In the last issue we showed you pictures of the MINI Beachcomber concept, and now we can bring you the first photographs of the production version, the MINI Countryman
With chunky SUV inspired looks, the new MINI is the fourth model in the line-up, and is the first MINI to be available with five proper doors and the option of four-wheel-drive, dubbed ALL4. It is designed to attract new customers to the MINI brand, and to stop existing owners from leaving the brand once they’ve outgrown their MINI hatch.
For diesel lovers, there’s a choice of two variants – MINI One D and Cooper D. The former is powered by an 89bhp 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine meeting Euro V emissions standards. Both models come equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox, together with brake energy regeneration, stop/start technology and a gear upshift indicator. Cooper D models are also available with a permanent ALL4 four-wheeldrive system, featuring an electrohydraulic differential. The power can be distributed between the front and rear wheels, with around half of the engine’s power going to the rear wheels in normal driving conditions. In extreme circumstances, this can be increased to 100 per cent.
The MINI Countryman comes equipped with four seats as standard, with a three-seat rear bench available as a no-cost option. In five-seat mode, the seats fold in a 60:40 fashion, with boot space ranging from 350 litres in the upright position, to 1,170 litres with them folded down. As with other MINI’s, the Countryman will offer an almost infinite number of personalisation options, both in terms of colours, materials and equipment. MINI Center rail is one highlight, which comprises of two central rails that run from front to rear, allowing storage boxes, cupholders and other devices to be clipped to the rail for ease of use. Other optional features include a wide range of audio and navigation systems, a panoramic roof, adaptive xenon headlights, heated windscreen and a range of alloy wheels. The MINI Countryman will go on sale in the UK in September, with diesel prices expected to start at around £18,000.