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Comparison: Countryman Cooper, Cooper S & All4

The roads west of Austin Texas were my personal rally stages last week as I test drove each of the three Countryman models back to back to back. It was a perfect combination of weather, roads and the right cars that so rarely happens with busy schedules. But beyond the joy of just driving, the time allowed me to dig deeper into each of the Countryman models and get past the initial “getting to know you” phase we had with our first drives of the Countryman. What it allowed me to do is truly evaluate each model compared to the next without any assumptions or preconceived notions.

If you’re looking for a more straight-foward review of the Countryman head over to our first drives of each model (MCS All4, MCS, MC). But if you’re ready to move beyond the typical first drive review and hear our objective thoughts on the entire Countryman range from an enthusiasts point of view, read on.

It’s important to consider that the Countryman is a unique platform built for a singular purpose. Portions are derived from the current MINI range. The drivetrain for example is almost entirely a carry-over. However the structure of the car has no compromises in design or engineering. It sounds boring but trust me, this is important when it comes to this vague thing we call “feel.” That feel is something many remark on when they experience a MINI. While the car shrinks around you in corners, it also drives larger and more solid than you’d expect from a small car. Part of this is due to how BMW designs and engineers their chassis. For instance, they do not make control arms out of stamped steel (looking at you Toyota), but instead use cast aluminum ones. Nor do they compromise when it comes to creating a rigid chassis a class or two above competitors. All of this creates the feel of substance that defies expectations of a small car.

In the Countryman that feel has been amplified. In fact it almost has a teutonic similar to the best BMWs. While some might believe the weight and size of the Countryman has taken some of the typical MINI feel away, it’s almost better to think of it as layer of solid substance placed over the top of it. Yes, this dulls responsiveness slightly, and sure, the extra weight cannot be masked at the limit. But the feel of stability and assurance defines this MINI more than any before it and better aligns the character of what a crossover should be.

The Test

I wanted to get there early. The plan was to give us (about 30 journalists) keys to about 10 MINIs representing the entire 2011 model range. One benefit of running MotoringFile is the fact that I had already spent lots of quality time with each of the Countryman models so I wanted to get straight to comparisons. The plan was to do quick drives back-to-back-to-back with a handful of models. All I needed was the right road. Surprisingly, that was easy to find. The test course was a series of roads in the back country outside of Austin, TX that challenged the cars with everything from off-camber corners to extreme elevation changes. It was a perfect way to help determine what made a each model unique.

The Cooper

Slow cars are not something that the car buying public are very used to anymore. There was a time that a 10 second 0-60 time was considered sporty. Clearly that time has passed. Anything over eight seconds is usually looked at with raised eyebrows and certainly dismissed by driving enthusiasts. This has always served MINI well with the base Cooper model (in the US of course) coming in right around that mark and always feeling just frisky enough. The Countryman Cooper does not. It is a slow car in the modern sense of the word. Motivating nearly 3,000 pounds of metal up and down the hills west of Austin was both physical and mental work. I drove the manual this time, but even rowing the hell out of the gears didn’t solve the problem.

That said, it’s still a MINI. It has all of the same attributes that make the Countryman such a solid buy. You just need momentum on your side, a quick right hand on the gear lever and some fast footwork with the clutch. Sounds fun doesn’t it? It’s entertaining but in truth it’s not nearly as fun as the Cooper S. There’s no way around it. Because of that there’s never been a better time to tell prospective Cooper owners to seriously think about laying down the extra $3,600 for the Cooper S. There, I said it.

If there was ever any doubt as to why MINI didn’t allow for the All4 system on the Cooper it clearly comes down to power and speed. With the extra driveline to motivate the Countryman Cooper would have gone from slow to uncomfortably slow. Even on normal roads the engine was clearly taxed trying to get the car up to speed. There were several times when I turned onto a four lane divided road, floored it, and still wasn’t sure if I was going to be a moving chicane or flowing with traffic.

But motivation aside, it’s an impressive package for $22,350. The interior is nothing short of a miracle compared to the pre-2011 MINIs. Material qualities and build quality (even on this early production model) are better than anything I’ve ever seen from MINI. Everything from design to build tells the story of a premium vehicle that has every right to be positioned above much of the Japanese or American Competition. In short, it’s a very impressive package. It’s only let down by the power of the engine. If there was only something that offered more performance. in the same package. Oh, right.

The Cooper S

After driving the Cooper I wanted to take the next step up the ladder into a manual transmission FWD Cooper S. Our test car was equipped (unlike the Cooper) with the sport package, 18″ wheels, Navigation, MINI Connected (more on this soon) and that beautiful off-white leather. Like the Cooper, the material and build quality was first-rate and easily the best thing I’ve ever seen from MINI. The design and execution of the interior just warms the heart after living with an ’07 MCS for a year. Seating position is what MINI calls “semi-command” and offers a view of the road that will surely be more reassuring for some drivers.

Also, at $25,950 it’s a pretty fair price for an up-market cross-over of the Countryman’s positioning.

We’ve covered the updated and improved 1.6L turbo found in all Cooper S models for 2011 ad nasium, but it’s worth talking about if not to simply dwell on a few impressive numbers. With the addition of Valvetronic (long a staple of BMW engines) power is up 9 hp while efficiency is also up. Beyond the numbers the result of Valvetronic is a better throttle response, smoother delivery and — simply put — a quicker car.

All of this motivates the heaviest car ever to wear a MINI logo. But at just under 3,000 lbs the Countryman Cooper S is the sweet spot of the R60 range with the best power to weight ratio of all models. And on top of that delivers 1 MPG better than the All4 equipped Countryman MCS.

But one thing about the Countryman that physics dictates: it doesn’t quite have that same level of go-cart feel that the hatch possesses. Where the R56 can be fun at anything more than 20 mph, the R60 needs at least ten more mph to get the same thrill. And that’s where the 181 hp turbo power plant really helps the equation.

It is said that weight is the enemy of performance, but comfort and safety is essential to any modern mass produced car. The Countryman, more than any other MINI, has to cater to both. So comfort + safety = reduced performance right? I don’t know if the word “reduced” is quite right here though. I believe “different” would be a better description. In fact R60 feels like exactly what it is: a heavier, taller MINI. Its senses are muted slightly (by design and by weight and height) and its motion is more controlled.

Our test course featured extreme elevation changes and off-camber corners that taxed the suspension setup of each model. It also did a great job exposing the limits of the chassis and grip. The standard FWD Countryman MCS has the most MINI-like feel with a hint of lift off over-steer along with the standard understeer that we all expect with a MINI. The sport suspension, while better damped than the stock, still had more body roll that I would have liked. Make no mistake, the ride is composed and comfortable in a way no MINI has ever been. In fact it may just be perfect for someone new to the MINI brand perhaps. But I can’t help but feel that this is the one area where MINI clearly got it wrong from a hardcore enthusiast’s view-point. Yes the car has more weight and more roll is to be expected, but if BMW can work magic on a 5,000 lb X6, it can do the same on an MCS Countryman with the sport package. The JCW suspension (planned to be available at launch) would likely be money well spent for the hardcore enthusiast.

On the highway the Countryman MCS (and all Countryman for that matter) has a solid feel that is unknown in the rest of the MINI range. The steering has good on-center feel and the entire package feels (as we mentioned earlier) teutonic at highway speeds.

Speaking of steering feel, MINI has clearly refined the electric steering over the years and the result is the best feel since the first generation. The Countryman features an updated system that surprisingly has a more fluid feel (as it weights up in corners) than the hatch. The sport button further enhances the weight but doesn’t dull the connection to the road as the R55, R56 or R57s’ systems do. No it’s not at R50/R53 levels of immediacy, but the largest heaviest MINI currently sold now has the best steering feel.

Inside, our MCS was equipped (like all US R60s currently) with two rear buckets and the standard full rail system. The design looks great and functions as expected. The only downside is the quality of rail accessories. They don’t inspire the confidence with their overly complex latching mechanism and cheap plastic. Yet I can’t help but applaud MINI for the idea, and if they can’t make a good iPhone cradle, I’m sure the aftermarket can.

One last thought on the rail system. I found that the full length rail posed no issue in navigating over or around and would heartily recommend it over the split design.

The most fundamental new feature of the Countryman is its four doors. Even as small as they are, they allow for perfect access. Getting the rear seats folded down for full loading capabilities or adjusting the angle of the back is accomplished by a small strap on the inside of the seat near the rail. It’s not the most obvious location and surely will be a decision knocked by organizations like Consumer Reports. However, the seats themselves are fantastic. Unless you absolutely need a bench seat (look for the option in the latter half of 2011 for the US market), the rear buckets are the way to go. With fore and aft movement, plus good side bolstering, they are the best rear seats you’ll find in a small crossover anywhere.

The overall rear interior volume is about the same as the Clubman. However it’s the extra rear legroom, width and height that makes the Countryman slightly more usable day to day.

Driving the FWD MCS Countryman, unsurprisingly, is just like driving a heavier, taller MINI. The DNA is there but combined with new attributes that are designed to appeal to a broader range of consumers. Is it still a MINI? You’ll have to answer that for yourself. But in my mind, it’s not simply “MINI’s crossover”, but MINI’s interpretation of what a crossover should be. And I like it a lot.

The Cooper S All4

For years MINI fans have been waiting for all wheel drive — the promise of a more balanced and better performing car thanks to the magic or all four wheels putting power to the ground. And (finally) it’s here. It just happens to be the heavier and worse performing of the two Cooper S Countryman models. It’s also the most expensive, starting at $27,650.

The promise that all wheel drive can solve all of our problems (safety and performance) is somewhat pervasive in the auto industry these days. But it’s a promise that is rarely fulfilled in mass market products. And like many other awd vehicles the All4 Countryman doesn’t deliver on all the expect or perceived benefits.

The AWD craze in North America began when Audi made people believe they needed four wheels turning all year around to feel that magical sense or security. But as many of us know, that added propulsion really just creates a heavier, slower, more expensive car with worse fuel economy. But MINI engineers are smart. And the Cooper S Countryman All4 has a system that was designed to mitigate those old downsides with clever technology and electronics. But as smart as they and the system are, those downsides are still present. It’s both heavier and less efficient than the fwd Cooper S Countryman.

And then there’s speed. The All4 Countryman Cooper S stops the clock at 7.7 seconds (manual) 0-60. The standard front wheel drive Countryman Cooper S does the same distance in 7.3. While we expect those times are equally conservative the .4 of a second separating them is hard to ignore.

How about some positives? First off, ALL4 is available with a six-speed manual – a rarity in the US market and a huge win in our book. Try ordering that combination in a Nissan Juke. It only offers a CVT with AWD. Secondly, it’s rather efficient in the way it uses power. The system itself is typically 100% front wheel drive which means the rear tires are just rolling along with the car until they sense slip. While that means that your Countryman All4 is nothing more than a FWD almost all of the time, it also means it’s more efficient than some other, older comparable systems. At any point when traction is lost, up to 50% of the power can be sent to the rear. Like other modern systems, power can also be sent from left to right based on traction needs. Put plainly, All4 is what you need when you need it and nothing more.

What this gives All4 is a uniquely planted feel at the limit that no other MINI has. But it doesn’t mean All4 is a performance option. This is a safety feature and MINI clearly positions it as such. The stock Countryman Cooper S is not a street legal WRC car that many had hoped. Not yet at least.

Nevetheless there are moments when All4 does affect the Countryman at the limit. When pushed there is a subtle solidity and ability to power out of corners where the FWD car would simply rotate and then shoot out of them. It’s a slightly more refined character than we’re used to (even in the FWD Countryman), and one that would certainly be appreciated for those of us who are aggressive in slippery conditions.

In all the All4 Countryman Cooper S is the most solid and grown-up MINI yet. Yet I can’t help but feel it’s overkill when you already have an exceptional front wheel drive Countryman Cooper S for $1,700 less. There simply isn’t enough benefit to justify the cost, weight, efficiency, and performance penalties. I have confidence in my ability to work through any snow that Chicago will throw at me in a MINI. I also have confidence in my judgment to be prudent enough to not have to rely on All4 to save me.

The Verdict

We have one that’s too slow and one that’s just a little too much of everything. Then sitting in the middle is the perfect compromise: the FWD Countryman Cooper S. It’s not that the Cooper is too slow to be a good car, or that the All4 is too buttoned up to be a MINI. The FWD Cooper S wins because it’s the closest thing to what we know and love in the MINI brand. More specifically, around these roads and driven back to back, it’s the clear winner when you look at performance and price. And (perhaps more importantly) it wins when asking the most important question: does it feel like a MINI?

We’ll be back to test the All4 Cooper S during the depths of winter here in Chicago as a follow-up. In the meantime, you can head down to your local MINI dealer and drive the Countryman yourself starting this November. MINI USA’s official on-sale date is January 8th 2011 however those who order November production will likely receive their cars before that date.

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Written By: Gabe

  • http://www.facebook.com/pneuvo Pekka Neuvo

    Great review! I’ve driven the Cooper D and feel sorry for all of you living in the states. It’s not an S, but this is sure is much more fun than the cooper. Cooper D is all about torque and you really feel it. Not as fun as the S, but practical.

    Now the only problem I have is wether to wait for the SD or just go with the S.

    Choose a manual gearbox, since the automatic takes all the fun away!

  • Phil Eddy

    Overall a good review. I thought the full length rail system wasn’t going to be offered in the US? One picky comment – hire a proof-reader, please.

    • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com Nathaniel Salzman

      Phil,

      If you’d like to volunteer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

  • Kevin Bartlett

    I second Phil’s comments. Gabe always provides really great insight and feedback, and is my number one source for Mini info. This article is no exception.

    I, however, stumbled several times reading through this piece, which isn’t normal here as Gabe is a very well spoken guy.

  • ml

    I still don’t understand why they put the same horsepower for the Countryman as the Cooper. I really dislike the exterior look of the Countryman S, and would much rather get a base Countryman – it just looks a lot more classy. But if it’s that slow, I will probably pass on both…

  • 2008R56S?

    Best review to date (anywhere) on the Countryman and so appreciated!! The reviews here are performed and written by folks who share the same POV as I do about the driver and car experience / relationship. It’s not only entertaining and informative, but it provides a far better set of benchmarks if I’m considering buying a vehicle. This is the review I have been waiting for–will the Countryman S All4 satisfy my need for sport, utility, and all weather traction in one package? For now (pre JCW) the answer is no. I will keep my cherry 2005 Chili Red R53 for the ‘fun’ stuff and also stay with my Audi Avant (red too) for the snowin’ and haulin’ parts of life.

  • LeeL

    I noticed the proofing erros too. Usually this site is so well written, they did kind of stand out.

    That said, great review. I agree it is nice to have a good benchmark from someone you trust and Motoringfile and Bimmerfile is that benchmark for me.

    So, the body kit on the All4. Is that standard on the All4? is it available on any other model like the FWD Cooper S?

  • GaryD

    Gabe, you write this coming in from a “driven other MINIs previously” point of view… look at it from the “never driven a MINI point of view” that many of the new MINI owners will be coming from. For them, any of the 3 Countryman offerings will probably seem more exciting than what they are driving now. With 4 doors and ALL4 prospective new owners trying it for the first time will find the features they want and performance that seems really good (and fun)… which means that MINI probably got it right in their efforts to attract new buyers.

    And even on the other side… MINI owners moving from 1 or 2 to a family and needing a little more room might also consider the bit of compromise acceptable in order to still have something that’s mostly like a MINI and still meet their new/growing needs.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe
    I noticed the proofing erros too. Usually this site is so well written, they did kind of stand out.

    There was an old draft version that was accidentally posted earlier today. The final version is now live.

    Gabe, you write this coming in from a “driven other MINIs previously” point of view… look at it from the “never driven a MINI point of view” that many of the new MINI owners will be coming from.

    This was done by design. If I was writing for Cars.com I would have written it for the un-washed masses. But because of the readership of MF, reviews need to be at the enthusiast (or mild enthusiast level).

    For them, any of the 3 Countryman offerings will probably seem more exciting than what they are driving now.

    We’ve reviewed the Countryman four times now and have gushed about it in our previous reviews in the ways you’d expect a new owner coming to the brand for the first time would. This is meant to be a comparison of the three and thus talks less delicately about the nuances (positive and negative) of each model.

    With 4 doors and ALL4 prospective new owners trying it for the first time will find the features they want and performance that seems really good (and fun)… which means that MINI probably got it right in their efforts to attract new buyers.

    MINI got it 100% right to attract new buyers. Again this is a comparison review. We’ve reviewed all three models before and stated quite clearly that MINI hit a home-run with the R60.

  • LTL M CPE

    Excellent detailed review! Very well done and useful for many I’m sure.

    Jim

  • that.guy

    what a crossover should be

    Ah, but you assume that a crossover should exist in the first place.

    Should a crossover be? Nay, I say.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Should a crossover be? Nay, I say.

    No of course not. They should all be wagons. Think of this as a tall wagon with a DIY drop project built in.

  • AustinTraveller

    Gabe,

    Did you drive the Cooper in Sport mode? If so, was there an appreciable difference in acceleration? How does throttle response compare to the base Clubman?

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Did you drive the Cooper in Sport mode?

    Yes.

    If so, was there an appreciable difference in acceleration?

    No. Just the response.

    How does throttle response compare to the base Clubman?

    The same

  • Hoover
    They should all be wagons.

    I had thought that the R65 SpaceBox was going to be a wagon variant, but it doesn’t appear to be the case anymore. Sounds like the closest we’ll get to a 4 door wagon will be the next generation Clubman. I would prefer a traditional wagon, with 4 proper doors and a hatch, but it doesn’t seem like that is in the cards, anymore.

    In the meantime, great review(s). I’m not a fan of the styling on the S, but there is a strong argument here for that power. The Countryman is the likely replacement for our aging CR-V.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000326387071 Anthony Buglio

    Motor Trend: First Drive: 2011 Mini Cooper Countryman S ALL4

    Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/suvs/1010_2011_mini_cooper_countryman_s_all_4/index.html#ixzz12ShmxcHs

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1742553353 Mark Smith

    Great job guys. This is an awesome article! I thoroughly enjoyed your point of view on most everything. Anyone seen actual dimensions of the rear seat area? I would like to see how it compares to the other models.

  • goat

    Good review Gabe… Enjoyed its honesty and glad to read a review from a fellow driving enthusiast… the attention to the vehicle’s dynamics, steering feel, throttle response – that is what I want to read about. But on flip side was curious to see how the production-spec rail materials and accessories look and you checked that box too. Thanks man!

  • that.guy
    Think of this as a tall wagon with a DIY drop project built in.

    I am really trying to think of it that way. But then I think of this in a 5 door:

    http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/car/10q1/2010_volkswagen_golf_r-first_drive_review

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    So, the body kit on the All4. Is that standard on the All4? is it available on any other model like the FWD Cooper S?

    That is the optional JCW aero-kit.

  • Coast

    Thanks MF, excellent piece. One issue I was hoping you’d comment on in detail–torque steer in the FWD S. How much? Does it fight your line coming out of corners? How much do you have to work the wheel on a straight-ahead on-ramp? Etc.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    There is none thanks to the new torque steer eliminating software standard on all 2011 MINIs.

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  • Coast
    There is none thanks to the new torque steer eliminating software standard on all 2011 MINIs.

    Good, thanks. Coming out of a Mazda6–this may be my next car and first MINI.

  • Aurel Savin

    Nice review! I know you never spent much time with a Clubman, but having a toddler as well … do you think that this warrants an upgrade from a Clubman?

  • lavardera

    Does the Cooper have some kind of optional body kit on it? That silver chin scraper, and the below the door rails? Not liking that faux truck look on that car.

  • lavardera

    The so called JCW body kit on the All4 does not look like a full front bumper assembly – only a chin spoiler. Everything above the spoiler looks stock. Am I seeing that right?

  • Michael

    I think I want an S model. It will be fun to see it on the MINI web site with prices. I might want to wait till the mid-cycle refresh – By then BMW/MINI will have sorted out all of the bugs and rattles – That’s what I did with my current R52 convertible. I will definitely go to Zimbrick MINI in Madison and test-drive one. Very nice review Gabe.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Does the Cooper have some kind of optional body kit on it? That silver chin scraper, and the below the door rails?

    That’s the off-road appearance accessory kit. It has a silver piece in the front and back.

    I might want to wait till the mid-cycle refresh – By then BMW/MINI will have sorted out all of the bugs and rattles – That’s what I did with my current R52 convertible.

    MINI will refresh the Countryman for the 2014 model year with new/updated engines and an updated front and rear facia. But really this is the most sorted MINI I’ve ever seen at launch. I wouldn’t hesitate to get one now.

  • Dan C.

    Gabe, since you opened the door on the Juke: Your comparison is a bit of a strawman, mainly because the best Juke isn’t CVT/AWD, but the FWD/6MT, much like the Countryman S. I really like the MINI, but find it difficult to justify the ~$7000 discrepancy compared to the Nissan, comparably equipped. i.e., the Juke is a fantastic drive and I can’t imagine the Countryman S being that much better.

    I’d appreciate your comments on the Nissan when you get a chance to drive one.

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  • ecupip

    No offense but the S countryman looks a lot like the SMART :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000326387071 Anthony Buglio
  • O(=^=)O Capn

    As Always Gabe, a great write up.

    I was planning on buying this car until I read this:

    “The system itself is typically 100% front wheel drive which means the rear tires are just rolling along with the car until they sense slip. While that means that your Countryman All4 is nothing more than a FWD almost all of the time,… Put plainly, All4 is what you need when you need it and nothing more. “…But it doesn’t mean All4 is a performance option. This is a safety feature and MINI clearly positions it as such. The stock Countryman Cooper S is not a street legal WRC car that many had hoped. Not yet at least.”

    A street legal WRC was exactly what I was hoping for. VERY VERY disappointed. As a matter of fact I really havn’t been around here since dec 2006 when the R53 went away and the R56 came out. Looks like I am to stick with my early dec build 2006 R53. Fine car, just not a subie slayer I was hoping for.

    This is something that had me coming back occasionally checking in on the development from time to time just to see how it was.

    Interesting to see how an JCW All4 will feel.

  • 0(=^=)0 Capn

    Hmmn, funny how the formating came out in my quote.. anyway, point made.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000326387071 Anthony Buglio
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000326387071 Anthony Buglio

    MINI’s Vinnie Kung takes us through the 2011 MINI Countryman:

    http://www.drivingthenation.com/?p=2318

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  • ksbadger

    I’m with Pekka – I’d like to get an All4D. It was considered better than the All4 S by the London Telegraph’s reviewer. I’d appreciate the extra torque from the diesel (especially as it’s a turbo) and you need more compliance in the suspension if you’re going even slightly off-road. Understand the D gives around 50 mpg – think that Mini’s overlooking the non-urban market where mileage is a big factor & diesels are accepted if not preferred (one of my other vehicles is an F-250 Powerstroke). I just don’t understand why no D in North America when mainline BMW & all the other German manufacturers are pushing diesels.

  • 0(=^=)0 Capn

    The cost of having the diesel here is prohibitive. Higher emission standards designed to limit the diesel in the US or differences in diesel formulations Here I forget either way it is a travesty

  • ksbadger

    Capn, That’s just not true – you can go the BMW USA website & see the 335 & X5 “Advanced diesels” – “20% CO2, up to 36 mpg”.

    BTW there’s further evidence that MINI isn’t looking after the Countryman’s main market. Firstly it looks like you can’t get a cloth interior – much superior to both leatherette or leather when it nearly 100 degrees out and secondly only individual rear seats are available – thought there was going to be a full seat option. You don’t want a gap in the load bed.

  • ksbadger

    Hmmm – went over to the MNI UK site and guess what – the “5 seat interior” & cloth seats are both the standard default options!

  • Jas

    Ksbadger: The bench seat is coming in 2011, the US requires more time due to crash tests for the US market. and cloth seats are featured in the brochure at the US dealers. Also Cloth seats are standard on the US MINI Cooper Countryman, and I think its a “Cooper” only option. According to the brochure, yes i know its not on the online builder. So maybe will come at launch: Jan 8th.

  • Jas

    Also, leatherette is not available in the UK/Euro markets, therefore cloth seats being standard.

  • 0(=^=)0 Capn

    ksbadger, maybe you misread what I wrote, It isn’t the cost from the consumer side, it is the cost of development and conformity with USDOT regs.

    Here is a response from an article from an interview with Vinnie Kung, MINI USA product manager

    http://www.motoringfile.com/2010/09/06/ask-mini-usa-product-manager-the-answers/

    MF: We know that there have been some decisions made to not bring the diesel to the US. Does that also rule out hybrid technology for MINI? Vinnie: Diesel and Hybrid models have never been ruled out. The business case is what limits us. We all want it but at the end of the day, it has to make business sense and while there are many people out there just screaming for one (myself included), the spreadsheet says otherwise. US conformity is not cheap on the Diesel front. But it may be easier with other alternatives.
  • ksbadger

    Jas & Capn, Thanks for the clarifications. I appreciate that nothing goes straight from the drawing board to production – I work in Flight Test for “the No. 3 aircraft manufacturer” so I’m also well aware of meeting Federal Regs and having to prove it.

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  • Audrey Kennedy

    Just purchased a 2011 Countryman S.   We  “LOVE” it.  Fun to drive, great gas mileage and too cute for words! 

    Audrey Kennedy  ( Metairie, La.)


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MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

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Reviews:
'12 JCW Coupe
'11 Fiat 500 Sport
'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
'11 Cooper S Hatch
'11 Countryman MCS (FWD)
'11 Countryman MC (auto)
'10 Mayfair MCS (auto)
'11 Countryman MCS (ALL4)
'10 MINI E
'10 Tesla Roadster Sport
'09 Cooper S Convertible
'09 JCW Hatch
'09 JCW Clubman
JCW Stage I vs JCW Stage II
'08 Clubman S (Auto)
1st Drive: '08 MINI Clubman
'08 Smart Fourtwo
Comparison: '08 BMW 135i
'06 R53 MCS vs '07 R56 MCS
'07 R56 JCW (Stage 1)
'07 MINI Cooper S Long Term
'07 BMW Z4 M Coupe
'07 MINI Cooper & Cooper S
Audio: '07 MC/MCS at the Track
'06 JCW GP Long term
Reader Review: JCW GP
'06 JCW Cooper S Long Term
Comparison: '06 Lotus Elise
Comparison: '06 Mazda MX5
Comparison: '06 UK Focus ST
Comparison: '06 Civic Si
Comparison: '04 TVR T350
Comparison: '06 Nissan 350z
Comparison: '06 VW GTI w/DSG
Podcast: Cooper S Auto
Podcast: BMW 325i
Podcast: JCW MC Soundkit
'04 JCW MINI Cooper Tuning Kit
'05 MCS: One Month Review
'05 MCS Auto
'05 JCW S 1st Drive
'05 MINI Cooper
'05 MCS Conv. Long Term
'05 MINI Cooper S
'05 MCS Cabrio 1st Drive
'04 JCW MCS First Drive
'04 MC w/JCW Tuning Kit
BMW M3 SMG Vs. MCS
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range


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