New MINI Countryman
New MINI Countryman

In September 2010 MINI will launch its latest and largest model, and the first to offer four-wheel drive, to the UK market. The MINI Countryman range will be the fourth member of the MINI family following Hatch, Convertible and Clubman. It means that MINI owners who love the brand no longer need move to another make when they need more space in their car. The MINI Countryman will be available in five models, three of which will offer ALL4, MINI's new four-wheel drive option.

At launch the MINI Countryman range will include three petrol and two diesel models, as well as two ALL4 all-wheel drive models - the MINI Cooper D ALL4 and Cooper S ALL4. The petrol engines are the new 1.6 litre power plants already announced for the MINI Hatch, Convertible and Clubman models due in March 2010. The diesel units are shared with the rest of the MINI range.

The petrol engines all feature Variable Valve Timing (VVT) similar to the BMW Valvetronic system that produces more torque low down and aids overall efficiency. The MINI Cooper S model also features a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct fuel injection that gives blistering performance with modest fuel economy and low CO2 emissions.All engines meet EU5 emissions standards.The key performance data are listed below.

0-62 mph Top speed mph mpg CO2 OTR Price
One 12.7     109  47.9 137 £16,000
Cooper 10.5     118 46.3 142 £17,510
Cooper S  7.4     133  44.8 146 £20,810
One D 13.2     105  65.7 116 £17,000
Cooper D 10.9     112  64.2 116 £18,810

Two models in the new MINI Countryman range will offer four-wheel drive, for the very first time in MINI's 51 year history. The MINI Cooper D and Cooper S ALL4 models will be available as models from day one. A MINI Cooper ALL4 version will follow in 2012.

Not everyone needs four-wheel drive all the time. MINI has a typically smart, and fuel efficient answer for this conundrum: the MINI Countryman ALL4 is a front-wheel drive car in most normal circumstances, but when wheel slip on the front wheels is detected or if the car is being driven enthusiastically an electro-magnetic clutch, located on the rear axle, engages drive to the rear wheels to improve traction. To enable this imperceptible change to the driven wheels a propeller shaft from the front axle is driven constantly and is ready to direct drive forces from the front axle to the rear in lightening time. The amount of power fed to the rear wheels is infinitely variable between one per cent and 100, depending upon the driving conditions.

The MINI ALL4 models costs a modest £1,065 for the MINI Cooper D and £1,220 for the MINI Cooper S above the standard front-wheel drive Countryman models and the penalty in terms of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions is smaller than one might expect.

Published : 16/02/10 Author : Staff

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