The MINI Countryman won an award. MINI then decided to drive one through the mud for photos. And now here they are. We say forget the award and enjoy the dirty Countryman. As someone who’s had the pleasure of “mudding” a ALL4 Countryman I can attest it was absolutely a joy. Now onto the self-congratulatory press release…
Official Release: Irresistible design and unstoppable progress – the MINI Countryman is winning over fresh target groups and attracting increasing numbers of fans among potential buyers of all-wheel drive automobiles. The latest evidence of this is its outstanding performance in the 2013 “Off Road Award”. A reader’s vote held by the car magazine “Off Road” has secured a place on the winner’s podium for the first MINI with four doors, a large tailgate and the optional all-wheel drive system ALL4. The MINI Countryman was ranked second in the subcompact SUV category.
This once more reflects the huge and remarkably swift success of the British premium brand as it advances into a new segment, extending the model range to include automobiles with all-wheel drive. “Off Road” readers have clearly got wind of the fact that the MINI Countryman’s hallmark brand driving fun is to be had beyond the urban environment, too – and even away from asphalted roads. Their positive vote demonstrates not least an appreciation of the MINI Countryman’s drive and suspension technology. Powerful engines of exemplary efficiency, precise steering and specific suspension settings guarantee superb agility.
Then there is the permanent all-wheel drive system specially developed for MINI which uses an electromagnetic centre differential to distribute drive power seamlessly between the front and rear axles. Its electronic management system is integrated directly in the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) control unit, enabling ALL4 to vary drive torque quickly and precisely. The result is not just optimised starting on snow or loose sand and improved forward thrust on slippery surfaces but also enhanced sports-style driving fun on bends.
The MINI Countryman’s growing popularity is also reflected in its market success, with over 102,000 sold worldwide in 2012 alone. In fact the successful launch of the 3-door MINI Paceman in March 2013 even gave the brand’s all-wheel drive offensive an additional boost. The distinctive Sports Activity Coupé is likewise available with ALL4 as an optional extra. When the MINI Cooper Countryman ALL4 and the MINI Cooper Paceman ALL4 line up for the start as of July 2013, there will be two petrol and two diesel engines for each model available in conjunction with all-wheel drive, with output ranging from 82 kW/112 bhp to 135 kW/184 bhp. Then there are the two extreme sports models MINI John Cooper Works Countryman and MINI John Cooper Works Paceman, each of which transmits its outstanding engine output of 160 kW/218 bhp to all wheels as standard. The all-wheel drive MINI models are all available as standard with a 6-speed manual transmission and optionally with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Presented annually since 1982, the “Off Road Award” is one of the most tradition-steeped prizes in the automotive sector. This year there were a total of 128 current models to choose from in 13 categories.