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|03-31-2010, 03:32 PM||#1|
MINI Countryman at 2010 NY Auto Show - Hits US Dealers Q1 2011
MINI began introducing the MINI Countryman to media and customers in the U.S. during the New York Auto Show on March 31, 2010, and is preparing for the vehicle’s delivery to dealership around the country in the first quarter of 2011.
The launch date for markets outside North America is fall 2010, and early 2011 for the U.S.
Meet The MINI Countryman
MINI is adding a fourth model to the family, opening up a new dimension of motoring with that unmistakable MINI exhilaration. Longer and taller, the new MINI Countryman is a genuine crossover vehicle, and bridges the gap between the classic concept of the MINI and a modern crossover. As with all MINI vehicles, the MINI Countryman offers that unique go-kart handling that customers expect, while allowing the brand to appeal to new customers who require extra space and flexibility.
The MINI Countryman is the first vehicle in the brand lineup to offer four doors. It provides true freedom of space and versatility with a wide-opening tail gate, a slightly elevated seating position and optimized driving comfort. Numerous features fully integrate passengers with the vehicle, while optional ALL4 all-wheel drive provides versatile capability for motoring enthusiasts who like to explore all types of terrain. In a nutshell, the MINI Countryman offers all the iconic characteristics of the brand in terms of design, premium quality, handling, efficiency and customization in a new, modern style.
The Countryman’s Look
The MINI Countryman maintains the unique design characteristics, superior style and quality inherent to the MINI brand, while adding new larger body dimensions, greater ground clearance and four doors for those customers who need just a little more MINI. It also features short overhangs, a high window line, a powerful stance and windows extending around the entire car, together with proportions typical of the MINI brand. At the same time, the MINI Countryman subtly re-interprets the classic features of a MINI such as the roofline, the hexagonal radiator grille element, the large headlights and turn signal indicators integrated in the engine lid, the prominent wheel arches and the upright rear light clusters.
As a genuine crossover, the MINI Countryman measures 161.3 inches in length, with a wheelbase of 102.2 inches (up from 145.6 and 97.1 inches, respectively, for the MINI Hardtop), and features an interior that offers a new dimension of space and function. From first sight, the design of the MINI Countryman provides a feeling of independence, performance, robustness and versatility, all in a distinct MINI package. The clear structure of the front end gives the MINI Countryman a mature look of class and style, while managing to retain the charm and individual personality that a MINI promises.
The front end of the vehicle provides a strong presence and is engineered to optimize pedestrian safety. The extra space inside the car is emphasized by extra-large windows, a clever window design behind the C-pillar and the distinctive shape of the roofline. The particularly wide frame around the lower part of the body and the powerfully-flared wheel arches highlight the robust character of the car.
A new diagonal function line where the front side panel transitions to the front door serves to distinguish the MINI Countryman from other MINI vehicles within the range. This particular feature – another re-interpretation of the body welding seam was located on the classic Mini – comprises both the side direction indicator and the air outlet on the MINI Countryman. Conceived and designed as a wide, robust-looking band, the diagonal function line continues the course of the A-pillar towards the front wheel. Like the C-pillar facing towards the rear axle, this special line again emphasizes the impression of a powerful body resting securely on its wheels.
The proportions and horizontal subdivision of the rear end underlines the sporty character of the MINI Countryman, ensuring that its presence is recognizable from all sides. Broadening out in steps from top to bottom, the body structure emphasizes the stable stance of the car, and the muscular shoulder line highlights its masculine character. With its integrated, aerodynamically refined airflow contour, the roof appears to almost hover above the window areas. The chrome band extending round the entire car between the windows and the body forms another horizontal line to further highlight the design of the MINI Countryman.
Like all models in the MINI range, the MINI Countryman comes with upright rear light clusters that form a distinctive contrast to the predominantly horizontal lines at the rear. Highlighted by chrome surrounds, the rear light clusters stand out three-dimensionally from the body of the car. Positioned far to the outside, the rear lights emphasize the width of the MINI Countryman and hint at the vehicle’s generous interior space.
All light functions are integrated in the rear lights, which are embedded like islands in the rear side panels. The inner structure of the light is aligned with typical MINI style, by incorporating full circles and circular sections.
For the first time the MINI logo at the rear has a specific function: Pressing the inner circle on the logo allows the MINI owner to release the tail gate, which is hinged at the top. The rear license plate recess has the same shape as the air intake located in the front bumper, linking the front and rear ends through their clear design cues.
On the MINI Cooper S Countryman the rear air dam works as a diffuser, guiding the flow of air beneath the rear of the car to optimize its aerodynamic qualities. The most powerful model in the range also stands out through its special roof spoiler, a twin-chamber exhaust system and striking openings in the rear wheel arches.
Completing the distinctive exterior appearance, the MINI Countryman is available with a choice of at least 11 body colors: five non-metallic, and six metallic. All models are available with the roof finished either in Black, White, or as an alternative, Body Color.
Living In The Countryman
The MINI Countryman interior boasts innovative design and function elements throughout. The slightly elevated seating position guarantees comfort and optimizes the driver’s all-round view. The Central Display and air vents are highlighted by colored rings. The most unique interior feature is its innovative Center Rail system, which extends from the front to the rear replacing a conventional center console. It opens up new, individual options for integrating all kinds of storage boxes, cupholders, external audio devices, mobile telephones and other comfort features. It also offers flexible clip-in elements, enabling the driver and passengers to subdivide the storage boxes individually as required, keeping travel utensils within easy reach. At the same time, the Center Rail forms an unconventional, visual and functional connection between the front seats and the rear passenger compartment.
The MINI Countryman offers superior comfort on long distance drives with generous legroom, headroom and shoulder freedom for all occupants and two individual rear seats are fitted as standard. The rear seats move fore-and-aft 5.1 inches independently, and the backrests may be tilted for angle or folded flat, increasing capacity in the luggage compartment from 12.2 – 41.0 cu ft, enough for two mountain bikes with their front wheels removed (compared to 5.7 – 24.0 cu ft for MINI Hardtop). Even with the seats in their upright position, the MINI Countryman is able to meet additional space requirements as the rear seat backrests may be moved to a more vertical cargo position increasing luggage space from 12.2–15.4 cubic feet.
And for those who need more options to carry their adventure items, a standard low-profile roof rail system gives owners the ability to add a full line of MINI accessories.
All cabin surfaces come in a new, striking, textured grain that harmonizes perfectly with the powerful look of the car. The instrument panel in the MINI Countryman is characterized by concave shapes and a sporting, functional impression. Extra-large air vents at the side stress the modern class and function of the interior. Like the center air vents, the center speedo and the gearshift lever, the side air vents are highlighted by white surrounds in a contrasting color.
A further color highlight is provided by the side surrounds on the center console appearing to actually support and hold up the dashboard. The center console itself, through its matt-black color and a chrome ring for the climate controls, is stylish and sophisticated in its looks. Apart from the control units for the air-conditioning and CD player, the toggle switches for various car functions are also housed within the center console.
Newly designed door panels underline the specific shape of the body and the extra space the MINI Countryman has to offer. The MINI brand design element of an ellipsoid frame around the door armrests and door handles is positioned in the middle of the vehicle for the first time, encompassing the B-pillars and emphasizing the length of the interior.
The MINI Countryman comes with supportive bucket seats developed specifically for this model. Sports seats are featured as standard on the MINI Cooper S Countryman (optional on the Cooper) and offer two different combinations of cloth/leather seating as well as various choices of all-leather upholstery as an option. A particular highlight is the top-of-the-line Lounge Leather upholstery that is reminiscent of classy leather seats with piping seen in classic British cars.
Ambient lighting, which is part of the standard light package, is a highlight of the MINI Countryman’s interior. Providing an indirect lighting effect, ambient lighting creates color highlights throughout the entire door panel in night mode, giving the interior a truly unique atmosphere. Using a toggle switch, the driver and passengers may change the color of the light generated from a warm orange to a sporting blue. Light rods also provide the desired color on the MINI Center Rail from one end to the other. This makes it easier to find objects attached to the Center Rail.
The optional interior color lines provide more opportunities to customize the car by creating different color effects along the door panels, on the center armrest side panels, the lower section of the B-pillar covers and the inserts on the Center Rail itself. The colors available are Carbon Black, Polar Beige, Pure Red, and Dark Tobacco, as well as powerful Surf Blue exclusive to the MINI Cooper S Countryman. Trim bars for the cockpit as well as a Chrome Package add discreet gloss to the air vents, the central instrument, the rev counter and the surrounds on the gearshift lever, and provide an even more intense touch of color and style.
MINI Center Rail: Unique Storage Concept
Instead of a conventional center console between the seats, the MINI Countryman comes with an innovative rail system. The unique MINI Center Rail enables the driver and passengers to keep their personal belongings and odds and ends exactly where they need them.
The Center Rail extends through the entire passenger compartment all the way to the rear seat backrests. Specially developed and easy-to-use clip-in fixtures allow the driver and passengers to use the MINI Center Rail individually as required, hanging on various bins and storage units that can slide forward and backward to any desired position. As an example, the MINI Center Rail may be fitted with holders for entertainment and telecommunication devices, cupholders, as well as center armrests held safely and comfortably in position. Whenever the users place electronic devices on the Center Rail, such as a mobile phone or an MP3 player, the integrated cable system automatically connects the respective device to the car’s on-board network and ensures full and convenient integration into the MINI Countryman’s entertainment system.
Enhanced networking for even greater driving pleasure: MINI Connected.
At the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, MINI is setting the stage for a completely new and absolutely unique rendition of in-car entertainment. Together with the market launch of the MINI Countryman, MINI is also introducing innovative options to further enhance the motoring pleasure the brand is known for by intelligently networking the driver, his MINI, and the world around them.
Through the introduction of MINI Connected, MINI the world’s first car maker to offer a newly developed USB interface for integration of the Apple iPhone in the car’s audio and infotainment system. Exclusive to MINI, this technology sets the foundation for full integration of Smartphone functions to a standard never seen before. For the first time in an automobile, MINI Connected enables a complete network of entertainment, communication and online functions, plus vehicle information, all through modern Smartphone technology.
The new, additional functions integrated in the MINI are activated and masterminded through the car’s existing control system. The prerequisite for full use of all functions provided by MINI Connected is the installation of the brand-new MINI Visual Boost audio system. Through its high-resolution color display in the Center Speedo and the MINI joystick on the center console, this system ensures ideal conditions for convenient, simple and intuitive use of the system at all times.
The MINI Countryman is entering the US market with a choice of two engines, each coming from the new generation of power units which comply with ULEV II emission standards. The rev-happy 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine in the Cooper offers fuel efficiency and lively performance. The Cooper S adds a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct fuel injection. It also features fully variable valve management, offering the optimum balance of engine power and fuel consumption.
As an alternative to the standard six-speed manual gearbox, both Cooper and Cooper S models are also available with a six-speed automatic transmission complete with manual control.
Both engines featured in the MINI Countryman come with fully variable VALVETRONIC valve management system featured in BMW power units which is unique within the crossover segment. This technology optimizes engine response and serves to significantly reduce both fuel consumption and emissions.
MINI Cooper Countryman
Four-cylinder gasoline engine with fully-variable valve management based on the BMW Group’s VALVETRONIC technology.
Capacity: 1,598 cc
Max output: at least 120 hp at 6,000 rpm
Max torque: at least 118 lb-ft at 4,250 rpm
Acceleration 0–100 km/h in 10.5 seconds, top speed 190 km/h (118 mph)
Average fuel consumption: TBD
MINI Cooper S Countryman
Four-cylinder gasoline engine with twin-scroll turbocharger, direct fuel injection and fully-variable valve management based on the BMW Group’s VALVETRONIC technology.
Capacity: 1,598 cc
Max output: at least 180 hp at 5,500 rpm
Max torque: at least 177 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm (at least 192 lb-ft with Overboost)
Acceleration 0–100 km/h: in 7.6 seconds
Top speed: 205 km/h (128 mph)
Average fuel consumption: TBD
ALL4 All-Wheel Drive
The MINI Cooper S Countryman is the first MINI to offer a permanent all-wheel-drive system known as MINI ALL4. Utilizing an electro-hydraulic differential, positioned directly alongside the transmission’s final drive, the system varies power distribution from front to rear in an infinitely-variable process. Under normal driving conditions, up to 50 percent of the engine’s power goes to the rear wheels; and under extreme conditions up to 100 percent can be shifted to any wheel, offering a new, high-traction rendition of the agile handling so typical of MINI. This superior traction and drivetrain technology is based on the top-end suspension of the MINI, including features such as a front axle with MacPherson spring struts and forged lower control arms, the multi-link rear axle and Servotronic EPS (Electric Power Steering.)
On the Cooper S Countryman with ALL4, a specific driveline setup is used. Together with the elaborate mounting for the final drive and individual drive shafts at the rear, a vibration damper is fitted within the longitudinal propshaft. This gives the ALL4 version of the MINI Countryman the same high standard of acoustic and dynamic comfort as the front-wheel drive models.
Designed for optimum safety in the event of a collision, the body MINI Countryman structure has precisely defined load paths and deformation zones, ensuring passive safety of the highest caliber. A total of six airbags are standard, with front and side airbags as well as side curtain airbags for both front and rear occupants. Three-point inertia-reel seat belts are fitted for all occupants, with belt latch tensioners and belt force limiters at the front, and LATCH child seat fastenings at the rear – all as standard. Another standard feature is the Tire Pressure Monitor system.
In terms of crash behavior, both the front-wheel and all-wheel drive versions of the MINI Countryman perform the same. To ensure this equality, the ALL4 car comes with an innovative propshaft made up of two elements giving way within one another in the event of a collision to absorb impact energy. The body structure of the MINI Countryman is also designed to offer maximum occupant safety in the event of a collision. High-load-resistant bearer structures, precisely defined deformation zones and an extremely stable passenger cell serve to keep impact forces away from the passengers.
The MINI Countryman also comes as standard with DSC (Dynamic Stability Control), while DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) is an option that features an electronic limited-slip function for the front differential. All Countryman models feature 205/50 R17 runflat tires for supreme safety and performance in all situations. Available optionally are 18’’ alloy wheels with runflat tires, and 19” wheels can be ordered as a dealer-installed accessory.
True You-ification and Technology, Countryman Style
The wide range of both exterior and interior customization options expected of MINI are supplemented by new, model-specific features exclusive to the MINI Countryman. New combinations in the range of interior colors, trim strips and upholstery enable even the most discerning customer to create his – or her – very special car with truly unique character.
The wide range of standard features boasted by the MINI Countryman includes highlights such a multi-function steering wheel with cruise control, the MINI Center Rail, and a premium six-speaker audio system complete with a CD player and auxiliary input.
The equally wide range of options and special equipment tailored to each model features items such as high-end audio and navigation systems, as well as mobile telephone interfaces – including the option to completely integrate an Apple iPhone® and other smartphones in the car. Additional options include the dual-pane Panoramic sunroof, Adaptive Headlights in combination with the optional Xenon headlight units, 17” to 18” lightweight-alloy wheels, and sports suspension (which lowers the car by 10 millimeters or almost 0.4 inches), as well as the wide range of John Cooper Works Performance Components.
The Countryman Cometh
For the US, the Countryman’s three versions – Cooper Countryman, Cooper S Countryman and Cooper S Countryman with ALL4 – will be offered for sale in early 2011. Pricing will be announced at a later date.
As the fourth model within the MINI range, and the first premium car of its kind, the MINI Countryman is a pioneer in many respects. It will allow a new group of customers to experience the exhilaration and g0-kart handling that only a MINI delivers. At the same time, it offers individual design for buyers who have greater demands in terms of space available, diversity and motoring comfort, thus opening up new opportunities for the MINI brand in the US marketplace.
Through this extension of the model range, the MINI brand once again proves its ability to grow with the demands of its fans and followers, while remaining true to its character.
This article has been viewed 2509 times.
Could they add any more circles to the interior?
Really, as much as I love Mini's, management needs to give the interior design team something other than compasses to work with
2000 Mercedes Benz E320 (daily driver)
2007 Infiniti M35x (wife's)
2006 330 cic ZHP 6sp (current)
2005 Z4 3.0 sp nav x-leather (retired)
2000 323i PP (best car, ever - retired)
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