The Countryman has gained the engine it has been crying out for, with enough torque to deal with its extra weight and decent fuel economy, too.

What is it?

The Countryman is currently the second most popular Mini body style, so it does make perfect sense for BMW to improve its diesel offering. So along with every other Mini in the range, the Countryman can be specified with what is now the most powerful diesel in the line up, the 143bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre 'four.

See pics of the Mini Countryman Cooper SD All4 in action

What’s it like?

In many ways, this engine suits the Countryman better than any of its siblings. As the heaviest Mini in the range - by a long stretch in All4 guise - the Countryman really does need all the torque it can find. And this new turbo diesel develops more torque than any other engine in the MINI range, including the John Cooper Works power plant. That’s 225lb ft of the twisting stuff, which is very welcome.

That maximum torque is developed from a relatively low 1750rpm really helps – this is not the most refined diesel out there but it does imbue the Countryman good low-speed response. But unlike its siblings equipped with the same powerplant, it won’t give much enjoyment if you push a bit harder. Body roll is uncomfortable and mid-corner bumps have a habit of knocking the car off line, which isn’t much fun.

Should I buy one?

Treat this Countryman – as I suspect most owners will – as a relaxed cruiser that’ll accommodate four six-footers in comfort and it works well. And for those put off by the poor fuel economy of the petrol Countryman, the 57.6mpg on offer will also be welcome. Add an interior that must be the most entertaining in the class and you’ve got a little SUV that really stands out.

But if you’ve come looking for the handling dynamics that so distinguishes much of the rest of the Mini range, you really need to look elsewhere. And the Mini Cooper SD with the same engine is a good place to start.

Gavin Conway

Mini Cooper SD All4 Countryman

Price: £23,190; Top speed: 121mph; 0-62mph: 9.4secs; Economy: 57.6mpg; Co2: 130g/km; Kerbweight: 1470kgs; Engine type, cc: four cylinder, 1995cc; Power: 143bhp@4000rpm; Torque: 225lb ft at 1750-2700rpm; Gearbox: six speed manual

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Add a comment…
jmgsimpson 7 November 2011

Re: Mini Countryman SD ALL4

It's a personal thing, I've been lucky to own 6 or 7 Porsche's from 356C, 1974 Carrera via Boxter thru 996,997 to Cayenne, all ugly or gods gift depending on your view. Recession & MS has caused me to move on. I saw, sat in and drove the SD Auto, wheelchair just about fits in the boot with the seats forward and bought one. Sure it leans a bit more than my last couple of Kuga's (2.5 & 2.0) but it's still fun and, yes, it gets pricey with the, excellent, gadgets but what a great package. Some would look at it as a cynical extension of the Mini icon (I had an original 1968 Countryman with the 1.0L engine and it was really a load of rubbish) but BMW did it with the basis of the original 2002 and look at what they have achieved!

In short, this is not a 'me too' box and that is why they have sold so well and it's an awful lot more fun that my 2006 TVR Tuscan Mk2 which was hideous on a damp road and plain scary on a dry one!

To everyone their own view and yes I've 'chipped' mine :-)

bol 29 April 2011

Re: Mini Countryman SD ALL4

It's even more hideous in the flesh. It's got the same kind of revolted snarl on its face that I involuntarily adopt whenever I see one. Not sure why it makes me feel so cross.

Taff41 28 April 2011

Re: Mini Countryman SD ALL4

If the Countryman really IS the second most popular body style then they must mainly be being sold outside of the UK for, here in Wales, I have only ever seen ONE! Must say though that within weeks of launch I did see two in Madeira, Portugal, much to my surprise. It is a FUGLY car though!