MANILA, Philippines — The MINI Countryman crossed over to new realms and genres as it offered new ways of enjoying the brand’s world-renowned driving fun when it was first launched in 2010.
It was the first MINI with four doors, a large tailgate, five seats and optional all-wheel drive. Global reception to the game-changing, segment-redefining new MINI was such that more than half a million MINI Countrymans were sold worldwide.
The latest generation of the MINI Countryman goes even further in versatility, agility and luxury—boldly going where no MINI has gone before.
Its delightful go-anywhere spirit is abetted by a higher ground clearance, short front and rear overhangs, and raised seating positions, further reinforced by rugged cues like functional roof rails and black protective moldings on the fenders.
Biggest, most versatile MINI yet
A full 200mm (approximately 8 inches) longer than its predecessor, the MINI Countryman is the biggest, roomiest and most versatile model in the brand’s 62-year history.
It boasts cool features like a touchscreen infotainment system for the signature huge 8.8-inch circular display in the center of the dash, an electric tailgate with foot motion-operated opening and closing, beautiful customizable cabin ambient lighting, and even a cool MINI Picnic Bench—a fold-out sill cushion that doubles as a comfortable seat for two on the luggage compartment lid.
The picnic bench even has a flap that keeps your clothes from getting muddied after driving through dirt trails. Tailgate parties have never been as cool and comfortable as this.
Compared to its predecessor, the latest MINI Countryman is 30mm wider and its wheelbase has been extended by 75mm. This growth makes the MINI Countryman a true five-seater with significantly bigger cargo space.
Particularly genius is the design of the rear seats. The seatback splits 40/20/40 while the bottom cushion, which can be moved forward and backward up to 13cm, is split 60/40.
The luggage compartment volume is 450 liters and can be extended to a total of 1,390 liters with the rear seats folded.
Numerous design elements such as the floating-effect white roof, the upright rear lights, the honeycomb radiator grille and the large, expressive headlamps have kept the MINI as fresh and characterful as ever.
The signal light surrounds on the front fenders exhibit an arrow shape that adds visual dynamism when you look at the MINI Countryman from the side.
Horizontal lines dominate at the rear, emphasized by dual exhaust pipes positioned at either end of the sports car-inspired under-bumper diffuser and the bold C-O-U-N-T-R-Y-M-A-N lettering on the tailgate, with the vertical taillights providing an appealing contrast.
The distinctive, slightly asymmetrical profile of the headlamps deviates from the circular shape that is otherwise typical of the brand. Striking LED daytime driving lights run entirely around each headlamp, which makes the MINI Countryman that much more head-turning in the daytime.
Despite the high window line, the narrow pillars and high seating position make for terrific outward visibility. The rear doors have been enlarged compared to the predecessor for easier ingress and egress.
This is truly the first MINI that is fully capable of functioning as a vehicle for one-car families.
And because the joy of spirited driving is further enhanced by music, MINI offers a superb Harman-Kardon audiophile-quality sound system on the MINI Countryman.
Scintillating yet fuel-efficient powertrains
The MINI Countryman boasts MINI’s renowned TwinPower Turbo Technology.
The MINI Cooper S Countryman is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder petrol engine (mated to an 8-speed Sport automatic) developing 192hp at 5,000-6,000rpm and 280Nm of torque from as low as 1,350rpm and sustains that all the way to 4,600rpm. It can accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 7.5 seconds and reach a 225km/h top speed.
The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, on the other hand, tweaks the Cooper S engine to the tune of 306hp and a stunning 450Nm of torque—good for sports car-like 5.1-second 0-100km/h sprint and a 250km/h top speed.
The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman's potent powerplant is mated to an 8-speed Sport automatic that sends the prodigious torque to all four wheels using an all-wheel drive system that not only reacts quickly and precisely to changing situations but is also compact and highly efficient.
The system’s electronic control works with the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), so it detects any need to adapt power distribution early on.
The ALL4 optimizes both traction and stability in adverse weather and road surface conditions, as well as ensuring improved agility when taking bends at speed.
Dynamic customizable performance
The superbly balanced suspension (responsive handling without the usual sports car stiffness or harshness) of the MINI Countryman combines the tried-and-tested single-joint spring/strut at the front and a multilink rear design optimized for light weight and high rigidity. 18-inch light alloy wheels come as standard with the MINI Countryman, while other variants are fitted with 19-inch alloy wheels.
State-of-the-art Dynamic Damper Control is also available for the MINI Countryman. Two program maps can be activated for the electronically controlled dampers via the optional MINI Driving Modes.
A rotary switch at the base of the gear lever enables the driver to select between MID, SPORT and GREEN modes. This adjusts the car’s responsiveness to the driver’s motions on the accelerator pedal and steering wheel, the quickness of the gearshifts, the operating mode of electrically powered comfort features and even the engine sound.
The standard Collision Warning with City Braking function can be extended to include the Driving Assistant system with camera-based Active Cruise Control, Pedestrian Warning with Initial Brake function, High Beam Assistant and Road Sign Detection. Park Distance Control, Rear View Camera, Parking Assistant and Head-Up-Display are also optionally available.
Price? The MINI Cooper S Countryman starts at P3,250,000 for the Pure variant, goes up to P3,850,000 for the Sport, and tops out at P4,750,000 for the flagship MINI John Cooper Works Countryman.
All things considered, the MINI Countryman has the perfect combination of premium exclusivity, advanced technology, universally admired design, world-class high performance, and a versatile cabin to take on even the finest—and much more expensive—luxury European crossovers.
Of course, nothing can be more convincing than an actual drive of the brilliantly capable MINI Countryman. It’s an experience every car-loving person owes him or herself.