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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Feb 25th, 2013, 06:17 PM
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Lots of Countryman questions

Howfy folks

I'm going to be buying a new car in the next couple of months. Currently considering the Jeep Patriot but waiting a few months for the new Cherokee to come out so I can see it in the flesh. I'm also interested in the Mini countryman but I really don't know much about the brand at all other than "they're those teeny British cars"

Is the Countryman going to be just like any other crossover SUV out there today, aside from the looks? as in typical All wheel drive & safety features that pretty much all of the others have? Other than looks is there a reason you'd consider a Countryman over something like a Jeep?

What about prices? just messing around on the website what I wanted came out to around $33k USD (about 5k more than a Patriot). All 4 with technology & winter package & automatic and some other little things. Is there generally a lot of haggle room with most dealers? I checked KBB.com and it said the invoice price was closer to 30k. Since there's so many options for personalizing, do most people just buy their Minis off the lot, or do you usually have to special order what you want?

I take it the All4 is what I need for AWD? We get heavy snow around here sometimes, and I also may need something that can get through mud and sand if I go off the beaten track. How well is the Countryman off road? I won't be doing any rock crawling, but I want to be able to get out of messy places if I need to. That being said, I'm going to be on normal roads 99.9% of the time, just want to make sure it can handle everything just in case.

I'm looking for a super reliable car that can last me for the next 8-10 years.. I know the countryman is newer, but for Minis in general are they built to last? Any quirks I should be aware of?

Thanks
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 07:34 PM
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The All4 is indeed the AWD version but don't expect to get very enthusiastic with the off road mud plugging. It's not built for that and has no diff locks or low ratio range on the transmission. Nor does it have oodles of ground clearance.

That doesn't mean to say it's rubbish, just fine for 'soft-roading' and is very capable on ice and snow with Winter Tyres fitted.

It's built on the BMW 1-series chassis so is actually good for four adults, five at a squeeze and is a bit of a Tardis and is a good deal more practical than the classic Mini. Boot space is limited as you would expect for a large cabin set up for passengers, but it's still adequate and you can get a lot in there. I had 5 20 litre plastic containers side by side a few weeks back,and still had a little room left.

We have the SD which has a 2.0litre diesel mated to a 6-stick shift (auto has poor economy) and it is a surprisingly rapid car. We had ours built with the four seat trim which is all we needed so I can't comment on the practicality of the 5-seater.

You will most likely go for the petrol variant, and that's not a bad powerplant either. Very willing and gives good performance overall. However take the economy figures with a large amount of scepticism! Real world figures are about 30% lower than Mini will have you believe.

Current: 2011 X6 40d & 2012 Countryman SD All4
Project: 2005 E46 330Cd M Sport convertible

Last edited by X6Sport; Mar 1st, 2013 at 04:38 PM.
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 07:49 PM
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Thanks for the info. Not even sure if Diesel is available here in the US. If it was I still think I'd go with normal gas as around here it's about 70 cents more per gallon.. so i might get better gas milage but pay more at the pump.. I think it would just be a wash. I don't really put any stock into the gas mileage the post though, it's really rare that anyone gets what they're supposed to for any car.

I was considering the bench seat for the back, but mostly because I don't think I like the look of the rail thing cutting the car in half. I'll rarely have anyone in the back seat, but I think it will just be more roomy overall that way.

And yeah I'm not looking to go tearing up offroad trails.. Just want to be able to get by if I go camping or fishing. I want the AWD more for bad weather.

Is there anything I really need in a 2013 model, or would I be ok going with a used 2012 or 2011? I'm mostly just looking for AWD, heated seats and possibly a GPS. My head will explode if I drive anywhere without my satellite radio, and I figured if I have to get the upgraded radio I may as well go all the way and get the GPS too.
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Old Feb 26th, 2013, 02:39 PM
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i have a 2012 cms all4 that i custom ordered to get exactly what i wanted, i tend to keep vehicles a long time, my last purchase was a 1997 gms sonoma p/u that i still have, 290,000 miles later

i plan on keeping the cms all4 for many years

whether you order or buy off the lot, you must get the xenon headlights, the stock headlights are weak at best

absolutly get the winter package, the heated seats have 3 settings, warm, hot and keep the pizza hot on the way home!

the center rail can be ordered as 2 pieces instead of the 1 piece

unless you NEED to fit 3 in the back, i recommend the rear bucket seats, they are very comfortable and very unique, i get more comments on the rear buckets than anything else

at 10,000 miles now, i have had no problems at all

my overall mpg since new is 28.8 mpg, .8 mpg OVER the window sticker, however i get less than the city rating in town but get over the highway rating out of town, my driving is ~60% rural, ~20% city and ~20% highway

i probably could get better city mpg, but it is too much fun to run the gears

i have winter tires on now, and was able to run through 9" of fresh heavy wet snow before the plows came through, that is about 3"-4" deeper than my ground clearance!

even with the winter tires, the cms all4 handles more like a sports car than an suv, more so with the summer tires

go to a mini dealer and ask for an extended test drive, but be aware, if you do you will buy one!

my dad liked mine so much, he bought one 2 weeks after i got mine ... he bought an ex-demo/loaner with ~2,500 miles and got almost $4,500 off list

i got $1,000 off list for my custom ordered all4

any other question, just ask

scott

2012 CM S All4 (03/12) | Abs Black w/White Roof/Mirrors/18" White Wheels | Cold Pkg | Sport Pkg | Xenon w/ Black Housings| Manual | Sport Susp| Anth Headliner | Flat Load Floor | Bluetooth | 2 Part Center Rail | Milltek downpipe back exhaust
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Old Feb 26th, 2013, 05:30 PM
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Thanks, I'll have to check it out. I don't mind the rear bucket seats, I think it's just the rail down the middle that I dislike, but if I could get a halfy rail that would work too. I like the idea of buckets in the back. I used to have a Honda Element, kind of the same idea in the back.. looks like even if I did go with a bench, it would still be a 4 seater anyway. All I'd have in the back is my girlfriend's mom or the occasional nephew. Don't need baby seats or anything.

I think one of my other concerns is price though, i've been considering a low end Grand Cherokee that's the same price .. I could probably cut back on the GPS, since I only need that like twice a year I could just get an external unit thingy. But if I get Sirius radio, will I have to get the big touch screen thing in the middle of the speedometer? I kind of think it looks better that way though..

Another thing, is the speedometer in the middle of the car tough to get used to? seems kinda awkward, yet cool & quirky at the same time. Just with 30 years of driving I'm so used to that being right in front of my wheel, not off to the side.

Is it a good road trip car? I do mostly city driving but a few times a year I go out to the shore that's a 2 hour drive, or even farther.. up to 10 hour trips sometimes. I'm getting old, so #1 on my list for a new car is a comfy ride. I started out looking at the Chrysler 300, which was the comfiest ever.. but too pricy and I'm not quite old enough for a grumpy old man sedan just yet.
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Old Feb 26th, 2013, 05:37 PM
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you do not need the cental display to get the sat radio

there is a digital speed display in the tach, it can also be toggled to display instant mpg, avg mpg, avg speed, trip miles etc etc

it is a great road trip car

i do not recommend the built in gps, updates cost $199 each!

scott

2012 CM S All4 (03/12) | Abs Black w/White Roof/Mirrors/18" White Wheels | Cold Pkg | Sport Pkg | Xenon w/ Black Housings| Manual | Sport Susp| Anth Headliner | Flat Load Floor | Bluetooth | 2 Part Center Rail | Milltek downpipe back exhaust
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Old Feb 26th, 2013, 06:20 PM
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Wow.. and how many updates do they do each year? hardly seems worth it then.. I guess all cars are like that? Never really looked into it, just saw it as something shiney that I wanted just because.

So I guess I could get away with just the winter package and auto. I do kind of wish more colors were "free" .. all there is is white or poo brown. I think i like the look of red or dark blue w/ black top. I'll have to set up a test drive.. just tough with saturdays being so busy, and they're all closed on sundays..

Can you take them to any BMW dealer for the free maintenance or does it have to be a mini dealer? mini dealer is kind of far, but there's BMW dealer right by work..

The digital speedometer would be good, didn't notice that.
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Old Feb 26th, 2013, 06:47 PM
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i do not know how many updates, i passed on the gps option

i think only to a mini dealer, not sure on that

scott

2012 CM S All4 (03/12) | Abs Black w/White Roof/Mirrors/18" White Wheels | Cold Pkg | Sport Pkg | Xenon w/ Black Housings| Manual | Sport Susp| Anth Headliner | Flat Load Floor | Bluetooth | 2 Part Center Rail | Milltek downpipe back exhaust
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Old Mar 1st, 2013, 04:45 PM
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GPS maps are now released once a year for the cars. The maps are relatively cheap, it's the licence key you need that costs? BMW/Mini's anti piracy trick.....and it's even more costly on BMWs.

I only change my maps every three to four years in the UK.

Countryman is a very capable road car. My only issue is that being 6'4" tall, I find the seat base doesn't have a deep enough thigh support and makes me uncomfortable. Still for the long trips that what we have an X6 for....

Current: 2011 X6 40d & 2012 Countryman SD All4
Project: 2005 E46 330Cd M Sport convertible
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 06:52 PM
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Necros - Stay away from the sport suspension and 18" wheels if you want a smooth ride. This setup is very harsh and you'll get beat-up very quickly if you are doing 2-10 hour frequent drives. Start with the 17" and if that is still too stiff get rid of the run-flats and replace with normal tires.

You'll definately get more "value" with the Cherokee (nice beast and coming with a diesel in 2014 for us North Americans!) but the Countryman is much more of a cooler/fashionable rig in my opinion.

Go with a 2013 model if you are buying a manual as they had issues on the 2010.5-2012. Good luck!
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 07:17 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Blackhawks (original)
Necros - Stay away from the sport suspension and 18" wheels if you want a smooth ride. This setup is very harsh and you'll get beat-up very quickly if you are doing 2-10 hour frequent drives. Start with the 17" and if that is still too stiff get rid of the run-flats and replace with normal tires.

on the surface, i would agree with you, but i have found that mini missed the correct tire pressures on the 225/45R18 tires by a large amount

as delievered with 32 psi all around, the 225/45R18 tires ride extremely harshly

using a tire pyrometer, i found that the sides of the tread were getting hot but that the center 1/2 of the tire was remaining near ambient temperature, a sign of major under-inflation

after a lot of experimenting with various pressures and the tire pyrometer, i have been running 42 psi front / 37 psi rear with much improved ride, better handleing and even tread wear, both across each tire and from front to rear

after getting the tire pressure correct, i find the sport suspension to not be that harsh ... yes it is stiffer than the stock suspension (my dad also has a cms all4 with stock suspension and 205/55R17 tires) but nowhere near as harsh as my 4x4 p/u truck with hd suspension and on/off road A/T style tires

i drive in the cities of chicago and milwaukee often

scott

2012 CM S All4 (03/12) | Abs Black w/White Roof/Mirrors/18" White Wheels | Cold Pkg | Sport Pkg | Xenon w/ Black Housings| Manual | Sport Susp| Anth Headliner | Flat Load Floor | Bluetooth | 2 Part Center Rail | Milltek downpipe back exhaust
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Old Mar 7th, 2013, 07:00 PM
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Good point bmwr606 as it was something I didnt even consider. However, dont all MINI's have aggressive camber specs like parent company BMW? Did you get temps from both sides of the tire? I would have expected the low tire pressure would have given you a softer ride unless it has to do something with the run-flat technology.

Anyways, Necros, you be your own judge. Take a long testdrive with each setup and determine what will work the best for you. There are lots of other threads on this topic with folks wishing the did not tick the sport suspension box with 18'' wheels, and vice vesa. Good luck!
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Old Mar 7th, 2013, 08:29 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Blackhawks (original)
Good point bmwr606 as it was something I didnt even consider. However, dont all MINI's have aggressive camber specs like parent company BMW? Did you get temps from both sides of the tire? I would have expected the low tire pressure would have given you a softer ride unless it has to do something with the run-flat technology.

runflat sidewalls are very thick, thick enough to support the car with no air pressure in the tire ... if the tires are underinflated, you are running on the sidewall ... resulting in a very harsh ride

i measured 5 spots across the tread at 3 evenly spaced areas of each tire

scott

2012 CM S All4 (03/12) | Abs Black w/White Roof/Mirrors/18" White Wheels | Cold Pkg | Sport Pkg | Xenon w/ Black Housings| Manual | Sport Susp| Anth Headliner | Flat Load Floor | Bluetooth | 2 Part Center Rail | Milltek downpipe back exhaust
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Old Mar 8th, 2013, 07:38 PM
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Thanks bmwr606 ... do you actually own a BMW? I did some reasearch of my own and this exact topic came up on many BMW forums with nearly identical recommended pressure specs for front and rear. I figured the day I finally buy a Countryman S I would ditch the run-flats and replace with regular tires but this has really got me intrigued!

Nice work!
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Old Mar 8th, 2013, 07:47 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Blackhawks (original)
Thanks bmwr606 ... do you actually own a BMW? I did some reasearch of my own and this exact topic came up on many BMW forums with nearly identical recommended pressure specs for front and rear. I figured the day I finally buy a Countryman S I would ditch the run-flats and replace with regular tires but this has really got me intrigued!

Nice work!

i own 2 bmws

1974 r60/6 i bought new in june 1974

1987 k75s i bought new in december 1986

in i past i have owned 3 other bmw motorcycles

never have owned a bmw car

scott

2012 CM S All4 (03/12) | Abs Black w/White Roof/Mirrors/18" White Wheels | Cold Pkg | Sport Pkg | Xenon w/ Black Housings| Manual | Sport Susp| Anth Headliner | Flat Load Floor | Bluetooth | 2 Part Center Rail | Milltek downpipe back exhaust
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