Would you buy this MINI?

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Pictured above is a pre-production R60 Cooper, otherwise known as the Countryman Cooper. Cooper as in normally aspirated. Normally aspirated as in no turbo charger under the bonnet. Would you buy it?

I wouldn’t.

The problem with the Countryman Cooper is that it is just too slow. I’m not saying this from an enthusiasts point of view, or from a modder point of view or even from a I-want-to-put-this-MINI-on-a-track point of view. I’m telling you that this MINI is just too danged slow. I have actually had the chance to drive this car, with an automatic transmission no less, and it’s horrible. I’m not the only one that feels this way. From MotoringFile.com.

Slow cars are not something that the car buying public are very used to anymore. There was a time that a 10 second 0-60 time was considered sporty. Clearly that time has passed. Anything over eight seconds is usually looked at with raised eyebrows and certainly dismissed by driving enthusiasts. This has always served MINI well with the base Cooper model (in the US of course) coming in right around that mark and always feeling just frisky enough. The Countryman Cooper does not. It is a slow car in the modern sense of the word. Motivating nearly 3,000 pounds of metal up and down the hills west of Austin was both physical and mental work. I drove the manual this time, but even rowing the hell out of the gears didn’t solve the problem.

Sure the price is right, coming in at a base of $US22,350. And it’s got the mileage. And the extra doors that the hard top lacks. And it’s still a MINI, with all the great things you love about the MINI except performance. We talked about this a great deal on past episodes of White Roof Radio too. And it’s sad for me to actually say, but I can’t recommend this MINI.

Instead, opt for S. Sure it’s base price is $US3,600 more, but you will get a few more options and the extra power. Sure, nicely equipped pushes the $US30k barrier (and beyond from what I am reading), which is way beyond my budget. But that’s the price you pay for power.

Me? I’m sticking to an R56 or R55 Cooper. As soon as budget allows.

Comments are open. What are your thoughts on the Countryman Cooper?

(6) Comments|Posted in Op/Ed on 11/15/2010

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6 Responses to “Would you buy this MINI?”

  1. Robert says:

    HUH?…

    You said… “And it’s still a MINI, with all the great things you love about the MINI except performance”…..? What part? It’s not MINI in size, nor looks, nor driving ability… Isn’t performance why we all buy them?

    This from Car/UK…

    http://tinyurl.com/BLOATED-BLIGHTER-CAR-UK

    I have read Gabe’s review when he drove it and he seemed impressed but it seems this fellow Gavin Green has a different take? Who’s right…?

    Personally, the styling is well, YUCKY, to me.

  2. brad. says:

    nope. i’d stay clear of the non-S countryman as well. in my opinion, the two things keeping me from really hating this MINI are 1) it’s not as ugly/huge as i expected. 2) it’s competing in WRC next year! it is nearly impossible for me to hate a rally car. but, without a turbo, i’m sure it’s a slug.

  3. Robert says:

    Well I’ll give the ralley car a pass for sure and if I could get one of those and could afford to drive that version, I’d be happy. But it’s the only version that is worth even talking about.

    And I agree, it’s not as huge as I suspected either though even with a bench rear seat it still not worth the cost for the size you get.

  4. db says:

    @Rob – In quality of construction and quirkiness of appearance it’s a MINI. Even the driveability, short of being down on power, is like a MINI. And, really, it’s not that big as you stated later. It’s a little longer than a Clubman and still smaller than an Escort, a Golf and a host of other ‘small’ cars.

    Thanks for stopping by fellas! Anyone else that might be thinking about getting a normally aspirated Cooper Clubman?

  5. Robert says:

    Did you read the Green review? So totally different than Gabe’s. I’ll give you quirky though and I will say if I was still into off road racing it might be a choice.

  6. Alexandre says:

    I went straight to the S when I tried the Countryman yesterday. Although I didn’t have much driving time in it, I agree with almost everything that has been said by MotoringFile so far. Would I buy it? In a heartbeat if I was still living in Boston. This thing looks really mean, and with all the potholes around it’s a really good compromise to no feel like your car is going to fall apart each time you drive into one, damn you Mass!! As for the clubby, get the S man, but Cooper is still good. What I like about this car is that every time I look at it, it make think about California and surfing for some reason.

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