'That’s nothing like a Mini!’ was the comment most uttered as the evo team circled the Countryman when it first arrived in the office car park. Indeed, it does stretch the Mini ethos to breaking point, but BMW is convinced this is what buyers want – a Mini with five doors and space for regular rear-seat passengers.
The diesel Countryman introduces a new, BMW-designed 1.6-litre turbo unit, which, in Cooper spec, produces 112bhp and 199lbft of torque. ‘All4’ 4wd is an option, but it offers no obvious on-road advantage over the cheaper front-wheel-drive car and hampers both performance (increasing the 0-62mph time from 10.9 to 11.6sec) and economy. Otherwise, the handling is an odd mix of the usual super-sharp Mini turn-in but with much more body-roll.
Subscribe to evo magazine
The biggest problem with this car, though, is the price. In basic trim it lists at £19,875, but add things like the Chili Pack (17in wheels, computer, steering-wheel controls, etc), leather, nav and xenons, and you soon end up with a price exceeding £25K, which is way too much for what’s on offer.
|Engine||In-line 4-cyl, 1598cc, turbodiesel|
|Max power||112bhp @ 4000rpm|
|Max torque||199lb ft @ 1750-2250rpm|
|Top speed||112mph (claimed)|