Review: 2012 MINI Cooper S Countryman All4

Posted on 11. Aug, 2012 by in Auto News

MINI is the most unlikely successful new brand in America. Why? Because the brand "tiny transport" ethos runs counter to America's "bigger is better" mantra. Of course, to explain these conflicting philosophies, why is the modern MINI uses are by far not as mini as minis. Still with me? Hang on to your hat, because the German owner of the legendary British brand to make American domination hinges not the biggest MINI decided. Enter the MINI Countryman. Or as I like to call it the Mini Maxi.

Click here to view the embedded video.


The outside of the Countryman is full of firsts. It is the first MINI with 5 doors, the first MINI with available AWD, the first MINI longer than 13-feet. And the dubious honor of all, the first MINI weigh over 3,000 lbs. To be precise, weighed our Countryman S All4 in at £ 3,220. MINI fans will notice, that's £ 655 severe as a two-door, the MINI Cooper S makes maximizing the Countryman look like someone was inflating a balloon MINI and forgot to say "when." Your opinions may vary, but this bloated MINI is very attractive to my eye. From the cheeky round headlights for signature hood scoop and the optional sport stripes, no one will confuse the Countryman for anything but a MINI.


A logical shopper would look at the Countryman and it seats four doors as five. Not so fast. Keeping with the tradition MINI Countryman is a four-passenger car at heart, and in the grounds. A quick search revealed that among the four local MINI dealership, only six of the 134 Countryman CUVs were equipped with the $ 250 fifth seat option. Availability aside, the middle seat should be thought of as an "emergency" because of the close fit proportions of the Countryman. Adding that fifth seat leads to another unexpected problem: no rear cupholders. You see, the Countryman uses an interesting center "rail" system, which extends generally from the dashboard to the rear seatback. The rails can be snap-on accessories such as various storage boxes, mobile phone owners, sunglasses storage and decisively; Cupholder. Family-minded buyers should keep in mind that the rear door pockets do not hold fast food style lemonade. To compensate for the rear amenities, the Countryman is three times the cargo space of the Cooper with the seats up (16.5 cubic feet) and twice with the folded (41.3 cubic feet.)

As with all MINI models, a low rent headlining coexists with smart switches, rich leather, a thick rimmed steering wheel and an occasional smattering of hard plastics. Style rather than luxury is what makes MINI as it most clearly "Disneyesque" by the ginormous speedometer / infotainment / HVAC vent cluster. Practical people find the switchgear too deep in the dashboard for the convenience (it's an eye-on-the-road nightmare), but the look is undeniably swish and unlikely to interfere with the MINI faithful.


Frugal Shopper, you should skip this section, as MINI infotainment price tags are far from the Mini. All MINI Countryman models start with AM / FM / XM / HD Radio / CD player. If you love something iDevice and a Bluetooth hands-free, add $ 500 to your tab. An additional $ 500 (or $ 250 if you planned the armrest anyway) you get the MINI Connected system sans nav. MINI Connected is adapted BMW iDrive (circa 2011) to the smaller screen and Minimalist Controls. As with BMW iPhone app lets you Tweet, Facebook, Online Radio, Google, and you'll see some additional "sport" themed instrumentation on the LCD.

MINI takes "the app thing" to a new level with "Dynamic Music" and "Mission Control." Dynamic music is digitized, beat-heavy music that changes as you drive. And accelerate the pace increases as the system adds more instruments. Flip turn on your turn signal and begin to ring basin from the speakers on the side that you display. Mission Control plays canned phrases in stereotypical British accent in response to driver inputs. MINI floor and the system says "fulllll gas!" Press the Sport button and several tins of votes have a conversation about sports driving. While there for a day or two is fun, I can not imagine a day with this app owners.

As a gateway drug if you have MINI Connected, it's hard to say no to the $ 750 nav up selling. Once you have the nav the $ 750 Harman / Kardon speakers not a big leap. After all that has been added, your MINI will tell salespeople "If you choose the technology package, you can add the parking sensors at half price"($ 250.) Total up-sell: $ 2,750. "Is not technology great?"


Under the hood is fine the same engines as the rest of the MINI lineup. The base 1.6L engine is good for 121HP and 114 lb-ft. As expected, pitting against 121HP £ 3000 results in comfortable acceleration. Our test model was the "Cooper S", with direct injection and a turbocharger means have been added to bring the power up to 181HP and turn to 177 pounds-ft of 1.600 to 5.000 RPM. MINI turbo engine uses an 'overboost' function to bump torque to 192 lb-ft of 1.700 to 4.500 RPM, under certain conditions for a limited period. Either engine is manual with a 6-speed Getrag or an optional 6-speed Aisin automatic mated.

Once you have selected the option box for the turbo engine, you have to. "ALL4" access to the $ 1,700 Haldex AWD system called The system is essentially the same as the other Haldex implementations and uses a wet clutch pack instead of a center differential. The clutch unlocked during low-speed maneuvers for better handling feel completely locked during hard acceleration, and the connection varies depending on the traction requirements. Keep connected MINI tells us the system is programmed to feel the clutch pack more than competing systems improvement.

MINI has confirmed that 2013 will bring some love to the JCW Countryman. The engine is the same 1.6L direct-injection turbo than S model, with the Boost be cranked to the maximum. MINI has not publish power figures, but expect it. To slot in around 220HP


Expectations are important in the drive technology reviews. If you order the Countryman as a normal MINI driving despite AWD, expect space for five and a large cargo area, you will be disappointed.