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EPA: Four 2014 Mini Cooper models need to drop mpg numbers

After the huge problems that Hyundai/Kia experienced

EPA: Four 2014 Mini Cooper models need to drop mpg numbers EPA: Four 2014 Mini Cooper models need to drop mpg numbers

Mini phasing out Coupe, Roadster next year

MWith its previous generation, Mini went for a maximalist strategy, expanding its lineup to

Mini phasing out Coupe, Roadster next year Mini phasing out Coupe, Roadster next year

Mini Oxford gives birth to 3-millionth car

With the latest generation of Minis having only recently launched a few months ago

 Mini Oxford gives birth to 3-millionth car  Mini Oxford gives birth to 3-millionth car
thumbnail EPA: Four 2014 Mini Cooper models need to drop mpg numbers

After the huge problems that Hyundai/Kia experienced

thumbnail Mini phasing out Coupe, Roadster next year

MWith its previous generation, Mini went for a maximalist strategy, expanding its lineup to

thumbnail Mini Oxford gives birth to 3-millionth car

With the latest generation of Minis having only recently launched a few months ago

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Mini Countryman (2010): first official pictures

 

01newMiniCountrymanpictures

This is the Mini Countryman, the fourth addition to Mini’s range – after the regular three-door hatch, the Convertible and the Clubman – and also the first current-generation Mini to have four-wheel drive and four regular passenger doors. 

Is the Mini Countryman supposed to be a proper 4x4, and is four-wheel drive standard?

No, Mini says the Countryman is a crossover, and the four-wheel drive system – called Mini All4 – is an option. Think of the Countryman as a slightly bigger and more practical Clubman with a longer wheelbase than other Minis, four proper doors and a conventional lift-up rear hatch, but to make sure it looks a bit more butch Mini has given the Countryman a bigger, bluffer nose than its siblings. 

As for the four-wheel drive system, it’s only available as an option on the Cooper S and Cooper D models. It's totally unrelated to the BMW X1 4x4 system (the Mini Countryman sticks with transverse engines).

Mini All4 uses an electrohydraulic differential, and under normal conditions 50% of the engine’s power goes to each axle. But in more extreme situations 100% of the output can be sent rearwards – it might not save you in the snow, but at least it should stop the scrabbling torque steer that otherwise afflicts the front-drive Cooper S.

Under the bonnet lies a choice of three familiar Mini petrol and two diesel engines. The entry-level engine is a 89bhp diesel, while the range-topping 181bhp Cooper S Countryman comes with the latest twin-scroll turbo 1.6 petrol complete with variable-valve timing and direct injection.

Mini’s take on BMW’s Efficient Dynamic tech – dubbed Minimalism – is also standard on the new Countryman and features a decoupling alternator, stop/start, a gearshift indicator and on-demand management of all the engine ancillaries. A six-speed manual is standard, but petrol models are available with an auto ‘box.

What else do we need to know about the Mini Countryman?

Although Mini’s current range offers only cramped accommodation if you want to sit in the back, the new Countryman is designed to be as practical as possible – there’s genuine space for four people. We know because we've already sat in it.

A rear bench is a no-cost option, but stick with the standard two-seat layout in the back and you also get the Mini Centre Rail. Previewed on the Beachcomber concept revealed at the 2010 Detroit motor show, the Centre Rail runs from the dashboard through to the rear seats, and everything from cup holders, sunglasses cases and armrests can be attached to the bar and slid back and forth.

Spec the five-seat layout and you can’t have the Centre Rail, but other options include sat-nav, upgraded stereo systems, a full-length panoramic roof, adaptive headlights, a tow bar and alloy wheels up to 19 inches in size. And just in case you don’t like the high-riding stance of your crossover, you can spec sports suspension and drop the Countryman by 10mm. How crazy's that? A host of John Cooper Works Performance parts are also available.

How practical is the new Mini Countryman?

It's the first modern Mini you could genuinely consider as a family car. The boot is 350 litres with the seats up, but increases to 1000 litres if you fold the pews. The rear seats slide back and forth by 130mm to juggle space for bodies and bags.

Anyone worried about the SUV stigma should hang on for the planned hybrid versions.

The Countryman will be unveiled at the 2010 Geneva motor show in March, and sales start in autumn 2010. This will be the first modern Mini not to be built in Plant Oxford, UK; the Countryman will be assembled by Magna Steyr in Austria.

>> Click 'Add your comment' below and let us know what you think of the new Mini Countryman

 

Mini Coupé Concept car: showroom bound in 2011

Revealed 50 years to the day since the launch of the classic original Mini, this is the stunning Mini Coupé Concept, which CAR expects to enter production in 2011. Just check out the plausible body details of the Mini Coupé, which shares much of the design of the existing hatch, convertible and Clubman below the scuttle to keep costs down. 

The two-seater Mini Coupé Concept, which will be displayed for the first time at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show, represents a dual effort by Mini to tap into the sports car market currently hogged by the Mazda MX-5. It's a clever way to further extend the Mini brand, which has proved highly successful since its rebirth in 2001.

Mini Coupé Concept: the lowdown

The Coupé show car is powered by the 1.6-litre twin scroll turbocharged engine from the Mini John Cooper Works, sending 208bhp and 192lb ft of torque (rising to 206lb ft in brief overboost mode) through the front axle. Like on the JCW, the front wheels are turned by speed sensitive power steering.

Highlighting the Coupé’s sporting pretensions are the bonnet scoop and twin central exhaust pipes that are familiar from current Mini S models, as well as a steeply raked windscreen, wing-shaped rear spoiler and rear diffuser. The front screen is angled 16deg faster than the Mini hatch.

Mini claims that the car will be notably lightweight, with an aluminium roof to lower the centre of gravity and enhance performance. It's like a junior BMW M3 CSL! 

If you're in any doubt of Mini's ambition to launch the Coupé, check out the precise dimensions they've issued: it's a low-slung 1356mm high, but the same length (3714mm) and width (1683mm) as today's Mini Cooper S hatchback.

Will the Mini Coupé be efficient?

Should be. Mini says the concept will fall into line with BMW’s Efficient Dynamics programme; the production range will doubtless include other engine variants on top of the JCW, with Cooper, Cooper S and maybe even diesels and Ones likely in the longer run – heralding stop-start and intelligent alternator control to trim CO2 and mpg.

How does the Mini Coupé look on the inside?

The Mini Coupé Concept’s interior is not far removed from that of the existing models, but is lifted by fresh sports seats and a generous amount of leather cladding and black headlining throughout. Meanwhile, mounted on the dashboard either side of the centrally mounted rev counter are two 'Chronoswiss' clocks, one a standard timekeeper and the other a stopwatch for recording lap times.

What about practicality?

The lack of a rear bench yields a credible boot capacity of 250 litres, accessed via a huge tailgate hinged above the spoiler. Weirdly, the sportiest Mini yet is also likely to be the most practical.

Adding further practicality is a lockable opening in the bulkhead that separates the passenger and luggage compartments, allowing for access to the boot from within the car.

Not that we think people will buy this car for its sensible qualities. Jaws hit the floor when the pictures arrived at CAR HQ and we're genuinely excited by this new addition to the Mini range. It's a fitting 50th birthday present to the brand and a thrilling prospect to pep up the affordable £20k sports car market – largely defunct since the demise of the Toyota MR2 and Celica.

 
 

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