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Right on cue MINI is releasing the refreshed Countryman three years into it’s lifecycle. As is customary these days with BMW, the refresh has been accomplished with a very light touch.

Mechanically there are no big changes to speak of. Instead it’s mostly cosmetic with three new colors, wheels, a slight update to the grille and a dark trim option. Additionally MINI is taking it’s R56 accessory LED headlights and making them a factory option (standard on the MCS and JCW) on the R60 complete with halo rings. The foglight portion is powered by by three LED units arranged horizontally at the centre of the cluster. The daytime driving light takes the form of a luminous ring fed by 15 LED units. When the parking lights are switched on, only five LED units are active in the upper third of the ring.

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The 2015 MINI Countryman will begin production this summer and should hit showrooms in late summer. We’ll have much more on the refreshed R60 in the coming days.

Official Release: The model year 2015 MINI Countryman has pursued its path to success both on and off-road. The first MINI with four doors, a large tailgate, five seats and optional all-wheel drive now gives an additional boost to the brand’s advance into the premium compact segment. Selective design modifications for the exterior and interior, as well as innovative equipment features contribute to the more mature charisma and increased appeal of the new MINI Countryman. This gives it a more pronounced profile as an all-round talent for versatile mobility and an active lifestyle, both in city traffic and beyond.

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With striking body design accents, refined premium characteristics in the interior and extensive safety features, the new MINI Countryman specifically emphasises all the strengths that account for its exceptional standing within the competitive field. Built at Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria, the MINI Countryman is now an important pillar of growth for MINI with 350,000 units already sold worldwide. MINI USA sold over 62,000 units since the launch in 2010 and the model represents about 30% of the MINI USA sales volume. The compact model has everything it takes to attract new target groups to the characteristic motoring fun and distinctive style of the premium British brand.

The all-wheel drive system ALL4 specially developed for MINI continues to be available for the MINI Cooper S Countryman. It comes as standard with the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman. The top athlete of the model family also lines up for the start to coincide with the market launch of the new MINI Countryman in summer 2014.

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Exterior: striking accentuations for enhanced presence and distinctive style.

The distinctive appearance of the MINI Countryman derives from its dimensions, four doors, large tailgate and specific roof shape as well as an individual interpretation of the brand’s hallmark proportions and design features.

In the new MINI Countryman, both model-specific and hallmark brand elements are given additional emphasis. The upright front section instantly conveys a powerful presence, while a newly designed structure for the characteristic hexagonal radiator grill now further underscores this impression. A horizontal radiator grill rib finished in chrome in the new MINI Cooper S Countryman along with a curved “S” in red now help give the front view a clear, purist expression to ensure instant recognition. The front section of the new MINI John Cooper Works Countryman features a red radiator grill rib supplemented with the John Cooper Works logo. On the Cooper variant the radiator grill is now subdivided by two ribs and is finished in matte silver.

The robust yet versatile character of the new MINI Countryman is also given intense emphasis. In conjunction with the all-wheel drive system ALL4, all visual underride guard elements for the front and rear apron as well as for the side sill area are now included as standard (exception: MINI John Cooper Works Countryman). These focus more strikingly on the ground clearance of the MINI Countryman, indicating its potential for driving fun away from paved roads. They are also optionally available for front-wheel drive models.
The range of exterior paint finishes has been expanded with the addition of Jungle Green metallic and Midnight Grey metallic, and Starlight Blue metallic paint is now available on the MINI Countryman for the first time.

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A contrasting paint finish for the roof and exterior mirror caps in black or white is available on request and at no extra charge for all model variants. A contrasting paint finish in red is likewise offered free of charge exclusively for the new MINI John Cooper Works Countryman. There are also Sport Stripes and bonnet stripes in a variety of colors to choose from.

Another customization option available for MINI for the first time is the new Piano Black Exterior. It comprises a paint finish in high-gloss black for selected surfaces, thereby providing novel emphasis not only for the car’s characteristic features but also for the proportions of the MINI Countryman. In addition to the surrounds of the headlamps and rear lights finished in chrome as standard, a high-end dark shading is applied to the diagonal links between the A columns and front wheel arches, the roof rails and the cross-ribs in the radiator grill of the MINI Cooper Countryman.

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New alloy wheels with reduced weight, LED fog lights.

Adaptations to the wheel rim program contribute to increased agility in the new MINI Countryman. The 17-inch light alloy wheels in the new 5-Star Triangle Spoke Design for the MINI Cooper and Cooper S Countryman are lighter than their predecessors and give this compact SAV a rugged look. They are also optionally available in a two- color design. Another new addition are the LED fog lights with parking and daytime driving lights in LED – available as an optional extra for the first time (standard for Cooper S and John Cooper Works models). They provide an intense, bright white light with a much higher level of energy efficiency than conventional headlamps. The structure of their light sources in full LED technology also helps make the front view of the new MINI Countryman striking and instantly recognizable. This light can be used to improve visibility in fog and is generated by three LED units arranged horizontally at the centre of the cluster, radiated across the entire surface of the headlamp. The daytime driving light takes the form of a luminous ring fed by 15 LED units. When the parking lights are switched on, only five LED units are active in the upper third of the ring.

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Interior with optimized acoustic comfort and refined premium characteristics.

In the interior of the MINI Countryman, characteristic brand design features are combined with a highly versatile interior space. The premium compact model offers five seats as standard along with the MINI Center Rail attachment system fitted between the driver and front passenger seat. The MINI Countryman offers acomfortable ride not only on rough terrain but also over longer distances. Meanwhile expansion of the luggage compartment from approximately 17.5 to as much as 42.2 cubic feet provides space for luggage, bulkier sports equipment or any other items that may be required for leisure activities. To this end the rear seats can be shifted longitudinally by up to five inches, either together or in a 40 : 60 split. It is also possible to adjust the tilt of the seats, and the rear backrests can be folded down in a 40 : 20 : 40 split.

Another factor that helps provide a pleasant driving and travel experience in the new MINI Countryman is its acoustic comfort, which has also been further enhanced. The displays and controls have been redesigned so as to enhance the car’s sporty flair and premium character. All model variants of the new MINI Countryman now have anthracite-colored dials for the engine speed and road speed display in the style of the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, whose central instrument now also bears the John Cooper Works logo. The standard trim of the new MINI Countryman also includes chrome applications for the ventilation controls.

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ALL4 all-wheel drive for increased driving fun and maximum traction.

The all-wheel drive system ALL4 specially developed for MINI is optionally available as an alternative to the brand’s characteristic front-wheel drive for the MINI Cooper S Countryman. The system is based on an electromagnetic center differential and distributes drive force at continuously variable levels between the front and rear axle.
The ALL4 electronic management system integrated directly in the DSC unit enables power transmission to be altered as required, responding within milliseconds.

All-wheel drive comes as standard with the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman. In this way, the supreme power of its 208 hp turbo engine is transferred to all four wheels so as to ensure maximum traction, ride stability and sporty flair on bends at all time. All engines are combined with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard. An optional 6-gear automatic transmission is available for all model variants. Shift paddles for manual selection of drive position are standard for Cooper S and John Cooper Works models. All models come standard with a Sport Button which allows more direct steering and accelerator response.

In conjunction with the automatic transmission, pressing the Sport Button also results in changes to the shift points. In the new MINI Cooper S Countryman this also triggers a particularly striking, sporty engine sound.

Extensive safety features, tire pressure control and daytime driving lights standard.

The integrated safety concept of the MINI Countryman guarantees outstanding occupant protection. Its extensive standard features in the area of active and passive safety led to a Top Safety Pick reward by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for the past three years (2011-2013) and is expected to perform well in 2014 testing.

The standard trim of the MINI Countryman also includes daytime driving lights and tire pressure control. Constant measurement of pressure on each individual tire means that the driver is given an early warning of potential loss in each tire.

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High-quality equipment, innovative MINI Connected in-car infotainment.

The remaining standard equipment of the new MINI Countryman is also at a high level, including a multifunction steering wheel with cruise control, automatic climate control, rain sensor, MINI Center Rail between the front seats and a high-end radio system comprising CD player with MP3 capability, USB port and five speakers. In addition there is a model-specific range of special equipment and accessories to choose from. The high-quality options include xenon headlamps and adaptive turning light, comfort access, panorama glass roof, Park Distance Control (PDC), MINI navigation system, voice control, Harman Kardon hi-fi speaker system and model- specific John Cooper Works accessories.

Another special highlight within the segment of the new MINI Countryman is the wide range of MINI Connected functions for use in conjunction with Radio MINI Visual Boost and the MINI navigation system. It offers extensive integration of smartphones in the car, allowing the use of internet-based services in the areas of infotainment, communication and driver experience. These are provided via apps whose functional diversity is being continuously expanded. There are vehicle-related functions such as Mission Control, Dynamic Music, Driving Excitement and MINIMALISM Analyzer as well as various online-based services. Current functions available include web radio, the use of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and Glympse, RSS news feed reception and entertainment programs such as Pandora, Stitcher, Audible, Rhapsody and TuneIn. Operation is intuitive and reflects hallmark MINI style by means of a joystick in the center console and the on- board computer in the central instrument.