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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Crossovers are taking over the market. Buyers can get big ones, small ones, long ones and tall ones. They can opt for models with three rows of seats, all-wheel drive or in rare instances even manual transmissions. Like it or not these versatile vehicles are rapidly becoming the de-facto choice of drivers in America.
It turns out that the results are pretty interesting when you combine a MINI Countryman JCW and a man in a flying squirrel suit.
To show off the capabilities of the John Cooper Works Edition MINI Countryman, the creative ad people over at MINI attached a man in a wing suit to the roof, and we all get to enjoy the heart racing stunts that ensue.
Watching a man double up as a flying squirrel is pretty impressive, even more so when he releases his tow and shoots out over a cliff to fly.
Crazy ads are nothing new for the British marque , but that doesn’t seemed to have stemmed enthusiasm to shoot more.
Watch the MINI Countryman JCW commercial below. It’s a re-hashed version of something we ran earlier this month, but there’s a lot more flying squirrel suit footage in this version.
Earlier this year, we alluded to the fact that the MINI Paceman Concept would hit dealerships as the Countryman Coupe and it looks like that will be made official when the vehicle debuts at this year’s Paris Auto Show.
It all makes sense that MINI would put the Countryman name onto their two-door Paceman Concept considering the production vehicle will share the same front end. It also appears that the Paceman Concept will closely resemble the final production Countryman Coupe and it is still on schedule to hit dealerships in 2013, as a 2014 model.
Unfortunately there is still no confirmation on what will power the new Countryman Coupe, but the Paceman Concept did sport a John Cooper Works-built 1.6L twin-turbocharged engine sporting 211-hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. The Countryman Coupe should make a nice addition to MINI’s lineup.
GALLERY: MINI Paceman Concept
[Source: Car and Driver]
And now the MINI JCW Countryman has been placed into the British automaker’s ad-churning machine, spitting out an “Expect the Unexpected” video that showcases the Countryman’s versatility as it tears through desert and snow. Watching the JWC Countryman in action through contrasting weather conditions proves that it won’t be a one-trick pony with its ALL4 all-wheel drive system.
The JCW Countryman can have either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, 18- or 19-inch wheels while sporting special front and rear bumpers.
The JCW Countryman will hit the European market in the first half of this year and will approach American shores after the summer. Pricing on the sporty model still hasn’t been announced, but we expect it to be in the mid-$30,000 range.
Watch the “expect the unexpected” video for the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman below.
Prodrive is synonymous with turning everyday family runabouts into championship winning rally cars. Most recently, they have competed with a Mini Countryman, which is faring quite well so far.
Now Prodrive is turning its attention to making a special version of a Countryman for those who don’t have a race seat in the FIA Rally Championship.
Based on information by some industry moles, the Prodrive Countryman sports a more muscular body, a large rear wing and some tasty alloy wheels.
The changes won’t be just cosmetic as it will also feature a Milltek exhaust and a performance enhancing chip by Superchips, which will easily boost output to 230-hp. It might get even more if they decide to replace the current turbo unit with a larger one.
No pricing or availability is known for now, but since North Americans never got to sample any other products Prodrive produced in the past, chances are we won’t get this one either.
Mini will eventually offer its own John Cooper Works version of the Countryman, which will be exciting enough for most of us.
MINI has launched a new marketing campaign entitled ‘Manualhood’ which celebrates the manual transmissions found in the hardtop, Clubman, convertible, and Countryman. MINI is hoping to entice even more manual-friendly buyers into showrooms that feature a full line of vehicles offering manual transmissions.
The campaign also provides a platform to teach drivers how to operate a manual transmission vehicle, and enables the MINI dealers to promote the great benefits of driving a manual. Manual transmission MINIs offer a lower starting price, better mpg, technology like Hill Start Assist, Increased performance and control.
In mid-August MINI dealers in the US will receive a “Manualhood” kit which includes a “MINI Manual Driving School” for driver training. Other goodies included in the kit include floor mats, buttons, door magnets, boot decals and a “Manualhood” handbook.
MINI was supposed to introduce its new Countryman at the Geneva Auto Show but leaked photos of the crossover forced the company to release pictures and details in January.
Today, at the Geneva Auto Show, MINI had the Cooper and Cooper S Countryman models on display as it prepares for the official unveiling tomorrow.
We’ve got pictures of the Countryman, beneath a pair of oversized hats that will will later be lowered to cover the crossover until the unveiling tomorrow.
We already know the MINI Countryman will come standard with four seats arranged around a front-to-back center rail. An optional three-seat bench will be available at no additional cost. MINI says the Countryman has a storage capacity of 12.2 to 41.0 cubic feet, depending on how the seats are set up.
The Cooper S version (the white model in the photos) will have a 184hp turbocharged 1.6L engine with direct fuel injection and fully variable valve arrangement.
We’ll have more when MINI takes the hats off of the Countryman tomorrow.
Gallery: 2011 MINI Countryman
A day after pictures of its new crossover were leaked out to the web, MINI has officially released details and photographs of the 2011 MINI Countryman. Originally scheduled to be unveiled at next month’s Geneva Auto Show, the Countryman was originally supposed appear at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show but was unfortunately delayed. It is a little ironic then that MINI was forced to move ahead with its announcement after yesterday’s leak.
The 2011 MINI Countryman (the car may take on other names in other markets) becomes the fourth model in the MINI family, the first with four doors and a widened rear door. Despite the foray into the crossover segment, the Countryman retains signature MINI design elements, only on a larger vehicle. Key characteristics such as the roofline, grille and wheel arches remind us the Countryman is still very much a MINI.
The MINI Countryman will come standard with four seats arranged around a front-to-back center rail. An optional three-seat bench available at no additional cost. Depending on how the seats are adjusted, MINI says the Countrymanhas a storage capacity of 12.2 to 41.0 cubic feet.
MINI’s ALL4 all-wheel drive system will be available as an option on both the Cooper S and Cooper D Countryman. The ALL4 system provides half of the engine’s power to the rear wheels under normal driving conditions but when needed, can transfer 100% of the power to the rear for added traction.
MINI will offer three gasoline and two diesel engine options, though only the gasoline engines are likely to make it over to North America. The base MINI One D Countryman will have a 90 hp four-cylinder turbodiesel engine while the top-level MINI Cooper S Countryman option will have a 1.6L turbocharged engine with direct fuel injection and fully variable valve arrangement, claiming 184 hp. All models come standard with a six-speed manual transmission while the gasoline engine models will be available with a Steptronic six-speed automatic transmission.
We’ll bring you more on the all-new MINI Countryman with live coverage of the Geneva Auto Show starting March 1st.
Gallery: 2011 MINI Countryman
Official release after the jump:
MINI’s upcoming Countryman crossover just can’t catch a break. The launch of the vehicle has been delayed several times (the most recent being a push-back from the Frankfurt to Geneva auto shows), and now reports suggest the crossover might not debut in the U.S. until early 2011.
The well-connected folks at MotoringFile are reporting that while the vehicle is essentially completed, the folks at MINI (and its parent company, BMW) are skittish about launching the new vehicle in a less than favorable economic climate. While things do appear to be improving, the automaker is still contemplating a delay in the Countryman’s launch.
The report isn’t all bad news, however, as there’s some new info about the car. It will be available as both a four-seater and as a five-seater with the choice of either a 1.6-liter gasoline engine or a 2.0-liter diesel BMW engine. On top of this, there’s the exciting news that the John Cooper Works department will release two JCW models: the first being a standard JCW-type car, while the second will feature AWD, more power and a lighter curb weight.
Again, MINI doing a crossover seems like a bad idea, but we’re sure if anyone can make the dull utility segment fun, it’s MINI. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait too much longer to find out.
Recent patent filings from BMW may have uncovered the name of the upcoming crossover belonging to the German automaker’s MINI brand. Speculation previously had the model named the Crossman, a clever play on the fact that it’s a crossover and that the latest MINI model is called the Clubman. The name BMW has registered for, however, is the Countryman.
Little is known about the Countryman, although it has been spied several times testing in both Europe and California, where two different models were spotted driving together in the desert. Due to the different front-ends on both of the tiny SUVs, it’s likely one was sporting a turbocharged motor, in keeping with the MINI product line of offering a base “Cooper” model and then a more powerful “S” model.
Whether MINI will risk selling a high-performance John Cooper works version of the Countryman remains to be seen.
The MINI Countryman is expected to debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show this September.