It requires one part rain (or snow I would expect) and one part Scandinavian flick. The result is amazing on a track and in the right hands. However on an emtpy road without copious amounts of the wet stuff, it’s less than impressive. Truth be told with All4 and DSC off the Countryman maintains control impeccably well and is (seriously) the most neutral factory MINI ever. The photo above (taken at our test drive of the Countryman prototype in Austria last year) proves it can be done with impressive results but only under the right circumstances. So why is it so hard?
The reason for the R60’s control lies in it’s intelligent All4 system. First off the control unit is fully integrated into the DSC unit and thus transfers data much faster than a typical system (thus reacting to conditions faster). This is what gives it the seamless feel that ends up with a driver not even realizes it’s working. It engages a small clutch in the front detecting wheel slip when engaging the rear driveshaft. Unlike BMW’s xDrive, it’s a simple (but very effective) system that doesn’t use complex electronics. It all adds up to seamless power delivery and the driver typically not knowing when the system is in operation.