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Mini Countryman JCW heading to Geneva

Mini Countryman JCW

It seems that the hot John Cooper Works (JCW) version of the Mini Countryman will be making an appearance next year during the Geneva Motor Show. The car you see in these photos is a prototype that is undergoing some final evaluation tests in winter conditions in Austria.

Mini Countryman JCW

The bad news is that Mini hasn’t said anything exact regarding the technical specifications of the car, but according to Autocar insiders, it is expected to feature a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that develops 215 hp, which is considerably more than the 177 hp available for the Cooper S. This means that the 0-62 mph should be done it approximately seven seconds, compared to the 7.6 seconds necessary for the Cooper S.

Mini Countryman JCW

The John Cooper Works version of the Countryman will adopt a modified sports suspension borrowed from the aforementioned Cooper S. The car will be 10 mm lower than the Cooper S with a ride height of 139 mm. The front anti-roll bar diameter will go up by 23 mm while the rear one is also up by 17 mm. We should expect to see an upgrade in the rear brakes department as the car will have discs that measure 296 mm in diameter, bigger than the 280 mm used for the Cooper S.

Mini Countryman JCW

The prototype we see in these photos is wearing a little bit of disguise but we can easily see that the Mini Countryman JCW will adopt similar muscular styling upgrades as we seen on recent JCW versions of other Mini models. Some of these updates include a revised front bumper, grille, along with flared wheel arches as well as a new design for the rear bumper plus a pseudo diffuser which has built-in dual exhaust pipes.

Mini Countryman JCW

The car is expected to enter the production phase in May in Graz, Austria where they make the regular Minis.

Source: Mini via Autocar

Romeo Ferraris Presents MINI Countryman 150th Anniversario

MINI Countryman 150th Anniversario by Romeo Ferraris

The tuners from Romeo Ferraris have come up with an upgrade program for the MINI Countryman S in order to celebrate 150th since Italy’s unification. The car has a matte blue exterior finish that has some black accents, along with chromed racing wheels and OZ racing wheels that measure 19 inches, wrapped around in Yokohama Advan Sport rubber. As far as the cabin is concerned, it sports premium leather seats with tri-color embroidery and contrast stitching.

MINI Countryman 150th Anniversario by Romeo Ferraris

Raising the hood of the Countryman reveals the same 1.6-liter turbocharged engine but Romeo Ferraris fitted it with a brand new high-flow air filter, intercooler, along with a sport exhaust system and an updated ECU. Thanks to these modifications, the tuners managed to squeeze 42 hp (43 PS / 32 kW) and 65 lb.-ft (88 Nm) of torque from that power unit.

MINI Countryman 150th Anniversario by Romeo Ferraris

Source: Romeo Ferraris via WCF

IIHS “Top Safety Pick”: 2011 Mini Countryman

2011 Mini Countryman

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has chosen the 2011 Mini Countryman as the “Top Safety Pick”, after the model received a “good” rating in front, side, rear and rollover tests. Another strong point for the Mini was the inclusion of the electronic stability program as a standard feature on all models, a deciding factor for choosing this Mini model.

The car comes with driver and passenger airbags, side curtain airbags as well as seat-mounted torso airbags. There is another airbag located in the lower dashboard on the passenger side that will help prevent knee injuries in case of a head-on impact.

IIHS determined that in the event of a side impact, the risk of injury to the driver was low, but the Countryman’s passenger risked a fractured femur. Besides this risk, the possibility of severe injuries to the rest of the body was very low.

Source: IIHS

Video: Mini Countryman WRC proves its worth on gravel

Last week, the Mini Countryman WRC rally-spec prototype was officially revealed to the public, albeit fitted with the swirly camouflage, on the private test track of rally team Prodrive.

Now, a new video depicting the Countryman WRC in action has been revealed.

The footage showcases the Mini crossover taking on the tough gravel roads of Portugal in a very speedy manner. Don’t forget, though, that this is just a prototype, and the final version will be revealed in spring of 2011. Until then, check out the video after the jump.

Mini Countryman WRC rally prototype showcased

A few months ago, the Mini Countryman crossover was officially confirmed by the both the British car brand and by British rally team Prodrive that it will be entering the 2011 World Rally Championship.

Now, the two companies decided to showcase the first few pics of a camouflaged Mini Countryman WRC tearing it up on the private Prodrive test track.

According to Mini, the Countryman is still in the primary stages of testing, and the body kit that you can figure out behind the funky camouflage is just a mock-up, until Prodrive tweaks everything. Also, the Countryman WRC is preparing for a trip to Portugal, where it will experience the tough gravel courses the country has to offer.

While the Countryman is still being tested, it is rumored that for the 2011 WRC season, British driver Kris Meeke will be at the helm of the Countryman WRC. He is currently the reigning champ in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, running a Peugeot 207.


Mini Countryman gets clever billboard in Italy

If you can count on one car brand to have great ads, it’s Mini.

As further testament to its quirky ad strategy, the Mini Countryman stars in a very interesting billboard installed in Milan, Italy.

As you can see above, what might look like an ad for a surfing brand quickly shows off the actual billboard of the Mini Countryman, highlighting the crossover’s slogan of offering a getaway from the rest of the world.

What do you think? Share your thoughts about the ad in the comment section below.


Mini officially announces WRC entry with Countryman model

Mini fans, it’s official! The British brand has revealed that it will be entering the 2011 World Rally Championship competition with UK-based Prodrive team.

The model they will be racing will be a customized Countryman crossover, probably with an upgraded 1.6-liter turbocharged engine.

After plenty of months of speculation, it seems that the two British entities will work together, marking the return of Mini into rallying and the return of Prodrive into WRC. For those who don’t remember, the team left the competition at the end of 2008 after Subaru stopped its rallying efforts.

The Mini Countryman WRC model will race just in select stages of the 2011 season, and will undergo a series of tests by Prodrive. It is, however, scheduled to race in the full 2012 season of the WRC competition. As such, get ready to once again see a Mini model braving tarmac, gravel or snow.


Mini Canyon to be three-door Countryman, will rival Range Rover Evoque

Hot off the heels of a new report stating that BMW is planning a more compact coupe crossover, the X4, which will be inspired by the X6 and target the future Range Rover Evoque, a new report has now appeared, concerning BMW’s Mini brand.

It seems that because the five-door Countryman will soon hit markets around the world, there’s a big possibility that a three-door version will also appear, in the following years.

According to AutoExpress, the Range Rover Evoque has definitely kickstarted this new crossover niche, and BMW is keen to exploit it through as many models as it can. As such, besides the possible X4, the Mini Canyon is also on the drawing board.

No other details were revealed by the British magazine, so we should take this report with a grain of salt. Don’t forget that Mini is also rumored to be preparing a larger, 7-seat Countryman, as well as a revived Mini Moke off-roader. Considering all these new models, Mini won’t be so tiny anymore.


Mini and Prodrive to announce WRC entry this week, report says

British carmaker Mini and British rally team Prodrive are expected to announce their entry into the World Rally Championship this week, according to a new report coming from Autosport.

After many batches of rumors and speculations from various ‘inside sources’, it seems that the two entities will finally announce their partnership this week.

As most of you know by now, Prodrive will be preparing a rally-spec version of the Mini Countryman crossover, outfitted with a more hardcore version of BMW’s 1.6-liter turbocharged engine. Testing is set to begin in the following weeks, but the formal entry into the WRC circuit is still quite far.

According to the same report, the official reveal of the Mini Countryman WRC model will be made next year, in Rome, ahead of May’s Rally of Sardinia (Rally d’Italia-Sardegna). This means that the Mini model won’t attend the first four races of the 2011 WRC season.

Up until now, both parties have remained tight lipped so an official announcement would definitely help clear things up.

Source: Autosport

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Mini Countryman gets even more details and specs

The Mini Countryman has been officially revealed at the beginning of the year, after much teasing and foreshadowing, with the Mini Crossover and Beachcomber concepts.

Now, the British brand has revealed some more details about its new and rather large model.

It will be available in three variants, One, Cooper and Cooper S. They will be available with either a six-speed manual or an automatic gearbox, and if you want the special ALL4 all-wheel drive system, then you’re going to have to spring for the higher-priced Cooper S or D versions.

The gasoline-powered Countryman will develop 98 HP in the One version, 122 HP in the standard Cooper spec, or 184 HP, in the turbocharged Cooper S version. The car will use the already popular 1.6-liter engine, developed by BMW in partnership with PSA Peugeot Citroen. The Countryman Cooper S is capable of doing 0 to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds, in front-wheel drive, manual mode. Add a few more tenths for the ALL4 or automatic versions.

Europeans will also receive diesel versions of the Countryman, unlike North Americans. The 1.6-liter turbodiesel is capable of either 90 HP, in the One D, or 112 HP, in the Cooper D. The latter is capable of going from 0 to 62 in 10.5 seconds.

Even though the Countryman is marketed as a more aggressive and go-anywhere model, its ground clearance will be around 6 inches, so don’t go tackling any off-road trails in it.


Audi planning A1 Allroad model to rival Mini Countryman?

Audi planning A1 Allroad model to rival Mini Countryman?

Mini used to be all about making compact city cars, but with the Countryman compact crossover, things have gotten bigger for the brand.

Seeing as how its A1 city model will directly rival the usual Mini cars, Audi is now rumored to be preparing a direct contender for the Countryman. Even though a Q3 might make more sense, it seems that Audi will prepare an A1 Allroad model.

According to AutoZeitung, it seems that an Allroad version, currently available for the A4 and A6, will be making its way onto the A1 range around 2013, joining the current three-door and the future five-door editions.

Not much else is known about this future model, but it seems that the Quattro all-wheel drive system will be making an appearance. This would really explain the fact that Audi has refrained from offering the technology on the regular A1 editions.

Frankly, we’re not so sure about this rumor, but crazier things have been seen before. What say you? Share your thoughts about this possible A1 Allroad in the comment section below.


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Mini Countryman aerodynamic kit leaked onto the web

Mini is all about being able to customize your favorite model from the range, and, as such, a plethora of options are made available, ranging from purely cosmetic vinyls (hello Union Jack!) to slightly more functional kits, like the aerodynamic package.

So far, the latest model in the Mini lineup, the not-so-Mini Countryman has just seen the Getaway package revealed. Now, thanks to the guys at Motoring File, we now get to check out the upcoming Aerodynamic kit for the compact crossover.

As you can see above, the changes aren’t that noticeable, as are those on the Aero kits for the regular Mini models. The front fascia sees the addition of a new air dam, in a gray or matte black finish, continued on the sides of the car through enlarged wheel arches and side skirts. The mirrors have also seen minor changes, while the rear side of the Countryman has a new apron.

Still, these leaked shots aren’t official, so perhaps the British brand might add a few other accessories to this aerodynamic kit for the Mini Countryman.


Mini partners with three fashion designers on unique models set to benefit AIDS research

The Life Ball is one of the biggest fund raising events that benefit AIDS/HIV research in the world. British carmaker Mini has been a long time partner of the charity event, offering unique, one-off models created in partnership with various fashion houses.

Now, for this year’s edition, which will take place in Vienna, on July 17, the British brand is at it again. This time, three designers were chosen to customize specific Mini models, including the Countryman, the Cooper hatch and the Cooper Cabriolet.

Calvin Klein’s creative director, Francisco Costa, took an all-black treatment to the new Countryman crossover. Diane von Furstenberg revealed a red-themed Cooper hatchback model, while Kenneth Cole presented an industrial-themed Cooper Cabrio.

All of the proceeds will go towards the the AIDS/HIV research, a cause to which Mini has contributed over half a million Euros in the ten years it has collaborated with the Life Ball.


Video: Mini Contryman stars in Timbaland & Michelle Branch ‘Getaway’ music video

While Audi decided to go the video series route in order to promote its A1, Mini opted for a much better approach in order to market the new Countryman crossover.

The new Mini model is being showcased in what promises to be the next big thing one popular music video, entitled ‘Getaway‘, a collaboration between music producer Timbaland and new sensation Michelle Branch.

As you could have guessed, the Getaway theme blends in nicely with the overall motive for the Countryman, to offer a getaway from the crowded city and out into nature.

The song is pretty catchy, so hit the jump and check out this music video.

Mini planning bigger, seven-seat Countryman version?

Mini, as its name implied, stood for compact vehicles made for zipping around the city. After BMW took over the British brand, the models got a bit larger, but fans didn’t complain, as they were still great for city travel.

Now, Mini is preparing to launch its biggest model ever, in the form of the Countryman crossover. From increased size to the ALL4 all-wheel drive or the larger ground clearance, this crossover doesn’t even seem like it would belong in the Mini range.

Now, a new report says that the British brand is pondering the idea of an even larger version of the Countryman, with a longer wheelbase and a third row of seats, in order to accommodate seven people.

While the rumor does have some weight, we’re highly reserved about it. Mini already has planned the Coupe and Roadster models to appear at the end of the year, alongside the Countryman. Couple that with the possibility of a revived Mini Moke, based on the Beachcomber concept, and the lineup is already getting pretty big.

Would a larger, seven-seat Countryman make any sense? Share your thoughts below.


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