This is actually the first MINI that can be considered a real outdoor vehicle, mostly thanks to its interior space and to the large trunk it comes with. And although we had doubts that the Countryman would prove a decent ride outside the city, we were impressed.
Not only because the Countryman manages to rise to the expectations and behave like a real Sports Activity Model. Cruising on the highway is not at all a problem although there are a number of issues to be discussed here.
The engine sounds great and the 184 horsepower output hidden underneath the hood are really useful, mostly outside the city where drivers tend to become a bit more aggressive. As in the way they drive, that is. Basically, you have enough power to overtake any other car on the road as long as they travel with the maximum allowed legal speed and the whole move shouldn’t take more than a few seconds as the torque is available starting from 1600 rpm.
Probably the best thing about the Country on country roads is that it makes the ride so exciting that you won’t even feel when you arrive at the your destination. The comfort behind the wheel is impressive and we’re pretty much sure that these were the best seats ever used by BMW. OK, maybe close to the ones used on the BMW 7 Series, but they are still good enough to relax your back and your tooshie just like Thai masseur (insert naughty face here).
Fuel consumption isn’t quite great, but if you’re ready to pay the 35,000 Euros price tag to buy such a car, efficiency should actually be one of your last concerns. In fact, neither the Countryman nor its predecessors were exclusively about fuel consumption, but about the feeling you get when getting behind the wheel. The Countryman remains impressive, although its dimensions aren’t quite appropriate for on-road adventures. You’ll still feel like in a kart, with great stability and excellent control and the only way to test its abilities is to go on a police free curvy road and free the little Michael Schumacher in you.
Official figures are hinting that the car’s fuel consumption outside the city shouldn’t exceed 43.6 mpg (5.4 l/100km), but our results are so different that we initially believed we were testing a different car. At a speed of around 140 km/h (86.9 mph) on the highway (OK, we know we broke the speed limit but it was such a sunny day and we couldn’t really resist the temptation to press the throttle harder), the ECU indicated around 10 l/100km (23.5 mpg), with figures obviously a bit lower if driven with the legal speed.
Driven on country roads on the other hand, where speed varies between 70 km/h (43.5 mph) and 110 km/h (68.3 mph), fuel consumption drops to between 7.0 – 8.0 l/100km (33.6 – 29.4 mpg).
A thing worth mentioning is the behaviour of the all-wheel drive system in non-urban environments. Not sure why this is happening (maybe for fuel efficiency reasons), but the all-wheel traction control is automatically turned off when speed exceeds 140 km/h (87 mph). And, to be honest, we really noticed it, as the car tends to become unstable at around 160 km/h (99 mph), so advanced driving skills are a must have (we’re modest enough to avoid mentioning that we managed to control the beast even at higher speeds, so we won’t tell you that...).
Apart from all of these, the car has all the things you’ll ever need to make a trip relaxing, including cruise control, ESP, a decent audio system, automatic air conditioning, sport seats and configurable ambient lighting. The trunk has a capacity of 350 liters in standard setup so, if you intend to leave on a journey with your sweetheart (you shouldn’t do that with a MINI Countryman if you’re an agile driver and your girlfriend’s voice is too squeaky), you shouldn’t have too many problems carrying her entire wardrobe.Continue reading
Hold on, Mary would like to say something...
Well, I must be honest, I never thought that MINIs could be so beautiful. I can’t describe how much I like the Countryman, it’s a paradise on wheels, it looks gorgeous and you can’t ask for more.
Read the full opinion and flame the editor →