Wednesday, October 26, 2011
2011 MINI Cooper Countryman
It feels like we've been waiting a decade for the arrival of the 2011 Mini Cooper Countryman, the crossover version of the Mini.
But not even two years have passed since the unveiling of the Mini Crossover Concept at the 2008 Paris Auto Show. We've followed test mules to the Arctic, to the Nürburgring and to Death Valley. Earlier this month, the Beachcomber concept in Detroit gave us a clearer look at the final styling.
Next stop is the 2010 Geneva Auto Show in March, where the production Countryman makes its official debut. And come January 2011, the 2011 Mini Cooper Countryman and the 2011 Mini Cooper S Countryman will land in the United States.
The first thing we noticed about the 2011 Countryman was that the tall people didn't immediately start making snide comments. The Countryman comes with 4-seat and 5-seat options, with either one offering plenty of back seat head and leg room. Trunk space was decent, definitely superior to the original Mini Cooper, and driver head room was drastically improved. Dash styling appeared very similar to the original Mini Cooper, with oversized dials and switches in whatever color you like. With smartphone integration, optional GPS navigation and plenty of room for cup holders, the 2011 Countryman's interior began to feel downright luxurious.
Those extra inches are going to good use, as the 2011 Mini Cooper Countryman's standard rear bucket seats have a 5.1-inch range of fore/aft adjustment. You don't have to be content with a four-seat Mini this time around, though. Order the three-place bench seat at no extra cost and your Mini Countryman will seat five. The bench will adjust fore/aft (albeit in 60/40 sections), and like the bucket seats, its seatback cushions recline.
When everyone's fully reclined, the cargo bay offers 12.2 cubic feet of capacity. Or you can make your passengers sit bolt upright and you'll have 15.4 cubes. Either way, a stroller will fit, says Mini, reminding us that the Countryman is aimed at those of us who have crossed over into the world of diapers and affectionate purple dinosaurs.
Drop the rear seats into the floor and you're met with 41 cubic feet in the Cooper Countryman, which is a significant jump over the 32.8 cubic feet in the Clubman. There's space enough for two 26-inch mountain bikes provided you remove the front wheels, according to Mini.
Mega Mini. Maxi Mini. Un-mini Mini. Yes, we're already hard at work inventing cute names for the 2011 Mini Countryman, the biggest Mini of them all.
Mini has yet to release full Specifications for the Countryman, but at 161.3 inches from its upright, pedestrian-compliant nose to its pancake-flat rump, the Mini crossover is 5.5 inches longer than the Mini Clubman and 15.7 inches longer than the wee Cooper.
More front and rear overhang is inevitable on a Mini transformed into a utility vehicle, but the wheelbase has also been stretched to 102.2 inches — almost 2 inches longer than the Clubman's and a solid 5 inches over the standard Mini Cooper hatch.
Pumping under the hood of this not so “Mini” 2011 Mini Cooper Countryman is a 1.6 ltr inline-4 engine, churning maximum power of 121 hp and 118 lbs-ft of maximum torque. The standard driveterain for this engine is front-wheel drive only, and the engine here is mated with a 6-speed manual transmission, which is standard transmission and optional transmission here is 6-speed automatic.
As far as performance is concerned, the 2011 Mini Cooper Countryman having manual transmission is estimated to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 9.8 sec; while the same timings for the automatic transmission mated Mini is 10.9 seconds. Considering the fact that it’s foraying into compact SUV segment, we will say that it’s quite a compact SUV.
The 2011 Mini Cooper Countryman S on the other hand is powered by a turbocharged variant of the same 1.6 ltr engine, generating maximum power of 181 hp and 177 pounds-feet of maximum torque. The standard drive terrain here is all-wheel drive. The transmission choices for the S are the same, and even in terms of performance the car delivers almost similar performance.
The standard safety equipments for 2011 Mini Cooper Countryman S includes stability control, antilock disc brakes, side curtain airbags and front-seat side airbags. The Cooper Countryman S gets traction control additionally as standard equipment, while for the base 2011 Mini Countryman it’s optional. There also is option of getting rear parking sensors.