2nd Gen R60 Countryman Countryman a Mini Cooper on steroids

Discussion in '2nd Generation: 2007+ R55 through R61' started by Nathan, May 30, 2010.

  1. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    From the Calgary Herald

    By Graeme Fletcher, Canwest News Service

    The addition of the Countryman to the Mini lineup takes the brand to an entirely new place in the market. The new crossover is a Mini Cooper on steroids. It marks a radical departure. The Countryman is the first Mini to stretch beyond four metres in length (4,097 millimetres), the first to offer four full doors (along with a proper liftgate) and the first to be offered with an all-wheel drive system.

    The Countryman, about the size of a Volkswagen Golf, will be offered in Cooper and Cooper S versions. The key difference is the power available. The Cooper Countryman's 1.6-litre four-cylinder has been extensively reworked and features Valvetronic, a system that uses the intake valves to control engine speed and output, with variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust cams.

    This combination delivers 120 horsepower and 118 foot-pounds of torque, which is enough to get the Countryman to 100 kilometres an hour in 10.5 seconds.

    Power is relayed to the road through the front wheels via a six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode.

    The serious driver is going to opt for the Cooper S version. Bolting on an intercooled, twin-scroll turbocharger and spraying the fuel directly into the cylinders ups the power production to a far more rewarding 180 h.p. and 177 ft.-lbs. of torque. The unspoken bonus is that, under flat-out acceleration, the turbo is allowed to go into an overboost mode, which ups the torque to 192 ft.-lbs. From a practical standpoint, the extra boost is there all the time. The proof of how well it comes together is found in the acceleration time -- the zero-to-100-km/h run drops by 2.9 seconds to 7.6. (The rest of the Mini range will inherit these two engines in 2011.)

    The Cooper S Countryman's turbocharged power reaches the road through the same transmission choices as the base model's (the automatic tranny getting paddle shifters as a bonus) and an optional all-wheel drive system. ALL4, a full-time system, uses an electromagnetic coupling to distribute power front to rear. Under normal driving conditions, power is fed through the front wheels. If slippage occurs, ALL4 can send up to 50 per cent of the power to the rear wheels.

    When it comes to handling, the Cooper S Countryman ALL4 that I tested is all Mini. Yes, it rides on a longer wheelbase (2,595 mm), it's wider (1,789 mm) and it stands a little taller (ground clearance measures 149 mm), but that does not detract from its track manners in the least. The feel and feedback afforded by the Cooper S Countryman's electrically assisted steering is precise, the suspension is compliantly comfortable and the response to driver input is both sharp and predictable. The up-level tires (P205/55R17s) bring a ton of lateral grip and the amount of body roll, even when hooning around a race track, is limited to a few degrees. Engaging the DTC mode and punching the sport button (it remaps the throttle and firms the steering) amps up the driving experience.

    Slip behind the wheel and the Countryman is instantly recognizable as a Mini -- toggle switches galore, a centrally mounted speedometer and column-mounted tachometer. The cabin has a clever twist. In the four-seater, the front and rear buckets are split by a central rail system that allows all manner of clip-on cubbies to be positioned as desired.

    For added versatility, the rear seats can be moved fore and aft by up to 130 mm, allowing extra leg space or room to pack a little more. For the record, the Countryman offers 12.2 cubic feet of space with the seats upright (15.4 cu. ft. with the rear seats in the forward position) and 41 cu. ft. with them folded flat.

    The Countryman is a hip car that will sell well. Many Mini fans would love to move up in size without leaving the brand. Beyond that, it has that all-important impishness to its personality, and it romps through a corner as well as any self-respecting Mini.

    The Countryman is slated for launch next February. Pricing will be announced closer to that date, but is expected to range from about $33,000 to $45,000.

    Down the road, watch for a higher-performance Cooper Works edition.

    Read more: Countryman a Mini Cooper on steroids
     
  2. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
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    is expected to range from about $33,000 to $45,000.


    Looks like the only way one will be in my garage is if I can buy it used......MINI are rapidly getting out of my price range. When you start hitting this area of cost the doors available become legion.......
     
  3. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    This article is from the Calgary Herald meaning the pricing is in Canadian $, not US $.
     

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