-in hybrid next year in the form of a Countryman variant. Mini has previously experimented with an EV with the 2009 Mini E that was leased for trials, the feedback from which went towards the development of the BMW i3.
You’re looking at the biggest Mini production model ever. Cue groans from traditionalists and a few extra rpm on the Issigonis headstone tacho: the new, second-gen Countryman is a full 20cm longer than its predecessor, as it graduates to full SUV status.
That means more interior space (you’d hope so), and a much bigger 450-litre boot. Aided by split ’n’ slide rear seats with tilting backrests, that’s a 220-litre improvement over its predecessor, although still 55 litres shy of the BMW X1 with which the new Countryman shares much of its architecture.
Apart from being the first Mini with decent-sized rear door openings, Countryman: The Sequel will also be the first to feature a touchscreen, and the first to be available as a plug-in hybrid.
Catchily called the Mini Cooper S E Countryman All4, the hybridised variant will pull its front wheels with a 1.5-litre 3-cyl turbo petrol, and push its rears with an 87bhp electric motor. A total system output of 221bhp makes for a surprisingly brisk 6.9sec 0-62mph time and a total electric-only range of 25 miles, at the expense of a slightly smaller boot to make space for the electric motor, and slightly higher seats to accommodate the battery.
Divided into Cooper and Cooper S trims, the bread-and-butter Countryman models get a choice of 1.5-litre 3-cyl and 2.0-litre 4-cyl petrol engines and 2.0-litre 4-cyl diesels, with front-drive the norm and all-wheel drive an option across the range. Sat-nav, Bluetooth and cruise control are standard.
To get into a base three-pot manual Cooper you’ll need £22,465, stretching to nearly £30k for a top Cooper SD diesel with all the trimmings. The plug-in joins the range a little later, with prices still TBC. First deliveries start February 2017.
LOOK, NO HANDS
Electric tailgate is an option, with touch-free opening and closing. Also an option: the ‘Mini Picnic Bench’ fold-out sill cushion
Mini hatches get a ‘go-kart’ cartoon; SUV gets a terrain data-logger, gradually growing into a monster truck with miles as you reach, erm, ‘Cliff Champ’ status
‘MINI FIND MATE’
Sounds like a dating app, actually a way of keeping track of Bluetooth-tagged luggage. Forget a bag and the car’s nav can guide you to it
MY, HOW YOU’VE GROWN
Longer by 20cm and wider by 3cm than its predecessor. Countryman Mk2 cuts a more angular styling jib than any New Mini yet
Mini has confirmed that its second-generation Countryman will be offered in hybrid form alongside three and four-cylinder petrolsa nd diesels when it arrives next year.
The petrol-electric SUV will be Mini’s first hybrid car ahead of other alternatively powered models, including a fully electric version of the Cooper hatchback due in 2019.
The Countryman hybrid will share its platform and drivetrain with the BMW 225xe plug-in hybrid, with a 1.5-litre combustion engine mounted up front and the electric motor sited within the rear axle. It offers four-wheel drive in hybrid mode and rear-wheel drive in pure electric mode, with combined system outputs of 221bhp and 284lb ft and a 0-62mph time of 6.7sec. Mini is yet to reveal figures for the Countryman, but sources suggest they will not vary too much from those of the 225xe.
The hybrid Countryman has been engineered to provide an electric range of at least 25 miles. It has three driving modes (Auto eDrive, Max eDrive and Save Battery), with the 7.6 kWh lithium ion battery programmed to provide full electric drive up to 50mph in Auto eDrive mode and up to 78mph in Max eDrive. The battery lives beneath the rear seats, suggesting that the fuel tank will be smaller than that of the regular model.
The charging socket for the battery is located in the left-hand front wing. No charging time details have been revealed, but BMW quotes 3hr 15min on standard mains and 2hr 15min with a high-power wall box for the 225xe.
Mini suggests that the hybrid Countryman is focused on fun rather than efficiency.
“We want to convince customers of the benefits of hybrid drive,” said Peter Wolf, head of Mini brand management. “As far as the chassis and suspension are concerned, nothing changes from the conventionally driven variant.”
The hybrid Countryman is not the first Mini model to possess electric propulsion capability. That distinction goes to the limited-volume Mini E offered to private customers for short-term lease in 2009.
California’s battle with pollution-induced smog and increasing paranoia about the destructive consequences of global warming have made the West Coast state a hotbed of alternative automotive technology, with Hollywood stars (well able to afford a public conscience) invariably seen parading along the Strip aboard the latest eco-wheels.
In 1959 the Austin/Morris Mini changed the face of motoring. Just 3 m (10 ft) long, it was the most efficient and effective use of road space ever seen. The apparent miracle of Sir Alec Issigonis’s design was to create a front-wheel drive, two-door, four-seat economy saloon that sacrificed nothing to exact steering, superb handling, and super-agile response.