As new derivatives of the third-generation F56 MINI roll out, some offsprings of the second-generation R56 model are still relatively fresh and have a number of years left in them. One such model is the Countryman which, at four years of age, is too young to be pensioned off. Going into its middle age, the Countryman is promptly refreshed with a facelifted model, which is available for booking at all MINI Malaysia dealerships from 15 November onwards.
Launched here in 2011, the Countryman was initially offered as a fully-imported model, before its local assembly programme kicked off in mid-2013. The facelifted model continues to be built at the Inokom plant in Kulim, but the line-up has been trimmed to offer only one model, namely the Cooper S Countryman.
Stretching just over four metres from stem to stern with five doors and seats for five, the Countryman is easily the biggest member of the MINI family. External features distinguishing this new facelift model include 18-inch light alloy wheels, subtly revised front grille, xenon headlamps, LED foglights, and daytime running lights.
Updates inside centre around the infotainment system which now boasts a new 6.5-inch MINI Visual Boost colour screen. Through MINI Connected, occupants can have access to various web-based services such as Internet radio and social media connectivity. There is even a bombastically-named ‘Mission Control’ function which helps coach drivers on sustainable driving techniques.
Other interior touches include refined materials and trim elements, such as chrome surrounds for the climate control switches, piano black panels, dark dials for speedo and tacho, and Gravity Carbon Black leather upholstery. MINI also highlights an improved insulation package, suggesting more quiet journeys can be expected.
Being a member of the second-generation MINI family, the new Countryman unsurprisingly continues to call on the venerable Prince engine to serve under its hood. As before, the Cooper S receives it in turbocharged format, but with maximum power increased from 181hp previously to 190hp, delivered between 5,500 and 6,500rpm. Torque is unchanged, with 240Nm served from 1,600 to 5,000rpm, and up to 260Nm available on overboost.
Paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission as standard, the Cooper S Countryman is now offered exclusively in FWD guise and is capable of hitting 100kph from rest in 7.8 seconds en route to a top speed of 212kph. These figures represent improvements of 0.5 seconds and 7kph respectively from its pre-facelift counterpart. Impressively, fuel economy in the EU test cycle was improved from 8.1 previously to just 7.5 l/100km.
Retail price of the new Cooper S Countryman, inclusive on-road costs for private registration in Peninsula Malaysia before insurance is RM243,888. The new price represents a decrease of RM15,000 from the pre-facelift Cooper S Countryman, which boasted the advantage of all-wheel drive traction.
Pictures: Official BMW release.