Posts Tagged ‘mini’

2018 MINI Countryman Cooper SD ALL4 Review

2018 MINI Countryman Cooper SD ALL4 Review


Isle of Wight, UK – The latest F60 Countryman came to North America in March 2017 and can be had with 1.5-liter turbo, 2-liter turbo or plug-in hybrid powertrains. When the opportunity arose to try the Countryman in the UK, we couldn’t pass it up. Demanding British roads and traffic conditions are quick to expose the flaws in any vehicle so this promised to be an excellent test. And when we were offered the Cooper SD performance diesel model that’s available in other markets, we figured it’d push the Countryman even harder. If it can handle the challenge of a diesel’s extra weight, noise and vibration then it’ll be fine with the gas engines…

MINI Countryman with Diesel Power Tested

Exterior styling

The new Countryman looks a lot like the first-generation model, which is to say, a bigger, chunkier interpretation of the BMW-era MINI’s now-familiar design language. Notable changes from the first-generation car, which had been on sale since 2010, include headlamps that are encircled by daytime driving light-rings, and more prominent grille and side scuttles. The paint finish here is ‘Melting Silver’, which costs an extra C$590 in the Canadian market. The plastic cladding around the arches blends in nicely and stops the lower-rear door corners from damaging your neighbour in a tight parking lot.

As with all MINI models, there are details galore to catch the eye. The projection of the MINI crest downward from the driver’s door mirror, standard on all models, is a fun touch. Our test car was finished with discreet, 18in, black pin spoke alloys and runflat tires (C$200) and LED head- and fog-lamps (C$1400). LEDs aside, the fog lamps are in the aptly named Essentials Pack (C$1,450) that also gives you heated front seats, an adjustable rear bench, rear central armrest and panorama sunroof. The black wheels were complemented by black hood stripes, roof rails and darkened rear glass (all cost-options) and black roof and mirror caps (free).

Interior and equipment

Design details abound inside the car, too, although they sometimes blur the line between neat and gimmicky, depending on your preference. The trademark, oversized central display is surrounded by pulsing LEDs that indicate switches between the three drive modes and kick in with the automated stop-start system, which works seamlessly. Perhaps it’s the Brit talking but for me, the liberal use of Union Jacks jarred a little. BMW bills MINI as a “British premium brand” but this car was engineered in Germany and is built by VDL Nedcar in the Netherlands!

2018 MINI Countryman Cooper SD ALL4 Review interior

The Countryman gets the basics right, though. The ‘carbon black’ leather seats (MINI Yours Leather Lounge, a C$2,250 option) are comfortable, front and rear. There’s plenty of leg and headroom in the bright and airy cabin, too, and cargo space is up 30% over the old model. The major controls fall nicely to hand and it’s easy to find a comfortable driving position. I was impressed with the voice-command programming for the GPS (Wired Navigation Package including a larger, 8.8in touchscreen, C$1,200) and the optional Harman-Kardon infotainment system (C$750). The head-up display (C$750) was also helpful, although its adjustment unhelpfully required delving into a fifth submenu of the (easy to use) MINI Connected control interface.

You’ll have by now noticed a recurring theme: the Countryman has lots of great features, but almost everything is a cost-option. BMW and MINI have operated successfully this way for years, but it remains a frustration to this reviewer that if you want anything resembling a sensible specification on a vehicle that’s already supposed to be “premium”, the base price bears no relation to what you’ll ultimately pay. By way of example, my highly specced UK test car sold for a heady £40,045 (around C$70,000), some £9,000 above the list price. In Canada, adding a comparable level of equipment to a Countryman Cooper S ALL4 adds 50% to the C$32,290 base price. Be sure to compare like with like when considering the Countryman against its rivals.

Driving impressions

Still, you don’t buy a MINI because you’re looking for a value-priced vehicle. High-quality fixtures, endless personalization options and BMW brand cachet are all part of the appeal, as is a fun-to-drive factor that evokes the spirit of the 1950s original. Unfortunately the first-generation Countryman fell well short in that regard, in particular being prone to tramlining – following the camber of the road rather too closely – and an unsettling pointiness around the straight-ahead, which combined to make it rather less fun to drive than you’d have hoped.

2018 MINI Countryman Cooper SD ALL4 Review rear

It’s heartening therefore to report that the new Countryman is a different animal altogether. Key to its dynamic improvement are the use of BMW’s UKL platform, which also underpins the latest X1, and recent advances in BMW’s beloved runflat tires, which at last rival conventional rubber in ride and handling performance.

The tires fitted to the test car were Pirelli Cinturato P7s. Even with the extra weight of the diesel lump up front, the ride comfort was so supple on some typically poor British road surfaces that I found myself double-checking the tire specification. The days of runflats’ stiff, reinforced sidewalls compromising even the most sophisticated suspension, have clearly passed.

Meanwhile I was grateful for the Countryman’s precise, intuitive steering on the narrow roads of the picturesque Isle of Wight. This isn’t a conventional hot-hatch, but it handles nicely when pushed along, enabling you to enjoy the 266 lb-ft of torque (59 lb-ft more than the gas engine) from BMW’s 187-horsepower 2-liter. The 8-speed Sport Automatic transmission (C$1,650 on the Cooper S) keeps the engine in the torque – mostly between 1,500-2,000rpm – while ensuring it remains smooth and quiet at speed. There’s paddle-shift if you can be bothered, which I couldn’t, mostly, and all-wheel drive for added security when things get slippery. Add in a claimed 5.1L/100km combined fuel consumption, and you’re left wondering whether North America is missing a trick in avoiding small diesels like the plague, and whether Europe is in danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water in its apparent, new-found desire to regulate diesels out of the mainstream in the wake of the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal.

2018 MINI Countryman Cooper SD ALL4 Review cockpit


When contacted, a MINI spokesman could not confirm nor deny the possibility of the Countryman SD coming to North America but there are several reasons why it is unlikely to make it to this side of the Pond. Low gas prices make the diesel motor’s extra cost and lower consumption harder to justify and Dieselgate has made the fuel a harder sell than ever, even in Europe.

Fortunately for Countryman shoppers with an eye on the future, an alternative is already here in the form of the plug-in hybrid Countryman Cooper S E ALL4, although at C$43,490 you’ll pay a premium. For everyone else, I see no reason why the regular gas models shouldn’t be terrific, premium (and premium priced) transport: stylish, practical and good to drive. No wonder that Countryman sales jumped 30% worldwide in 2017.


  • beautifully designed and finished, inside and out
  • exceptional economy and performance from diesel engine
  • much-improved ride and handling


  • no diesel for North America
  • limited standard equipment
  • quality comes at a price

Learn more – 2018 MINI Countryman ALL4

This post 2018 MINI Countryman Cooper SD ALL4 Review appeared first on by Graham Heeps.

The Mini Clubman Scrambler


Audi has their Allroad, Volkswagen might just get their Alltrack, and now comes Mini with their Scrambler which is based off of its Clubman wagon. The vehicle is built in Italy as a concept vehicle which utilizes the small but capable platform of the Clubman wagon to become an off-road worth vehicle.

The Mini Clubman All4 Scrambler comes with a luggage rack for additional cargo capacity, has a raised suspension for more ground clearance, off road tires, and a very utility centric look with a Frozen Gray paint scheme with silver detailing accents throughout the exterior.

The Scrambler’s design isn’t just skin deep. Underneath all that new body work is the drive train from an all-wheel-drive Clubman which was debuted this year to the public. If Mini did decide to produce this vehicle, I think it would be real hot seller.

MINI Clubman ALL4 and JCW Convertible Make World Debut


The MINI Cooper Clubman ALL4 and the John Cooper Works Convertible that were announced back in January both made their world debuts in New York at the 2016 New York International Auto Show. The ALL4 all-wheel-drive system is a front-wheel drive system that will shift power from the front to the rear wheels whenever conditions warrant it. The power shift takes just a fraction of a second. The new ALL4 system is also lighter and more compact than previous all-wheel drive platforms for improved handling and fuel economy. Both the Cooper Clubman ALL4 and Cooper S Clubman ALL4 come standard with a 6-speed manual transmission but an 8-speed automatic is optional.

The MINI Convertible gets the John Cooper Works treatment with a stiffer suspension, redesigned body kit, 18″ wheels and red brake calipers. Under the hood on the JCW Convertible is a 2.0L turbo engine that pumps out 228 horsepower. Canadian pricing information is not available for these new MINIs but in the US the MINI Cooper Clubman ALL4 will start at $26,750, and the MINI Cooper S Clubman ALL4 will start at $33,330. The MINI Convertible John Cooper Works will start at $35,600.

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New Mini Clubman All4


I might be old fashioned, but there’s something about suicide doors that just speaks class and elegance. So when Mini put a set of double swinging doors on the back of their Clubman I thought it was a nice classy touch to a modern day car. Now in its second generation, the 2016 Mini Clubman has evolved into a very capable vehicle with its All4 all-wheel-drive system adopted from the Countryman and Paceman.

The 2016 Clubman All4 will share quite a bit of similarities to its front drive counterpart. Engine choices will be a 1.5L turbo three-cylinder that produces 134hp and 162 lb/ft of torque or a 2.0L turbo four-cylinder that produces 289hp and 207lb/ft of torque in the Cooper S configuration. Mini offers both a six-speed manual or an eight-speed auto which can be mated to either engine choice.

The All4 system will likely hinder fuel efficiency a bit. However, word from Mini is that the impact will be minimal. To ensure owners get the most fuel efficiency possible from the All4, the system delivers power primarily to the front axel and diverts power to the rear wheels only when needed.

The BMW Group At SEMA 2015


Hey look, MINI and BMW vehicles grouped together. Sometimes we make logical decisions, or perhaps some of the alcohol has worn off and we’re thinking a bit more clearly.

The BMW group had great representation at the 2015 edition of the SEMA Show. A couple notable examples would be Bulletproof Automotive’s BMW Z4 GT Continuum which was at the Toyo booth and a vehicle we referred to as “the rusty BMW”. The GT Continuum was a special project for their 15th anniversary. Like the MX-5 Speedster the GT Continuum ditches the windshield and also removes the folding metal roof. The end result looks like a steam-roller drove over the Z4 as it looks really low from hood to trunk.

The rusty BMW was actually not a build with actual rusty panels like you would see at your local DUBfest shows but instead, as I learned when googling the vehicle, a look the owner/builder created by rubbing motor oil on the exposed panels. The vehicle was actually pretty heavily damaged in a garage fire but his team was able to rebuild and salvage parts of the vehicle to turn it into the tube-framed beast you see here.

Check it, and the some of the other BMW and MINIs that we shot at the 2015 SEMA show.

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Mini brings the 5-door hardtop to LA.


Shelton wrote about the Mini 5-door hardtop in Paris. Nothing has changed.

Enjoy the gallery of live shots here in LA.

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BMW-MINI Booth Tour – SEMA 2014


BMW and MINI brought both old and new to their 2014 SEMA booth which was built to push their BMW M Performance catalog. They brought a Z4 GTLM race car, which I’m pretty sure is the same one that makes the International show car circuit. They also had on hand a M4 Coupe safety car from MotoGP as well as an M3 promoting their BMW Performance Driving School. My favorite car on the BMW side of the booth was the pristine 2002 tucked away in the back that barely anyone checked out, so unappreciated.

On the MINI side were a trio of MINI Coopers with a DJ setup on the roof of one of them providing tunes for, well… nobody. We had arrived at the BMW MINI booth near the end of the day and the crowds were thinning out. We were told that there was a Playboy Playmate, Miss October 2012 Pamela Horton at the booth but unfortunately we did not see her. I guess she took all the booth attendees with her.

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When Brits and Italians Collide, the MINI Superleggera Vision


We first saw the MINI Superleggera Vision in Munich at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and now it can be seen here at the Paris Motor Show. While the MINI Superleggera Vision looks like a far-fetched concept vehicle, the BMW Group has dropped hints that it may bring the vehicle to production based on how it is received at car shows. The MINI Superleggera is a modern interpretation of a classic open-top two-seater created by MINI and Milan based Touring Superleggera, a design and coach building house.

Seeing the MINI Superleggera Vision for the first time in person, I think it’d be a great addition to the MINI lineup. While MINI describes it as an authentic British design with Italian flair, all I see is the British styling–not that there is anything wrong with that. I think it looks great and is a welcome change from MINI. Did you hear about the new MINI that looks like every other MINI that just made its debut at this same Paris Motor Show? Yeah, exactly.

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2015 Mini 5 Door, Paris Motor Show


For the first time in Mini history, the Mini 5 Door brings rear doors to the hatchback body, unveiled here at the Paris Motor Show. Mini didn’t just add 2 doors, they extended the wheelbase by 72mm which directly translates to rear leg room, allowing 3 adults to sit comfortably in the back seats. In addition to the expanded rear passenger compartment, the trunk has grown in size by 32% for a total of 278L of storage, making the Mini that much more versatile for extended trips.

The Mini 5 Door is available in 6 various specifications, the One with a 95hp 1.5L Turbo Diesel, Cooper D with a bump to 116hp, topped by the Cooper SD with a 170hp 2L Turbo Diesel. For the gas versions, the One starts with a 102hp 1.2L Turbo, the Cooper at 136hp with a 1.5L Turbo, and the top of the line Cooper S with a 192hp 2L Turbo motor.

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MINI Paceman John Cooper Works

You may remember my article about the new MINI Paceman, wondering what the point of it was. Wondering what hole it filled and what demographic is was aimed towards. I never got answers to those questions but, whatever the answers are, MINI has added “Wannabe Race Car Driver” to the list with the Paceman John Cooper Works.

You get the same 208 horsepower engine and all wheel drive as the eleventy other MINI models. But it’s bigger, but with less doors. MINI’s just beating a dead horse now. They clearly didn’t care very much about it either because they didn’t bother covering the thing up. There was no point in showing up for the press release because we just grabbed some pictures ahead of time.

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