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Mini Countryman and BMW X1: off-road duel among BMW brothers

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Mini Countryman and BMW X1
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V awesome, it has to be somewhere, this valve. After all, the Mini Countryman looks like the Mini-Men pumped up a defenseless Clubman. With five bar or so, which not only causes headlight eyes to bulge out, but also makes him 15 centimeters longer, eleven wider and 13 higher.

Mini Countryman with four full-size seats

But if you take a closer look, you will of course quickly notice that the Countryman did not stop at just increasing size. Finally, there are four real doors and a conventional tailgate. Plus four full seats, including a noticeably higher position. Mini exchanges the two rear-facing models, which can be moved 13 centimeters, for a full-length bench seat at no extra charge, whereby the center rail, which is placed in the middle, also has to be sacrificed. A loss that play children in the Mini Countryman should make sad not only because of their shimmering ambient lighting, but also because of the movement of cups and shelves.

Illuminated rails? The BMW X1 can only smile about that. He, actually something like the SUV cheeky bitch in the BMW program as a kind of higher-level ones combination, now surprisingly sees himself in the role of the elder statesman. Comparatively conservative lines, clearly designed workspace, tightly padded three-seater bench at the back - austerity blows through the cabin. After all, the BMW X1 is a spacious alternative, because it makes clever use of 30 centimeters more length and 24 centimeters more height. Only the width is comparable to that of the Countryman, and that's how the whole thing goes.

All-wheel drive available for the powerful Mini Cooper S and Mini Cooper D

Because although the Mini became a Maxi, it tries to attack the brand in a brisk and bold manner. Well, almost, because around six hundred pounds more weight than its little siblings press the Mini Countryman on the dynamic talent. But the chassis, which is equipped with longer spring travel and tighter stabilizers, also springs more gently than that of the siblings. Nevertheless, the Mini Countryman hangs in, steers willingly and directly, hardly understeers, pulls cleanly out of corners. He's even gotten used to the gnarled drive influences, for which the optional All4 all-wheel drive (series: front-wheel drive) is responsible.

Only for the powerful Mini Cooper S Countryman and Mini Cooper DCountryman, the new development, weighing 65 kilograms, distributes the power continuously between the axles via a multi-plate clutch placed on the rear axle differential. And the Mini Cooper S, which costs 27,900 euros, has a lot to distribute: Its 184 hp, 1.6-liter turbo ventilator sounds quite subtle, but pushes hard.

BMW X1 presents itself as an agile SUV

Which does not mean that the BMW X1 - available with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive depending on the version - lags behind helplessly. Driving a BMW means enjoyment - even when twirling curves for pleasure. Why else did you give him the elaborate suspension mix of BMW 1 Series and BMW 3 Series components with tight coordination? Supplemented by the feedback-friendly, clean, appealing steering, the BMW X1 is a convincing agile SUV, a kind of Mini-X5, while the Mini Countryman takes as much Mini as possible into the adult world.

Mini-designers like to play hard with children's schemes

Where - adult world? Alone the center console of the Mini Countryman with the ensemble of maxi speedometer and ventilation nozzles, which is reminiscent of Mickey Mouse, does not look at all conservative or established. The mini-designers like to play hard with child schemes.

Crass pop art, which the BMW X1 can optionally contrast with shimmering wood veneer and elegant leather upholstery under clear varnish. At least for a surcharge, because in the base such a BMW X1 (18i with rear-wheel drive from 27,200 euros) can feel pretty barren. Neither BMW nor Mini offer anything for free, but those who spend money also get something good for it. Especially with the BMW X1, whose infotainment system with i-Drive is a role model. In contrast, the mini counterpart with the small turn-push knob in the Countryman almost conveys a handicraft character. But the main thing is character and just don't get too serious, because the mini-friend fears nothing more than pale seriousness.

BMW X1 can noticeably defend its space advantage

A bit of practice is still allowed, after all, the Mini Countryman can accommodate up to five people and 350 liters of luggage reasonably well, which is close by to the BMW X1. It can still defend its space advantage noticeably, although it definitely doesn't look as if there is a valve on its body. In this comparison, mini remains mini.

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