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by Tim Beissmann

The MINI Countryman will go on sale in Australia from next month, with the versatile new range to offer petrol, diesel and all-wheel drive variants.

The MINI Cooper Countryman range will launch in Australia in late-February with a 1.6-litre petrol engine, which will be followed in March by the diesel variant when production of that model commences.

With prices ranging from $37,700 to $56,050, those who associate the MINI name with the micro cars of the 1960s and 1970s will be in for somewhat of a shock.

But those who understand the new direction of MINI – lifestyle vehicles with a sense of fun and enjoyable driving, designed to accommodate all sorts of drivers and families – will appreciate the brand’s latest offering.

The Countryman is the first MINI with four doors. It seats four (or five if required) and has an optional all-wheel drive mode (ALL4) for those keen to take it off the beaten track.

The entry-level MINI Cooper Countryman produces 90kW of power and 160Nm of torque (like the MINI Cooper hatch). Combined cycle fuel consumption is a tidy 6.0 litres/100km while CO2 emissions average 140g/km. Acceleration from 0-100km/h takes 10.5 seconds.

The MINI Cooper S Countryman is much quicker, racing from standstill to 100km/h in 7.6 seconds. With a twin-scroll turbocharger attached to the 1.6-litre engine, power and torque increase 45kW and 80Nm to 135kW/240Nm respectively. Fuel consumption and emissions are only affected marginally, up to 6.6 litres/100km and 154g/km CO2.

The MINI Cooper D Countryman produces 82kW and 270Nm of torque. Combined cycle fuel consumption is an impressive 4.4 litres/100km and CO2 emissions are just 115g/km. Acceleration from 0-100km/h takes 10.9 seconds.

Both the Cooper S Countryman and Cooper D Countryman models are available in ALL4 all-wheel drive mode (a $2900 option).

Standard on all models is dynamic stability control, six airbags and a tyre defect indicator. MINI Countryman customers can choose between two single rear seats or a three-seat rear bench for no extra cost. Luggage capacity ranges from 350 litres to 1170 litres with the rear seats down.

The $5400 Chilli pack includes a Harman Kardon audio system, automatic air-conditioning, Xenon headlights with automatic headlight washers, sports seats and partial leather upholstery, dark silver interior surfaces and an auto-dipping interior mirror.

Optional extras include a 6.5-inch colour screen with satellite navigation, Bluetooth and USB connectivity.

Australian pricing for the all-new 2011 MINI Cooper Countryman:

  • Cooper Countryman – $37,700
  • Cooper Countryman Chilli – $43,100
  • Cooper S Countryman – $47,500
  • Cooper S Countryman Chilli – $53,150
  • Cooper S ALL4 Countryman – $50,400
  • Cooper S ALL4 Countryman Chilli – $56,050
  • Cooper D Countryman – $40,950
  • Cooper D Countryman Chilli – $46,350
  • Cooper D ALL4 Countryman – $43,850
  • Cooper D ALL4 Countryman Chilli – $49,250

MINI Cooper Countryman Review