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Mini Countryman here next month

Matter of geography: The Countryman is built in Austria, not Britain.

Range and pricing announced for Mini’s Countryman crossover

14 Jan 2011

BMW’s Mini Countryman crossover will be available in Australia by late February, priced from $37,700 plus on-road costs for the front-drive-only Cooper, the company has announced.

Entry to the all-wheel drive arena will come in at $43,850 for the diesel-powered Cooper D ALL4, but deliveries of the oil-burning variants will not reach Australian shores until May or June. Until then, the $50,400 Cooper S ALL4 will be the cheapest all-paw Mini.

All specification and drivetrain combinations will be available with the optional Chilli pack, which includes an auto-dipping interior mirror, automatic air conditioning, Harman Kardon audio system, part-leather upholstery and sports seats, dark silver or anthracite interior surfaces and Xenon headlights with automatic headlight washers.

The options list will also feature the same Visual Boost multimedia infotainment package as is available on the rest of the Mini range, comprising a 6.5-inch central colour display with Bluetooth and a USB interface, allowing owners of compatible devices to stream music and view videos on the in-dash screen.

39 center imageAdditionally, the Countryman can also be specified with satellite navigation featuring a circular 3D display in place of the oversized central speedometer.

Standard safety kit on all Countryman models includes standard ESC, six airbags, three-point seat belts throughout and a tyre defect indicator.

The engine line-up echoes that of the rest of the Mini range, albeit with slightly blunted performance and higher fuel consumption and CO2 emission levels thanks to the increased size and weight. Understandably, the effect is more pronounced for models with the all-wheel drive option box ticked.

For example, the front-drive Cooper D emits 115g/100km of CO2, while the all-wheel drive version emits 129g/km.

As GoAuto has reported, at 4097mm long, the long-wheelbase, high-rise Countryman is the largest Mini-branded vehicle in history and the first to have four side doors.

As if to justify its membership of the Mini brand, the Countryman is still small for a compact SUV, being about 200mm shorter than a Mitsubishi ASX and 250mm shorter than the upcoming Range Rover Evoque.

The only other SUVs that come close to its dimensions – if you leave out the tiny Suzuki Jimny – are the Nissan Juke, which is not available in Australia, and Suzuki’s SX4 hatch, which occupies a far lower price bracket.

With the Countryman, Mini is aiming to attract new buyers to the marque that may have been previously put off by the relative impracticality of its existing range while also adding a model for existing Mini owners to upsize to.

Mini Australia national manager David Woollcott said: “The Countryman is versatile enough to accommodate any lifestyle while retaining the sense of fun that makes all MINIs so good to drive and enjoyable to own.”

Mini spokesman Piers Scott said the company expected healthy sales of the Countryman after strong local interest and several pre-orders, adding that globally, it had been suggested the Countryman could account for up to a third of all Mini sales.

With a recently-refreshed Cooper range, Mini sales were up 11.7 per cent on last year at 2,267. BMW Australia hopes that its Austrian-built Countryman will add significantly to this total before the range is further diversified with the arrival of the upcoming Coupe and Roadster models over the next couple of years.

2011 Mini Countryman pricing:
Cooper $37,700
Cooper Chilli $43,100
Cooper S $47,500
Cooper S Chilli $53,150
Cooper S All4 $50,400
Cooper S All4 Chilli $56,050
Cooper D $40,950
Cooper D Chilli $46,350
Cooper D All4 $43,850
Cooper D All4 Chilli $49,250

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