MINI Reveals A Mild Countryman Refresh

It’s common practice for BMW and MINI to update each of those models with what they call an LCI or Life-Cycle Impulse (very German isn’t it?) But with this update MINI has taken a successful model with the Countryman and refreshed it only two years into its life-cycle. What’s the hurry? In a word the Paceman. Instead of bring the Paceman to market only to be updated a year later, MINI has decided to pull ahead the update to coincide with the launch of the car. This also gives us a mildly updated Countryman as a happy consequence.

So what’s changed? As we mentioned this is a mild refresh with no drivetrain changes and no real styling alterations.

  • New exterior colors (Brilliant Copper metallic and Blazing Red metallic)
  • New interior controls for the windows and mirrors located on the driver’s door
  • Updated interior materials, trim options, colors and color line packages
  • Redesigned interior door inserts and arm rests
  • Rear bench seat now standard (buckets a no-cost option)
  • A reconfiguring of the option packages

Engine and transmission configurations remain the same, but now include the JCW Countryman which as we know, comes with the All4 system as standard. Full release and detail photos after the jump.

[Official Release] In the two years since its launch onto the world’s car markets, the MINI Countryman has developed into a driving force behind the continuing growth of the brand. The transference of hallmark MINI qualities and values into a new vehicle segment has won over new target groups worldwide to the brand’s unmistakable style. Autumn 2012 will see the British carmaker’s first model to offer all-wheel drive benefiting from an extensive round of modifications which will further enhance the allure of its boundless driving fun. Detailed refinements to the car’s design and the selection of materials available for the interior shine the spotlight even more brightly on a premium character none of the MINI Countryman’s rivals can match. The spacious five-door’s optimised ease of use underlines its very modern appreciation of practicality.

The modifications designed for the MINI Countryman will be rolled out across all model variants from November 2012. Open one of the front doors and the newly designed rings encircling the Centre Speedo and four air vents immediately stand out. They will now be presented across the board in the colour shade Carbon Black and also have an inner ring in high-gloss black or – as part of the Chrome Line Interior option – in chrome. Both in standard trim and with options specified, the fresh appeal of the colours and materials adds further lustre to the high-quality character of the MINI Countryman interior.

Newly designed door inserts also help to enhance the car’s premium ambience, comfort and practicality. Remodelled door armrests provide even more comfortable support for the arms, and the controls for the electric windows are now also positioned in the door trim. A full control panel is integrated into the door armrest on the driver’s side. The switches clustered here include the controls for all the windows, the deactivation facility for the rear window controls and adjustment for the exterior mirrors. Moving the window controls away from the centre console also optimises access to the larger storage compartment below it. From autumn 2012 the MINI Countryman will come as standard with a three-seat rear bench, while a pair of individual seats will be available as a no-cost alternative.

As well as changes to the range of interior colours, interior trim elements and Colour Lines, the selection of exterior paint finishes will also be given a refresh in autumn 2012. New additions include the suitably expressive colour shades Brilliant Copper metallic and Blazing Red metallic. Plus, a restructuring of the equipment packages on offer to customers will make it even easier to customise the MINI Countryman to reflect their tastes.

Customers can choose from six engine variants for the MINI Countryman. The three petrol and three diesel units produce outputs stretching from 66 kW/90 hp to 135 kW/184 hp. Beyond these, there is also the ultra-sporty MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, powered by a turbocharged 160 kW/218 hp engine. The ALL4 all-wheel-drive system fitted as standard on this top-class performance variant is also available as an option for the MINI Cooper S Countryman, MINI Cooper SD Countryman and MINI Cooper D Countryman. All models, with the exception of the MINI One D Countryman, can be ordered with a six-speed automatic gearbox as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual. The impressive efficiency of the engines and gearboxes along with extensive MINIMALISM technology ensure all the MINI Countryman variants achieve an exemplary balance between driving fun and fuel economy. Added to which, from autumn 2012 manual versions of the MINI One Countryman and MINI Cooper Countryman will meet the stipulations of the EU6 exhaust emissions standard due to come into force in 2014.

[Source: MINI]
  • Hopefully a bigger gas tank as well!

    • Unlikely.

    • Nope. As mentioned above it’s a mild refresh that really was only brought about the Paceman being introduced. Look for larger mechanical and styling updates in the full LCI in about two years.

  • dr

    Waiting for the BMW engine and soft touch dash and door panels

  • The question is, when will this go live on Miniusa? We’ve been waiting for the 2013 models so we can order our Countryman

    • damuiw

      I just ordered my MINI Countryman JCW from my dealer on Monday. The dealer can make the purchase on their side.

      • And the new pricing is live for the diff. packages?

  • don griffin

    will this red be available? the red in the photo looks like the original red found on the cooper hardtop.

    • It’s a bit more tomato red than Chili red was. It’s also metallic, which CR was not.

      • Jac Cottrell

        Glad to hear about a ‘redder red’. Would have loved if they just gave us CR! Thank you for the updates!

  • I’m a little disappointed at the change in the window controls: explaining to my passengers how to use the toggle switches has long been a great introduction to the other cool things on my MINIs. In fact, the rear seat passengers have never asked, they’ve just figured it out.

    also: are they actually going to be as shiny as they appear in the pictures? seems a little weird.

    (yes, I’m happy that the awful button row below the switches is gone, but I’m sad about the window control changes)

    • Gary

      I agree. The combination of toggles and the rather vanilla-designed window controls makes it seem like the designers couldn’t come to an agreement and went with a mindless compromise. The MINI is gradually losing the quirky impracticality that makes it unique and fun.

  • Midnight Blue

    And what about the clutch? Has MINI finally realized that the clutch is inadequate for the ALL4 and provided a beefier unit or are they sticking with the current clutch and it’s ugly history of premature wear and failure?

  • Scooter

    Doesn’t look like they got rid of the stupid door handles that make it near impossible to use the door armrests.

  • It seems like the comments have turned into harping on every fault the Countryman may have. If that’s the way you feel, you’ve missed the point. Read the article or notice Gabe’s comment that the true LCI is still in the pipeline with more significant changes. I for one like the upgrade. I hated the Countryman’s dash for the horrid silver plastic around the speedo that significantly cheapened the look of the interior. I also hated the after-thought chiclet buttons under the toggle switches, so I’m glad to see those are gone. Some MINI-fanatics may say the door window controls appear overly simple or under-engineered but they don’t really don’t need to be complicated or over-engineered. And if a few more people buy a MINI because of it, or if Consumer Reports raises its ratings (not that we care what they say) I hope that little extra profit goes into bigger and more important R&D projects. It’s not like they got rid of the toggles; they got rid of bland chiclet buttons under the toggles and moved them to a bland, expected location. As long as they keep some type of toggles to keep the necessary quirk and fun I’ll be ok with it.

  • It would be nice if when the 2013 online configurator goes live there is an option for black headlamp surrounds in the US. It seems as if the US has been teased with seeing non-NA models with this factory option since at least MINI United if not before!

  • Chris Underwood

    Ooh, a redder red! Cheers for that! Copper could be nice too – don’t think I’ve seen pics of that.

    …Jeers for the door mounted window switches, though. 🙁

    Hopping on the “all things wrong with the Countryman” bandwagon, too bad they didn’t take the opportunity to get rid of the center rail…

    • I’d rather see MINI invest in some genuinely clever, high-quality rail accessories and swap out for a conventional hand brake. I think people would use it if the accessories weren’t so terrible.

  • Will Mini be offering off-road accessories for its All4? I currently have an All4. I was in a car accident where somebody’s trailer hitch tore through my radiator and engine causing $10k of damages (w/ the labor costs). A sport bar would have helped, I am sure.

    • MINI does not offer a grill bar, but aftermarket suppliers and shops like Detroit Tuned have been making them happen. Light bars, bumper guards, skid plates, and even suspension modifications.

  • BimmerFile_Michael

    I just saw this RED in the flesh today… boy oh boy does it look bright. I can’t even compare it to another red. I didn’t have a camera or I would have took a pic alongside Chili which looks dull.