In case you haven’t noticed, Mini has been doing a bit of rebranding since last year. It has matured, trading in the funky image for a more laid-back vibe. Think turntables, single origin coffee, and coats with no tie. It presumably reflects a maturing market who still want a car that reflects their taste.
This new look and feel was evident in yesterday’s launch of the new Mini Countryman crossover, at the Maybank Performing Arts Center in BGC. The venue was subdued and the vibe was casual, with the two Countryman (Countrymen?) units spotlighted in the center.
As mentioned in the blurb, this is the first Mini in our country available with a diesel powerplant. I did a double take when I saw the ‘D’ badge at the rear. I only saw turbodiesel Countrymans in Europe, where diesel is king.
There are two variants on sale, the Mini Cooper D Countryman which goes for P2,900,000, and the Mini Cooper SD Countryman that has an asking price of P3,400,000. Mini PH said that for those who want a gasoline-powered variant, they’re available on a per order basis.
Sunny Medalla, the Filipino manager who heads Mini Asia, flew in from Singapore to launch their latest model. “The second-generation Mini Countryman advances the brand within the premium compact segment. Mini fans in the Philippines will be excited to know that their new daily companion is just as nimble on the streets as well as off-roads. We are confident that the new Mini Countryman will deliver fun and excitement every time you get behind the wheel.”
The new Countryman is longer than its predecessor by 20cm, continuing the growth trend of Mini’s models. It has led to comments about the new generation not living up to the brand’s name, but it’s hard to complain about the comfort provided by five full-size seats in the cabin. And in the higher S variant, you get beautiful quilted leather perches.
A very ingenious feature is the Picnic Bench. What I thought was a cargo cover turned out to be a cushioned accessory that two people can sit on tailgate-party style. It’s standard on both Countryman D and SD trims.
The overall look is still very much related to the design of the first-generation Countryman, and this is a good thing. The short overhangs, large wheel arches and the contrasting roof colors are still here.
One of the best things about modern Minis is their cabins, and the Countryman’s doesn’t disappoint. The ‘circular’ theme is still in play, with circles on the steering wheel, multi-information display, gearshift and A/C controls. In short, the playful character is still present.
Speaking of play, we look forward to trying the new Countryman out and feel how it handles. The Countryman has optional Dynamic Damper Control and Mini Driving Modes to wring out fun from the chassis. The ‘base’ D variant gets 17-inch light alloy wheels, while the SD trim gets 18-inchers.
Motivating the latest Minis are two 2.0-liter turbodiesels with different power outputs. The Cooper D’s mill generates 150hp and 330Nm, blasting from rest to 100kph in 8.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 208kph. The Cooper SD has 190hp and 400Nm to summon, hitting 100kph 1.1 seconds faster and can reach a maximum velocity of 220kph.
Fuel economy, if you’re interested, is a claimed 22.22km/L for the Cooper D and 20.83km/L for the Cooper SD. That’s the case for switching to diesel right there.
Mini Philippines president Willy Tee Ten is optimistic that his latest offering will do well in the market. If the Countryman is anything like the comfortable yet sporty Clubman, we agree.
From left: Mini PH president Willy Tee Ten, Autohub Group chairman Benita Tee Ten, British ambassador Asif Ahmad, Mini Asia head Sunny Medalla, Taguig City deputy administrator George Bocobo, and Mini PH general manager Lito Jose.