MINI Addresses Countryman Clutch Issue

In 12 months time we had little complaints about our long-term Countryman. Save for the short range and rigid ride (thanks to the run flats), living with the R60 was painless. Except for one major design flaw of course; the clutch. In our experience, all the auxiliary components in the driveline combined with the standard MINI clutch, created a tangible lack of feel at the point of clutch engagement. In English; you would stall the thing early and often. It didn’t matter how experienced one was at rowing the gears, nothing would prepare you for how terribly the clutch engaged. And from 2012 November production onward, MINI has updated the clutch and the issue is no longer. But what about current owners with the issue? And is the Paceman affected? Read on.

For those with 2011 and 2012 cars with issue, we recommend bringing it to the attention of your dealer. And if needed, call MINI directly. We’re guessing MINI USA will handle it on a case by case basis.

Additionally MINI has applied the same fix for the Paceman.

Here’s the official statement from MINI USA:

As part of the continual refinement and optimization of MINI vehicles, we have improved the take-off convenience and performance of all our MINI Countryman clutches by implementing some software updates as well as changing the clutch facing material to improve the feeling of the clutch engagement. We are sure that these changes will even further improve the convenience of our MINI Countryman models, and will be recognized and appreciated by our customers. These changes coincide with the start of production of our MINI John Cooper Works Countryman as of November 2012.

  • How about the issue with it having a small ass gas tank?

    • You’ll have to wait for the real refresh or the next gen. Or buy a more efficient Countryman 🙂

      • les

        What what? Gabe, do you know something that you are not sharing? A simple reply with a 🙂 will answer my question.

      • CINIMIN

        Does it start with D and rhyme with Cecil

        • No I’m just referring to the Cooper. Better mpg and more range. Sorry to be coy. I’ve been traveling for what seemed like 24 hours straight.

  • JohnJohn

    my day has been made!

  • Kbob98

    Does MIni use the CDV (clutch delay valve) like BMW does?

  • Midnight Blue

    Hallelujah! Vindication at long last!

  • Dr Obnxs

    I’m guessing the SW update would be cheap and easy to get. But a new clutch disk? I’m guessing it will take a lot of biatchin to get that one….

  • slap

    And what about the old style replacement clutches sitting on the shelves at the dealers? Did MINI get rid of those, or will they keep on installing them until the stock is used up?

  • Chris Underwood

    I’d like better clutch feel in my Clubman… Wonder if the ballsier clutch disc would fit and how much of a difference it would make without the software updates. Might be a good alternative to a whole “race clutch” setup for a regular ol’ daily driver when it comes time to replace my clutch.

  • Ex All4

    Countryman owner. Toasted clutch at 11k. New non-Mini on order. Neither Mini or BMW will ever see a penny of mine again. This news is a year late and $3k short of satisfaction.

  • ulrichd

    This sound similar to the “stumble” on early R50/53 models. Unless you got the balance between clutch and gas just right it would bog down off the line. I got in the habit of bllipping the throttle slightly on take-off, that seemed to help. Over six years of Mini ownership it became so second nature to me I still do it in my E82.

  • Rockland

    How about a little more follow-up from Mini? What about those of us with 2012 Countryman with the POS clutch?

    • N2fw

      I contacted MINI USA and they say they have not made a decision on what to do with 2012s. Right now it doesn’t look like they’ll be offering up a replacement to the new parts or added software, but that may change in the future. They did note that they have added my complaint to service records for my vehicle and in the event that my clutch goes out after warranty this would play a role in having it replaced at their cost. Assuming obviously that the clutch doesn’t need to be replaced sooner.

  • cm

    I had my CM for 1.5 years and even though in the beginning it was a sketchy clutch engagement, I got use to it. However, other family members didn’t feel the same. After concluding that this clutch would not last in the long-term, I sold it last month.

    Sorry, but I didn’t have faith in MINI/BMW to do the right thing if this ever became a problem.

  • CSC

    My clutch went out after 3500 miles. Dealership relented to pay for a replacement after I made the strong case to them and corporate MINI that this was a design issue. There was still an insistence to engage the clutch at 1800 RPM. [Crazy living in hilly Seattle.] I’ve changed driving habits a little and hope to make it through the next 3500 miles. Curious if I could get them to replace with the newer and improved system. Other than that I love the car and thought they did a great job in customer service!

  • Amit

    Thanks for the article. I’ve been complaining to my dealer since I picked up ours this past July. I sent them this link and gave them an ultimatum, fix my car, or swap me for a different Mini. Got a call back on Friday, heading to the dealer today to pick out my new car. cheers.

  • MMM

    My 2011 Countryman S All 4 has been in the shop for almost 2 weeks because my clutch went out and they tried charging me $3,500 to replace it. I called Mini directly and they said they would cover 75% of the charges but that is not good enough. The clutch is faulty and should be recalled.