Test drive: MINI Cooper S Countryman, as spicy as it is versatile
The story is known. At the beginning of this century, several European and American brands saw an opportunity to “revive” old, legendary and popular models, but adapted to the 21st century. Thus, the Volkswagen New Beetle, the Fiat 500, the Chrysler PT Cruiser (which took the retro idea without replicating a previous model) and, Of course, perhaps the most successful of all: the MINI, which was launched in 2001, designed by Frank Stephenson, already under the orbit of BMW, and successfully installed among premium hatchbacks.
But the overwhelming wave and demand for SUVs came. And the MINI coupled with it. How? With the Countryman, which in 2011 proposed a MINI with all the features and driving sensations of the hatch (karting style), but with the practicality of a longer body, with four doors, more ground clearance, a large tailgate, a larger trunk and even versions with all-wheel drive (4×4). The MINI was transformed into an SUV (which BMW calls Sport Activity Vehicle), intended not only for fun but also for family transport, and which even served as the basis for the MINIs that still race today in the demanding Dakar rally-raid.
At the end of 2021, the latest generation of the MINI Countryman arrived in our country, with aesthetic renewal (subtle) and more equipment, which is made up of three versions: Cooper Countryman (3 cylinders and 136 hp), Cooper S Countryman (which we tested) and the top of the range John Cooper Works (JCW) Countryman. The latter, the only one with All4 all-wheel drive and a 2.0 L engine with 306 hp, while the other two have front-wheel drive.
Dimensions and capacities
The MINI Cooper S Countryman, the intermediate version, is equipped with the same JCW engine, a 4-cylinder in-line gasoline engine with a turbocharger, but in this case delivers a power of 192 CV between 5000 and 6500 rpm and a torque of 280 Nm (28.6 kgm) from very low 1350 revolutions to 4600. These characteristics, plus the very fast and very efficient 7-speed dual-clutch Steptronic automatic gearbox (with large paddles on the steering wheel to also operate it manually-sequentially), make this MINI respond quickly to the accelerator in Sport (it has in addition to normal, a third Green mode). A) Yes, it goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.8 s; 0 to 400m in 15.7s; from 0 to 1000 m in 28.6 s and recover from 80 to 120 km/h in 5.3 seconds. All with well-adjusted consumption: 10 L/100 km in the city and 8.4 L/100 km on the road at 120 km/h.
Precisely on the road and the motorway is where this MINI Countryman feels most comfortable, which has a firm suspension settings (like all MINI) that make it turn like a train, always well supported and faithful to the trajectories, but at the same time not so comfortable at low speed in uneven urban areas, where the low profile of the 225/50 R18 runflat tires must also be taken into account (beware, better not have problems because he has no help). The same happens with the electric direction, with an assistance more suitable for the speed than for the maneuvers in slow motion; In addition, it has an involuntary lane change assistant, which acts immediately by vibrating the steering wheel. With ventilated discs at the front and solid discs at the rear (in addition to the ABS/ESP electronics), it brakes very well; from 100 km/h to 0 requires about 41 meters.
The exterior design is as attractive as ever; designers very well solved the transformation from hatchback to crossover without losing the essence of the model and this 2021 includes wheel arch fenders and all-black roof elements, which combine very well with the stripes painted on the hood. The same is carried over to the interior, where the modern 8.8″ rectangular touch screen in this case is framed, along with other commands, inside a large circular panel, which keeps the legend of the original speedometer in the middle of the torpedo of yesteryear. . The instruments are 100% digital, easy to read and abundant in information, and the driving position, with a rather sporty tone rather than an upright SUV style, is easily adjusted by the multiple adjustments of the seat with a sliding front cushion and manual adjustments. In short, a generous driving environment to do many kilometers without getting tired.
Just as it retains the verve of the MINI in performance, this Countryman also fulfills the second mandate with which it was conceived in 2011: offers great interior roominess, with 40/20/40 folding rear seats, with great space for legs and heads, and a good 450-liter square-format trunk, which is used very well to load various bags and other objects. This, plus its ride on the road, make it a very suitable crossover for traveling with family or friends.
To accentuate this practical tendency, the model has great safety equipment, which includes cruise control and collision warning with braking function, parallel parking assistant, 6 airbags, Isofix anchorages and more. also comfort: full multimedia with native GPS, connection to Android Auto and CarPlay, Harman Kardon audio, dual-zone automatic climate control, large panoramic roof with opening at the front, electric gate and much more. Price: $67,900.