Base 4dr Front-wheel Drive Sports Activity Vehicle
2012 MINI Cooper Countryman

MSRP

$21,750
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N/A
EngineEngine 1.6LI-4
MPGMPG 27 City / 35 Hwy
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2012 Cooper Countryman Overview

Need A Bit More Pounce In Your CUV? Mini Has A JCW For That As part of the ongoing master plan at Mini to attract distinction-seeking buyers who still have some disposable income left, we present the Mini Countryman Cooper S All4 John Cooper Works: the Mini CUV with the mighty long name. This latest Mini JCW will get its world premiere at this March's Geneva Motor Show, but we've just enjoyed a pre-holiday drive in the remote mountain lair of Kühtai, 6,600 feet up in the Austrian Alps. As you'd expect, there was snow and rocks and animal skin sweat lodges and hot wine, but the Countryman All4 JCW got us out of there and back to our families in the flatlands. Our drive consisted of a two-lane road loop with plenty of overtaking chances and a decently long off-road parcours etched into a local abandoned ski hill. Thus far, Mini's strongest JCW model has been gifted with a 208-horsepower version of the BMW/PSA turbocharged 1.6-liter direct injection in-line four-cylinder, dubbed "N18" as it's assembled at Mini's Hams Hall UK factory. Head of chassis development for BMW Group, Heinz Kruche, tells Autoblog that the Countryman will get "around 15 more horses and the same for torque" to help deal with the Countryman's additional weight. Thus, this 3,200-something pound "Mini" should pack somewhere around 223 horses at 6,000 rpm and 207 pound-feet of torque between 1,850 and 5,600 rpm when it arrives Stateside this June. Good. But is it good enough? As we attacked the slippery alpine climbs and descents, we couldn't help notice that this Countryman feels lighter than its heft would suggest. The added power and torque certainly helped, yes, but the Sport chassis stance that lowers the JCW Countryman down four-tenths of an inch versus the standard Cooper S All4 deserves some credit for the additional driving security. We're guessing the winter wear 17-inch Bridgestone Blizzak tires mounted on our prototype's heavily drilled-out (and awesomely purposeful) steel wheels helped too. Another much appreciated trick of the elfin folk at Mini's happy All4 workshops in Graz, Austria, are the JCW's larger diameter front and rear stabilizer bars. One millimeter more might not seem like much, but with this size vehicle, it can have a hugely pleasing effect, and that's exactly the case here. The 23-millimeter broad front stabilizer bar and 17-mm bar in back worked their wonders on the lowered sportier chassis, filling us with confidence as the snow fell thick and other motorists became legitimately tentative. That Mini uses a heavily modified version of this exact vehicle for its rather successful Mini World Rally squad suddenly makes good sense. At the heart of this driver security and bad weather boldness is what is essentially a bolt-on electro-magnetic rear differential supplied by GKN. The addition renders the Countryman a very capable all-wheel driver that nearly feels like a full-bore four-wheel-drive setup. Whereas BMW's xDrive technology is electro-mechanical, comes from a separate supplier and is meant for much heavier …
Full Review

2012 Cooper Countryman Overview

Need A Bit More Pounce In Your CUV? Mini Has A JCW For That As part of the ongoing master plan at Mini to attract distinction-seeking buyers who still have some disposable income left, we present the Mini Countryman Cooper S All4 John Cooper Works: the Mini CUV with the mighty long name. This latest Mini JCW will get its world premiere at this March's Geneva Motor Show, but we've just enjoyed a pre-holiday drive in the remote mountain lair of Kühtai, 6,600 feet up in the Austrian Alps. As you'd expect, there was snow and rocks and animal skin sweat lodges and hot wine, but the Countryman All4 JCW got us out of there and back to our families in the flatlands. Our drive consisted of a two-lane road loop with plenty of overtaking chances and a decently long off-road parcours etched into a local abandoned ski hill. Thus far, Mini's strongest JCW model has been gifted with a 208-horsepower version of the BMW/PSA turbocharged 1.6-liter direct injection in-line four-cylinder, dubbed "N18" as it's assembled at Mini's Hams Hall UK factory. Head of chassis development for BMW Group, Heinz Kruche, tells Autoblog that the Countryman will get "around 15 more horses and the same for torque" to help deal with the Countryman's additional weight. Thus, this 3,200-something pound "Mini" should pack somewhere around 223 horses at 6,000 rpm and 207 pound-feet of torque between 1,850 and 5,600 rpm when it arrives Stateside this June. Good. But is it good enough? As we attacked the slippery alpine climbs and descents, we couldn't help notice that this Countryman feels lighter than its heft would suggest. The added power and torque certainly helped, yes, but the Sport chassis stance that lowers the JCW Countryman down four-tenths of an inch versus the standard Cooper S All4 deserves some credit for the additional driving security. We're guessing the winter wear 17-inch Bridgestone Blizzak tires mounted on our prototype's heavily drilled-out (and awesomely purposeful) steel wheels helped too. Another much appreciated trick of the elfin folk at Mini's happy All4 workshops in Graz, Austria, are the JCW's larger diameter front and rear stabilizer bars. One millimeter more might not seem like much, but with this size vehicle, it can have a hugely pleasing effect, and that's exactly the case here. The 23-millimeter broad front stabilizer bar and 17-mm bar in back worked their wonders on the lowered sportier chassis, filling us with confidence as the snow fell thick and other motorists became legitimately tentative. That Mini uses a heavily modified version of this exact vehicle for its rather successful Mini World Rally squad suddenly makes good sense. At the heart of this driver security and bad weather boldness is what is essentially a bolt-on electro-magnetic rear differential supplied by GKN. The addition renders the Countryman a very capable all-wheel driver that nearly feels like a full-bore four-wheel-drive setup. Whereas BMW's xDrive technology is electro-mechanical, comes from a separate supplier and is meant for much heavier …Hide Full Review