Our new long term MINI year far is here and it’s the 2022 MINI Countryman Cooper S Untamed edition. Yes there’s a lot to unpack in that name so let’s get started and tell you some of our early thoughts; the good, the bad and the unfortunate.

We’ll start with the unfortunate. As much as we love the look and overall concept of this special edition, the name and how it’s plastered everywhere (literally) is very cringey. To call something “untamed” in 2022 is playing on some very tired analogies that make MINI feel a bit out of touch when it comes to naming conventions. The word is everywhere; the side scuttle, rear side windows, steering wheel and even built into the illuminated dash. The good news is that this one thing is the only thing MINI missed with on this car. The total package looks great.

MINI Countryman Untamed

With that out of the way let’s get into the car. This is a 2023 Countryman Cooper S Untamed edition and is finished in Momentum Grey metallic with Highland Green leather inside. It’s loaded with almost every options missing only adaptive cruise, power rear hatch and ear seat center armrest. All three are missed but the adaptive cruise is especially missed given the highway driving this car will see. Having had it on our last several MINI we can attest to it being a must have option for anyone who drives their MINI long distance. 

The good is plentiful with this car starting with the car itself. Seven years into a production cycle is not usually an exciting moment for a car but the Countryman still feels fresh both in how it drives and how it looks. 

The dynamics are largely the same as they have been which immediately puts it in the top of its class for engagement and driving enjoyment. Steering feel isn’t the strong suit of the car but you quickly build confidence in both overall grip and precise placement. For a small crossover this thing is fun and that in itself is worth celebrating. 

Coming from a few years with a 301 hp JCW Clubman and then Countryman there’s clearly a recalibration of performance expectation. Our new Countryman has 190 hp moving all 3,618 LBS to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. The JCW Clubman does that in 4.6 which the Countryman just behind that. Yes that’s a huge difference and one that you feel anytime you have to accelerate quickly. But hear the surprise; in normal city driving you don’t miss the extra performance. Except perhaps one thing – braking. The MCS does fine and if you’ve never driven a JCW before. But if you’ve experienced those massive front brakes you’ll never be the same. Maybe that’s our problem then?

What is the MINI Countryman Untamed Edition Exactly?

It’s a special edition Countryman with unique trim, colors and decals. There are no mechanical differences to the standard Countryman Cooper S All4 but the visuals do distinguish immediately.

The exclusive exterior Momentum Grey metallic is extended to the air curtain inserts in the front apron and the side sills, as well as on the reflector inserts and the lower insert in the rear apron. The background to the MINI brand logo on the bonnet and tailgate is in Momentum Grey metallic. It’s a unique look you’ll notice if you’re a MINI fan.

It’s combined with a contrasting black finish on the roof and exterior mirror caps as well as on the roof rails and headlight housings. The Piano Black Exterior adds further black design features: the surrounds of the radiator grille, headlights, tail lights and side scuttles, the door handles, the tailpipe trims, the model lettering.

Then there are those stripes finished in Frozen Bluestone on the lower section of each door. The inlays and the carrier plates of the side scuttles are also finished in this color. Like the door sill finishers, the side scuttles also feature a graphic pattern inspired by a mountain landscape, together with the inscription “UNTAMED”. Yup – that regrettable name is everywhere unfortunately. The inscription is also featured on the rear side windows albeit in easily removable stickers. Finally the 18-inch alloy wheels are unique to the Untamed Edition.

The interior of the MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4 Untamed Edition features nature-inspired shades of green and blue. The exclusive Highland Green is combined with blue and green contrast stitching on the surfaces of the heated and power operated MINI Yours Leather Lounge sports seats. It’s really our favorite part of the car as it’s both striking and restrained at the same time.

To finish things off there’s a graphic of a mountain landscape illuminated in the trim in Frozen Bluestone. And yes, at night it lights up and says “UNTAMED”.

If you can get passed the name there’s a lot to like about this package. However is it worth the $45,250 given that a JCW can be had for not much more? We intend to find out over the next 12 months.