10 October 2010
The MINI Countryman
The new MINI Countryman is a big car, considering it's called a MINI. The length is 4.1m and the width 1.8m. I am surprised 4wd is an option for it. All the other Minis ever built were all good looking, this is the ugly sibling but the most practical ever. It will be more popular than the better looking but poorly conceived Clubman.
As for the original Mini, a Dr Alex Moulton was responsible for the rubber suspension system which made it possible for the car to be one of the smallest ever built, whilst maximising interior space usage. His opinion of the direction the MINI has gone is: "The Mini brand has long since been disassociated from the product and is just a reflection of styling features. I am greatly disappointed that this precious thing we created has become a mere styling feature, simply a badge". He also felt the dimensions were not compact enough and they were now too high (the Countryman is 1.6m in height). There is now too much power - original performance emphasised good handling. He also wished making it more sustainable and should be made in the UK (Countryman is made in Austria).
Many feel the Countryman is not the way forward for the once little car. The direction BMW has gone with the MINI will ultimately be decided in car showrooms. If they sell well, who can argue with what was done? There are many others entering the premium small car segment to cash in on the success the MINI has so far achieved. The MINI must be kept interesting and stay ahead of the competition.
What it means to me: Another winner on the way for MINI.